With organizations making the plunge to Windows XP, the need to migrate files and settings for multiple users from the same system to a new system will only increase. In this Daily Feature, I will show you how to use the File and Settings Transfer utility to migrate this information from a multi-user Windows NT client (or a Windows 2000 client) to a Windows XP client machine.

My lab configuration

For this Daily Feature, I’ll be using a Windows NT workstation and migrating to a Windows XP workstation. For my “server,” I will be using a third workstation that is also running Windows XP, although the intermediary server really doesn’t matter much and could even be a Samba share.

The process
The transfer process is surprisingly easy. You’ll need the Windows XP CD-ROM and a place where you can store the files and settings that you wish to migrate between computers. If you work in an environment with a network and server, the easiest place to store this information is on a server that can be accessed by both the old and new workstations.

On the retiring machine
On the Windows NT or 2000 machine that is to be taken out of service, log on as one of the users whose settings you wish to migrate to a new XP machine and insert the Windows XP CD. Browse to \SUPPORT\TOOLS directory and double-click FASTWIZ.EXE, which is the executable that will start the File and Settings Transfer (FAST) wizard.

The first step of the wizard will ask for a location to which to save the files that will be migrated, as shown in Figure A. For this demonstration, I will save my files to a network share and in a subdirectory named for the user whose files and settings are being migrated. I recommend creating a directory for each user whose settings you plan to transfer from the old machine. FAST does not use descriptive names for its files and it does not give you an opportunity to provide a description for the transfer. Creating a directory for each user will assist in keeping track of the information.

Figure A
Here you will need to provide a location for the migrated files to reside.

The second step of the wizard will ask what you would like to transfer—files, settings or both, as shown in Figure B. For this example, I will migrate both files and settings. Note that only information for the currently logged on user will be migrated, although files from other users may be included if the folders containing these files are included in the migration.

Figure B
This step allows you to choose which information you want to migrate.

After this, you will be provided the opportunity to determine exactly what to move. You can add files and folders, different settings, or you can remove certain aspects. For this demo, I chose the defaults.

Next, the selected information will be written to the location you specified earlier.

On the new machine
On the Windows XP machine, you will need to point to Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > File and Settings Transfer Wizard after making sure to log on as the user whose settings you are migrating from a previous version of Windows.

You will then be asked if this is the new or old system, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C
Which machine is this?

The next screen, shown in Figure D, will ask how the data from the old system will be moved to this system. Since this wizard has already been run on my old lab system, I will indicate that I don’t need a wizard disk.

Figure D
How will the data be migrated?

During the data collection phase, data will be placed on a central share in a subdirectory with the same name as the user. In this step, you will need to provide the name of that location, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E
In this step, you will need to add the location of the files to be migrated.

Clicking Next on this screen will result in the files and settings being transferred, after which you will be prompted to log off and back on again for your changes to take effect. Upon logging back in, you will notice that files and settings pertaining to this user have been migrated.

Then repeat
This process needs to be repeated for each user whose settings you would like to migrate from the old machine to the new. While this is a very manual process, it will help take the errors out of migrating files and settings for multiple users from older machines to Windows XP.