Managing User Profiles
Unless you are performing a direct upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 or one that uses roaming user profiles, any Windows 7 deployment requires that you have a plan for moving user profile data from the user's previous computer to the new computer. Getting user data properly transferred is as important to take into account when performing a Windows 7 deployment as getting the right hardware platform on which to run the operating system.
Migrating User Profile Data
Migrating a user from Windows XP or Windows Vista to Windows 7 successfully involves ensuring that all important data makes the transition from a person's old computer to the new one. You can view the list of user profiles stored on a computer running Windows 7 by opening System within Control Panel, clicking Advanced System Settings, and then clicking the Settings button in the User Profiles area of the Advanced System Settings tab. From this dialog box, you can view the size of user profiles, delete user profiles stored on the computer, or change the user profile from a local profile to a roaming user profile. A roaming user profile is a profile stored on a server that is accessible from any computer running Windows 7 on a network. Administrators implement roaming user profiles when people do not use a specific computer, but they might log on to any computer in the organization. Roaming user profiles also allow central backup of user data.
Windows Easy Transfer
Windows Easy Transfer is a utility that comes with Windows 7 that you can use to transfer user profile data from computers running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 to new computers running Windows 7. Windows Easy Transfer can be used to transfer user accounts, documents, music, pictures, e-mail, bookmarks, certificates, and other data.
There are three separate methods that you can use to migrate data with Windows Easy Transfer. The method that is appropriate depends on the circumstances of the migration. To migrate profile data with Windows Easy Transfer, you can use any of the following:
- Easy Transfer Cable - This is a special cable with USB connectors that you can acquire from hardware vendors. You connect one end to the source computer and the other to the destination computer. Both computers are turned on during the migration, and Windows Easy Transfer runs on both computers at the same time. You can perform only a side-by-side migration using this method.
- Network - To use the network migration method, you must have two computers running Windows Easy Transfer connected to the same local area network. Both computers are turned on during the migration, and Windows Easy Transfer runs on both computers at the same time. You can perform only a side-by-side migration using this method. When performing a network migration, you configure a password on the source computer that you have to enter on the destination computer.
- External Hard Disk or USB Flash Drive - You can specify an attached external hard disk or USB flash drive. It is also possible to specify an internal hard disk drive or network share when using this method. You can perform a side-by-side migration as well as a wipe-and-restore migration using this method. You protect your data by entering a password on the source computer that you must again enter before importing the data on the destination computer.
Migrating User Data Using Windows Easy Transfer
The following method utilizes the "External Hard Disk or USB Flash Drive" option.
Unless the source computer is running Windows 7, you will need to install the Windows Easy Transfer application. This includes source computers running Windows Vista. Although Windows Vista comes with an earlier version of the Windows Easy Transfer software, you should use the updated Windows 7 version when transferring data to Windows 7 computers. To install and migrate user data from your old computer to your new computer using Windows Easy Transfer, perform the following steps:
01. Click the Start button on the Windows 7 destination machine, open the "All Programs" Menu, open the "Accessories" folder, open the "System Tools" folder and select "Windows Easy Transfer." When the Windows Easy Transfer windows appears, click the "Next" button.
02. In the Windows Easy Transfer window that appears, select "An external hard disk or USB flash drive" if you are upgrading to Windows 7 and need to physically transfer the user data
03. Select "This is my new computer"
04. Select "No" because you have not yet saved your files from your old computer.
05. Select "I need to install it now"
06. Select "USB flash drive"
07. Select the flash drive and click the "OK" button
Windows will start copying Windows Easy Transfer to your flash drive.
08. Once the copying is completed, the above window will appear. Leave this window open, unplug the flash drive from this computer (new) and plug it into your old computer.
09. When you insert the flash drive into your old computer, the above option should appear. If it does, click the "OK" button. If it doesn't, navigate to the flash drive in Windows Explorer and expose its contents so that you see the following:
10. Double left click the Windows Easy Transfer Shortcut.
11. When the Windows Easy Transfer window appears, click the "Next" button.
12. Select "An external hard disk or USB flash drive"
13. Select "This is my old computer" - Windows Easy Transfer will begin scanning the user data.
14. A check mark will be placed beside each item that is able to transfer from the old computer to the new computer. Deselect any item that you do not wish to transfer and then click the "Next" button.
15. Enter a password if you wish or leave blank (optional) and click the "Save" button.
16. You will be prompted to save items from the old computer - choose to save it on your flash drive and leave it named as is. When it finishes saving the items, click the "Next" button.
17. Click the "Next" button and then click the "Close" button. Unplug the flash drive from your old computer and plug it into your new computer.
18. Click the "Next" button on the Windows Easy Transfer window that you left open on your new computer in Step 08 to arrive at the above window. If the above window is shown, proceed to Step 19. If you closed the window or shut down the computer, follow steps from 18a through to step 18c, then to Step 19.
18a. Click the Start button, open the "All Programs" Menu, open the "Accessories" folder, open the "System Tools" folder and select "Windows Easy Transfer." When the Windows Easy Transfer windows appears, click the "Next" button.
18b. In the Windows Easy Transfer window that appears, select "An external hard disk or USB flash drive."
18c. Select "This is my new computer." This will bring you to the window as shown in Step 18. Proceed to Step 19.
19. Select "Yes"
20. In the left panel, select your flash drive and in the right panel, select the "Windows Easy Transfer - Items from old computer.MIG" file and then click the "Open" button.
21. Choose what item(s) to transfer by ensuring there is a check mark next to each item to transfer and then click the "Transfer" button.
22. The items are then transferred.
23. The final window gives the option to view a report to see what was transferred and an option to see a list of programs you can install on your new computer. The transfer of User Profile Data from your old computer to your new Windows 7 computer is now complete.