When a new installation is required, user data must be migrated from the old OS to the new one. There are three tools available to transfer data and settings. The tool you select depends on your level of experience and your requirements.
User State Migration Tool
The Windows User State Migration Tool (USMT) migrates all user files and settings to the new OS, as shown in Figure 1. Download and install USMT from Microsoft. You then use the software to create a store of user files and settings that are saved in a different location from the OS. After the new OS is installed, download and install USMT again to load the user files and settings on the new OS.
Windows Easy Transfer
If a user is switching from an old computer to a new one, you can use Windows Easy Transfer to migrate personal files and settings, as shown in Figure 2. You can perform the file transfer using a USB cable, CD or DVD, a USB flash drive, an external drive, or a network connection.
After running Windows Easy Transfer, you can view a log of the files transferred. To access Windows Easy Transfer in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, use the following path:
Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Windows Easy Transfer
On Windows XP, you must first download the Windows Easy Transfer program. After it has been downloaded, access it using the following path:
Start > All Programs > Windows Easy Transfer
Windows Easy Transfer replaced the Windows XP File and Settings Transfer Wizard.
File and Settings Transfer Wizard for Windows XP
The File and Settings Transfer Wizard for Windows XP, as shown in Figure 3, transfers files and settings from an old computer to a new computer. It allows the user to select which files and settings to transfer. You can transfer files using storage media, a cabled connection, or a network connection. To access the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, use the following path:
Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Files and Settings Transfer Wizard