Windows Tip Sheet
Migrating to Greener Pastures
Move user files and settings easier with Microsoft's USMT tool.
It’s a new year, and I guess a lot of companies are buying new computers,
because the forums on my Web site, ScriptingAnswers.com
have been abuzz with questions about migrating users’ Outlook PST files,
Outlook settings, Word docs and other personal information—not to mention
their profile settings. Unfortunately, that’s a complex set of data to
migrate, and scripting—well, VBScript, at least—isn’t going
to make the task any easier.
Fortunately, Microsoft is here to the rescue! You’re probably familiar
with Windows XP’s Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, which can gather
up all of a user’s personal documents, Outlook settings, and yes, even
PST files, and transfer them all to a new computer. Well, there’s a scriptable—batch-file
scriptable—version of the Wizard called the User State Migration Tool,
or USMT. You’ll find it at http://snipurl.com/csvm,
and it’s the perfect way to help automate desktop computer migrations.
It’s basically two tools: One that gathers up settings, and another that
applies them, so you can add it in a logon script, as part of a pre-migration
cleanup of the old desktop computer, and so forth.
The tool’s smart enough to realize that users keep their settings everywhere,
not just in My Documents, and so it searches the entire computer. There’s
a programming interface that makes the tool extremely scriptable and automation-friendly,
and you can create .INF files to tell the tool how to move data and settings
associated with your corporate applications. It has a little bit of a learning
curve (although the docs are, frankly, great) to get everything going, but it’s
worth the effort as the tool makes it easier to keep users happy when they’re
getting a new machine.
In the battle of the MP3 players, Apple’s iPod may reign
supreme (I’ve got one), but in the gym or when you’re
out for a run, size matters. Creative’s MuVo
Micro N200 fills the bill: Hardly larger than a pack of
chewing gum, it’s basically just a smart USB flash drive
(you can use it to transport files around, too) with an external
battery pack and a pair of headphones. It even includes a utility
to convert MP3s to Microsoft’s smaller WMA format to pack
more tunes into the device. http://www.creative.com
|Creative's MuVo Micro N200
comes in various memory sizes from 125MB to 1GB and eight
Other companies have gotten into the migration act, too, including CellarStone
and LapLink. To be fair, LapLink’s
been doing this for ages; I remember their old cable-based solution that moved
data by using a computer’s parallel port. My computer doesn’t even
have a parallel port anymore, but LapLink’s new PCmover product doesn’t
need one anyway.
Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is Curriculum Director for IT Pro Content for video training company Pluralsight. Don is also a co-founder and President of PowerShell.org, a community dedicated to Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell technology. Don has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. He’s the author of more than 50 technology books, an accomplished IT journalist, and a sought-after speaker and instructor at conferences worldwide. Reach Don on Twitter at @concentratedDon, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/ConcentratedDon.