How to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7

There’s a twelve minute video on Microsoft’s TechNet site that shows how to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 – it demonstrates the User State Migration Tool (USMT).

The short form is that installing over the top of XP/Vista will result in the personal data from your “windows” directory (for each profile) will be moved to a folder named “windows.old”. P0st-install you can move the data by hand into the corresponding directory structure for the new operating system – there are two problems with this approach:

  • you’ll have to accept many file over-write messages and elevation prompts
  • you’ll have to re-associate the data with each application – going into Outlook for instance to make it aware of the location of your personal folder (.pst) files

The User State Migration Tool is a command line utility which can be used to automate the operations listed above – it’s really intended for managed IT enviroments as it requires some effort in the form of a script – if you’re doing this for a one off machine you’d probably be quicker to move everything and re-associate the data files with applications by hand.


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