This topic discusses general and security-related best practices when using Windows® User State Migration Tool (USMT) 4.0.

General Best Practices

  • Install applications before running the LoadState tool. Though it is not always essential, it is best practice to install all applications on the destination computer before restoring the user state. This helps ensure that migrated settings are preserved.

  • Do not use MigUser.xml and MigDocs.xml together. If you use both .xml files, some migrated files may be duplicated if conflicting instructions are given about target locations. If your data set is unknown, for example, many non-standard file locations are used, MigDocs.xml is a better choice. You can Utilize the /genmigxml command-line option to determine which files will be included in your migration, and to determine if any modifications are necessary. For more information, see Identify File Types, Files, and Folders.

  • Close all applications before running either the ScanState or LoadState tools. Although utilizing the /vsc switch can allow the migration of many files that are open with another application it is a best practice to close all applications in order to ensure all files and settings migrate. Without the /vsc or /c switch USMT will fail when it cannot migrate a file or setting. When utilizing the /c option USMT will ignore any files or settings that it cannot migrate and log an error each time.

  • Log off after you run the LoadState tool. Some settings, such as fonts, wallpaper, and screensaver settings, will not take effect until the next time the user logs on. For this reason, you should log off after you run the LoadState tool.

  • Managed environment. To create a managed environment, you can move all of the end user’s documents into My Documents (%CSIDL_PERSONAL%). We recommend that you migrate files into the smallest-possible number of folders on the destination computer. This will help you to clean up files on the destination computer, if the LoadState command fails to complete.

  • Chkdsk.exe. We recommend that you run Chkdsk.exe before running the ScanState and LoadState tools. Chkdsk.exe creates a status report for a hard disk drive and lists and corrects common errors. For more information about the Chkdsk.exe tool, see this Microsoft Web site.

  • Migrate in groups. If you decide to perform the migration while users are using the network, it is best to migrate user accounts in groups. To minimize the impact on network performance, determine the size of the groups based on the size of each user account. Migrating in phases also allows you to make sure each phase is successful before starting the next phase. Using this method, you can make any necessary modifications to your plan between groups.

Security Best Practices

As the authorized administrator, it is your responsibility to protect the privacy of the users and maintain security during and after the migration. In particular, you must consider the following issues:

  • Encrypting File System (EFS). Take extreme caution when migrating encrypted files, because the end user does not need to be logged on to capture the user state. By default, Windows® User State Migration Tool (USMT) 4.0 fails if an encrypted file is found. For more information about EFS best practices, see this article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base. For specific instructions about EFS best practices, see Migrate EFS Files and Certificates.


    If you migrate an encrypted file without also migrating the certificate, end users will not be able to access the file after the migration.

  • Encrypt the store. Consider using the /encrypt option with the ScanState command and the /decrypt option with the LoadState command. However, use extreme caution with this set of options, because anyone who has access to the ScanState command-line script also has access to the encryption key.

  • Virus scan. We recommend that you scan both the source and destination computers for viruses before running USMT. In addition, you should scan the destination computer image. To help protect data from viruses, we strongly recommend running an antivirus utility before migration.

  • Maintain security of the file server and the deployment server. We recommend that you manage the security of the file and deployment servers. It is important to make sure that the file server where you save the store is secure. You must also secure the deployment server, to ensure that the user data that is in the log files is not exposed. We also recommend that you only transmit data over a secure Internet connection, such as a virtual private network. For more information about network security, see this Microsoft Web site.

  • Password migration. To ensure the privacy of the end users, USMT does not migrate passwords, including those for applications such as Windows Live™ Mail, Microsoft Internet Explorer®, as well as Remote Access Service (RAS) connections and mapped network drives. It is important to make sure that end users know their passwords.

  • Local account creation. Before you migrate local accounts, see the Migrating Local Accounts section in the Identify Users topic.

See Also