Argument for User State Migration Tool Over Easy Transfer Wizard RRS feed

  • Question

  • I just started with a new company, and there's been a big debate as to what we should use to backup & restore user data. I recommended USMT or a custom script to get what we want, but many are in favor of Easy Transfer Wizard (ETW).

    Truth be told, I never used either (ETW or USMT) at my last company; I wrote a robocopy script to get exactly what we needed which fortunately was really easy because users were good not straying off the beaten path.  Now, I'm open to doing the same here, but not only is culture is completely different (meaning the data could be anywhere), the users are furiously adamant, about having everything back the way it was.  (This goes beyond like Office settings like QAT's, Outlook signatures, nk2, local & remote PSTs that were loaded etc. - the list goes on.)

    I feel obligated to encourage us (myself included) to 'get with the times' and use something mainstream.  From what I've read USMT is the way to go, and it seems pretty easy to customize.  (I'm reading this right now: - some things still aren't clear.)
    That said, here's a brief summary of what the last few days of discussions have boiled down to, with ETW leading the pack:

    Easy Transfer Wizard

    • Easy to use GUI with many options to customize what to migrate
    • Has a direct workstation to workstation transfer mode OR backup to network and then import from the destination
    • Brings over the core user profile settings and documents, but *NOT* MS office settings/customizations. Would be a cleaner migration and therefore a "fresher" build.


    • Command line utility that would need to be automated to ensure consistency & proper use.
    • Can backup to network or external storage needed for user profile storage.
    • Migrates MS Office settings & customizations.
    • It brings it "all", the good and the bad so issues can migrate from old workstation to new.

    Custom Script

    • We have total control over what we backup & restore, so its very precise.
    • Possible to miss something (although I don't see how that would be different from the above)
    • Not pretty - just robocopy in a command window.

    For those NOT using USMT:
    What are you using for backing up & restoring user data?
    Why didn't you go with USMT?

    For those using USMT:
    Have you all found yourselves making significant customizations to the XMLs?
    Are there any concerns or gotchas we should be aware of?

    • Edited by JuliusPIV Tuesday, September 23, 2014 1:07 AM
    Monday, September 22, 2014 6:37 PM

All replies

  • We use USMT. If you create a template (can use scanstate to generate one) then you can use this to control what gets migrated. I've written a GUI that can read a template file and present it in a treeview so it's just a case of using checkboxes to filter what you want/don't want to migrate.

    I do remove all the file extensions from one of the default xml's and put them into a seperate xml as I found that it was taking too many files that weren't really needed.

    If you only have a few machines to migrate then easy transfer is fine, but I'd use USMT for larger migrations.

    Thursday, September 25, 2014 12:05 PM
  • We use usmt via a MDT task sequence, as RL69 suggested  build your config files, edit them to your needs. I setup some custom variable for the technicians to enter information on the HTA to rename the actual backup file and add the date. ETW give less control and is manual, usmt can be automated. usmt can also be setup in reverse to restore the mig file.


    Thursday, September 25, 2014 1:26 PM
  • Essentially, they are both the same tool but with some differences.

    WET(Windows Easy Transfer) is installed on every machine and can be used to restore migration stores in the most simple manner.

    USMT(User State Migration Tool)

     - requires that you copy the binary's to the machine before execution.

     - Can handle complex migration rules.(eg. relocate a folder or file/exclude a file type etc) By using MigApp.xml MigDocs.xml Config.xml and custom.xml

     - Can be pre-configured to be executed from a single command line (Batch file etc.)

     - The exact same migration can be used in SCCM/MDT and a stand alone solution(Batch file etc.)

    This all boils down to how complex your migrations are. If WET is falling short by missing data etc or bringing over unwanted settings, then USMT will work.


    Thursday, September 25, 2014 7:34 PM
  • Possible to get a copy of your solution?  My colleague and I are in the process of figuring out what avenue we're going down.  Figured we'd use robocopy, but yours sounds really nice.  Thanks in advance.  You can email me at
    Monday, June 15, 2015 10:43 PM