Migration Manager captures and transfers user state between PCs, Remote Desktop Services hosts, virtual images, or from offline Windows, translating the captured user state when needed to match operating system and application upgrades.

Migration is a painful, costly process for any organization. Migration Manager dramatically lowers the cost, reduces the labor and increases the success rate of any PC refresh or OS migration project. The tool ensures a smooth, repeatable process that can be used to migrate a single user’s system or automate migration for hundreds or thousands of PCs. Migration Manager not only moves data files, but eliminates time spent configuring settings on the new platform. Moreover, it increases user satisfaction and reduces support calls post-migration. Migration Manager also can be used to back up user state in order to restore settings and data when needed. The software proves invaluable in case of loss or damage of key employee PCs.

What is User State?

The user state represents everything that makes a computer personal and productive for a user. This includes operating system settings, application settings and the user’s data files stored locally on the computer.

The Migration Manager user interface uses the term Personality instead of User State. The meaning is the same in both cases.

Operating System Settings

Operating system elements handled by Migration Manager include the user’s desktop background, Windows Explorer settings, task bar and start menu settings, control panel settings, wireless profiles, etc.

Application Settings

Migration Manager translates literally thousands of application settings from common applications such as Microsoft Office. This includes e-mail and web browser settings, cookies and favorites. The software can also be configured easily to support settings from any commercial or custom application.

Documents and Data Files

Migration Manager locates and moves documents and files to ensure no data is missed, including application data in directories not visible to the user. Migration Manager also finds documents not only in the user’s profile folders (like My Documents or My Pictures) but in any location on the computer.

Custom Applications

Migration Manager can be configured to support any application through its File and Registry Rule features (see File Rules and Registry Rules for more information).

How Does Migration Manager Work?

Migration Manager has 3 major components:

  • Core Engine
  • User Interface
  • Content

Core Engine

The Core Engine in Migration Manager takes the defined configuration (see Configuring Migration Manager for information) and the associated content (see below) and executes the migration.

User Interface

Primarily intended for administrators to use when configuring migrations, it can also be used to do interactive operations. The Migration Manager user interface makes it easy to configure exactly what should be done and when used for interactive operations eliminates the need for remembering command-line parameters to use.


Migration Manager content defines:

  • Where application settings are stored.
  • How application settings are stored.
  • How application settings should be transformed when going from one version to another (e.g. going from Word 2016 to Word 2021).
  • What file types to migrate.

The content that should be included in a migration is part of the configuration (see Extract User State for more information on configuring content)


Planning a Migration Project with Migration Manager covers recommended steps for performing migration projects using Migration Manager, but at a high level the sequence of events is this:

  1. Install Migration Manager in a central location (see Installing Migration Manager).
  2. Create one or more configuration files using the user interface (see Configuring Migration Manager).
  3. Run Migration Manager on each of the source systems from which user state data should be extracted (read). See the “Migration Manager Automation Guide” for more information on how this can be automated.
  4. Run Migration Manager on each of the target systems to which user state data should be injected (written to). Note that this process can also be automated.

Automating Migration Manager

Almost every aspect of Migration Manager can be scripted and automated through the use of the extensive command-line support provided by Migration Manager. Please see the separate “Migration Manager Automation Guide” for a complete reference of the command-line features of Migration Manager.

It is also possible to use Migration Manager to migrate individual systems or a small number of systems. The process descriptions in Planning a Migration Project with Migration Manager cover these scenarios.

Flexible Application Support

The Migration Manager Core Engine is very flexible and designed to keep pace with new versions of applications and operating systems. The engine also provides File and Registry Rule technology (see File Rules and Registry Rules) which enable IT administrators to quickly and easily add support for any application.

Using Imaging Software with Migration Manager

Migration Manager and imaging software for operating system and application deployment work hand-in-hand as part of an overall deployment process. Imaging technology ensures that identically configured computers are deployed to users with the right version of the operating system, applications, required patches, etc.

Prior to imaging, Migration Manager extracts the user state from the source computer(s). After the imaging is complete, Migration Manager injects the previously-extracted user state into the freshly imaged computer.

ITSM Environments and Appliances

Migration Manager works in IT Service Management environments and on appliances, where offline users can easily be extracted. With a single install to a shared network location, Migration Manager can be run from 32-bit or 64-bit Windows PE environments.

Moving Applications

Migration Manager moves application settings and data associated with those applications, but does not move the applications themselves. There are many reasons for this, but some of the more important are:

  • It’s easy to get into a state where you violate the licensing terms of the software by having it installed on 2 systems instead of the 1 licensed computer
  • Many software vendors only support applications that have been installed by the appropriate installer, not installed by other means
  • When migrating users, this typically happens as part of an overall operating system and application deployment with both the operating system and applications being upgraded to a more recent version rendering the idea of moving the applications moot