USMT (User State Migration Tool) is a tool offered at “no charge” by Microsoft for Windows PC migration. The tool was developed as a result of large enterprise customers asking vendors and also Microsoft about the time, disruption, and expense involved in migrating Windows users.
The real work starts when you roll it out. To help us understand USMT better, we asked a network management firm to test USMT and Migration Manager to determine how they stack up. We thought you’d be interested in the data. Pop us a note if you have something to add or change in this post with a comment or by reaching out to us on our Contact page. We hope you find this information useful.
As far as free tools go, USMT is in our opinion quite rudimentary in many areas and offers no user interface to IT managers and much lower reliability without extensive customization. Microsoft Certified Professional reported that USMT loses data or files 29% of the time. In practice, with much testing and time, it can be made more reliable, but the “rework rate” erases the benefit of using it according to IT Services.
Customers state that the application support is quite thin in many areas, even in Microsoft’s own applications.
The network testing company we hired told us that USMT is sensitive to Registry and Profile settings, which are common on Windows PC’s and can cause USMT to fail. To support that assertion, we recently posted on a Microsoft Certified Professional article quoting data from VMWare stating that “USMT has a 29% data and settings loss rate in VMWare’s testing.”
- USMT is reportedly weak on support for settings transfer. It goes mostly for the easy stuff.
- The versions of each application must match on the source and destination computers.
- This is a huge because USMT does not the migration of the settings of an earlier version of an application to a later version except for Microsoft Office, which USMT can migrate from an earlier version to a later version in one process.
- Inconsistent migration compatibility; especially when migrating between different OS versions. This leads to a lot of research and testing time to determine feasibility.
- USMT requires technician to learn how to read and edit raw XML files that are required to have granular control over the migration.
- USMT Has version and locale (language) dependencies, especially with Microsoft Office
- It does not operate easily in a secure network environment, operates only at a file system level
- USMTs complex line command switch options lead to management complexity and a steep learning curve
- It is found by many IT administrators to be time consuming and error prone in large enterprise environments. One tech told us: “It’s rudimentary and it fails half the time.”
|GUI Interface and configuration editing system||Yes||No|
|Multiple Incremental Backups of User Data Before Migration||Yes||No|
|Simple Command Line Scripting||Yes||No|
|Compression of User Data||Yes||No|
|Compressed and Encrypted||Yes||No|
|Reliability Rating||99.9%||81% (reported)|
|Password Protected User Data||Yes||Yes|
|Migration PC Pairing by S/N and MacID||Yes||No|
|Migration Time (10GB)||32 Min||102 Minutes|
|Cross Domain Migrations||Yes||Yes|
|Number of MS Word/Outlook Editor Settings||600+||12|
|Complex File Transfer Rules with Variables||Yes||Partial|
- Easy to configure.
- Set up and run the first Migration Manager migration in a few minutes.
- Highly-reliable and dependable. 99.9% reliability (two sigma)
- Easily create multiple configurations for different departments or branches
- Delivers a demonstrated migration ROI of $300-2000 resulting from ease of use and simple implementation
- Takes care of migrating Outlook and setting it up correctly
- Provides incremental backup and selective restoration – protects and preserves personalities over time
- Handles remote non-logged in users, no problem
- Easily distributed for large-scale migrations. No Install required.
- Strong enough to be used for regular backup and even has an optional end user restore tool available.
- Migrates more deeply. 500+ more settings on Microsoft Word just for starters. USMT only moves some settings in the tests that we reviewed
- Migrates personalities in less than half the time of USMT last time we saw numbers on it (We hope to update performance numbers soon).
- Supports manual and automated secure transfer over secure networks
- No need for network file share rights, can be run as LocalSystem, SCCM system account, or logged on user.
- Significantly easier to add custom application, file, and registry support
- Migration Manager, unlike USMT…migrates from and to different application versions as needed
- Tranxition provides live, actual human beings for support and migration design, included as part of the license agreement
- When a firm chooses Migration Manager as part of their deployment process, they receive a highly-mature, deeply-tested application that has saved organizations around the globe over $1.2B over the two decades. Companies such as HP, BMC, Frontrange, and PCM have delivered results with Tranxition
- Start an evaluation process and see why going with Migration Manager™ will make you a star to your management.