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Working with the User State Migration Tool (part 2) - Collecting files and settings with ScanState, Restoring files and settings with LoadState

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4. Collecting files and settings with ScanState

You must run ScanState as Administrator. On Windows 2000 and XP systems, you can simply log on and run the tool with an administrative account. On Windows Vista systems, you will be prompted by User Authentication Control (UAC) to allow the tool to run with this required access. Of course, if you have a systems management solution in place to distribute the command line, this is ideal. Using group policy, a startup script can do the job, but keep in mind that a logon script runs in the context of the user (which will fail unless all your users happen to be administrators).

ScanState is a command line tool with many options (Table 1 describes each of the options individually). Following this table are some typical examples of ScanState commands. The syntax for ScanState is:

scanstate [StorePath] [/i:[Path\]FileName] [/o] [/v:VerbosityLevel]
[/nocompress] [/localonly] [/encrypt /key:KeyString|/keyfile:[Path\]FileName]
[/l:[Path\]FileName] [/progress:[Path\]FileName] [/r:TimesToRetry]
[/w:SecondsBeforeRetry] [/c] [/p] [/all] [/ui:[DomainName\]
UserName]|LocalUserName] [/ue:[DomainName\]UserName]|LocalUserName] [/
uel:NumberOfDays|YYYY/MM/DD|0] [/efs:abort|skip|decryptcopy|copyraw] [/
genconfig:[Path\]FileName] [/targetxp] [/config:[Path\]FileName] [/?|help]


Table 1. ScanState Command Line Parameters
OptionDescription
StorePathSpecifies folder where the files and settings are to be stored.
/iSpecifies configuration xml file containing rules that define what state to migrate. This is typically used more than once to specify multiples of such files (such as MigUser.xml, MigApp.xml, MyCustom.xml).
/oOverwrite any existing data in the store. If not specified ScanState will fail if the store already contains data.
/vSpecifies the verbosity of the output created in the ScanState log. The default is 0, but valid values range from 0 to 15.
/nocompressDisables compression (enabled by default). This may be used for troubleshooting purposes so you can browse the contents or to use a virus scanning program to scan the contents.
/localonlyLimits migration to files stored on the local computer (regardless of the rules specified in included xml configuration files). If this option is not specified, data from external drives on the source computer will be included in the collection process.
/encryptEncrypts the store with the specified key (password). The key is specified with the /key or /keyfile options.
/key:<KeyString>Used with the /encrypt option to identify a KeyString between 8 and 256 characters long. If there is a space in the KeyString value, surround the string in double quotes.
/keyfile:<KeyFile>Used with the /encrypt option to identify a text file that contains an encryption key (as opposed to providing the string on the command line with the /key option).
/lSpecifies the location of the ScanState log file. This can be specified as a relative path or a full path, but cannot be the same folder as StorePath.
/progressCreates the optional progress log. This can be specified as a relative path or a full path, but cannot be the same folder as StorePath.
/rSpecifies the number of times to retry when an error occurs. The default is three times. This can be helpful in environments where network connectivity is an issue.
/wSpecifies the number of seconds to wait between retries (see /r option). The default is 1 second.
/cCauses ScanState to continue to run even if there are nonfatal errors. Without this option, ScanState will exit on the first error encountered. Any such errors are ignored but will be logged in the progress log.
/pGenerates a space-estimate file called usmtsize.txt that is saved to StorePath. When this option is specified no user stat is collected. Note: You must also specify /nocompress with this option.
/allThis option explicitly migrates all of the users on the computer, which is the default behavior unless accounts are excluded with either the /ue or /uel options.
/ui:<UserID>Migrates only specified users. You can specify the domain and user name or a local user name. All users are included by default, so this option is only helpful when using the /ue or /uel options to exclude users. The asterisk (*) wildcard is supported. For example, to migrate only the user named NCKELLY, you could use the following options:
/ue:*\* /ui:domain\NCKELLY

/ue:<UserID>Excludes specified users from migration. You can specify the domain and user name or a local user name.
/uel:<NumberOfDays>Limits migration to only users that have logged onto the source computer within the specified number of days.
/efs:<Setting>Specifies how the ScanState should handle EFS encrypted files. The following settings may be specified:

/efs:abort: Fail with an error code if an EFS file is found on the source computer

/efs:skip: Ignore all EFS files

/efs:decryptcopy: Decrypt if possible before saving to store

/efs:copyraw: Copy the file in its encrypted state

EFS Certificates are migrated automatically. When migrating to Windows Vista it is recommended that you use the /efs:copyraw option
/genconfigGenerates a Config.xml file which identifies all items that would be collected. Instead of collecting the items, it generates a file identifying each component that would be migrated with the identifier migrate="yes" included with each item. By editing this file to reflect migrate="no" where items should be excluded, the /config option may be used to enforce these exclusions.
/targetxpOptimizes the process for situations when the destination computer will be running Windows XP. This option is helpful when creating a store as it will limit the contents to those items that pertain to Windows XP. This may also be used with /genconfig to limit the contents of config.xml to those items that pertain to Windows XP.
/configSpecifies the optional Config.xml file that should be used when creating a store. This can be specified as a relative path or a full path (if you do not specify a path, Config.xml must be located in the current directory).

This example collects user data and settings (scanstate) by using the default MigUser.xml and MigApp.xml configuration files (/i:miguser.xml /i:migapp.xml) and saves the resulting store to \\server\share\store. It creates a verbose log file with status messages that can be used with a debugger (/v:13) to a file named scan.log which is created in the current directory (/l:scan.log):

ScanState \\server\share\store /i:miguser.xml /i:migapp.xml /v:13 /l:scan.log


This next example generates an usmtsize.txt file (/p) that provides a space-estimate based on the collection of user data and settings (scanstate) using the default MigUser.xml and MigApp.xml configuration files (/i:miguser.xml /i:migapp.xml). The /nocompress option is required when generating a space estimate file with /p. Finally, because the destination for the store is a network location, a log file with the /l option must be specified. In this case, the log file would be created in the current directory and would record only default errors and warnings (as is dictated by the default logging level of zero).

ScanState /i:miguser.xml /i:migapp.xml \\server\share\store /nocompress /p
/l:scan.log

This final example collects user data and settings (scanstate) by using the default MigUser.xml and MigApp.xml configuration files (/i:miguser.xml/i:migapp.xml) and saves the resulting store to E:\localstore. However, only those users who have logged in within the last 45 days will have their data and settings migrated (/uel:45).

ScanState /i:migapp.xml /i:miguser.xml E:\localstore /uel:45

5. Restoring files and settings with LoadState

Although it is not always essential, installing all applications on the destination computer before restoring the user state is a good practice. Doing this ensures that migrated settings are preserved; otherwise some applications may overwrite or disregard existing settings restored by LoadState.

LoadState is a command line tool with many options (Table 2 describes each of the options individually). Following this table are some typical examples of LoadState commands. The syntax for LoadState is:

loadstate StorePath [/i:[Path\]FileName] [/v:VerbosityLevel] [/nocompress]
[/decrypt /key:KeyString|/keyfile:[Path\]FileName] [/l:[Path\]FileName]
[/progress:[Path\]FileName] [/r:TimesToRetry] [/w:SecondsToWait] [/c] [/all]
[/ui:[[DomainName\]UserName]|LocalUserName] [/ue:[[DomainName\]
UserName]|LocalUserName] [/uel:NumberOfDays|YYYY/MM/DD|0] [/
md:OldDomain:NewDomain] [/mu:OldDomain\OldUserName:[NewDomain\]NewUserName]
[/lac:[Password]] [/lae] [/q] [/config:[Path\]FileName] [/?|help]


Table 2. LoadState Command Line Parameters
OptionDescription
StorePath

Specifies folder where the files and settings are stored.
/i

Specifies configuration xml file containing rules that define what state to migrate. This is typically used more than once to specify multiples of such files (such as MigUser.xml, MigApp.xml, MyCustom.xml, etc.).
/v

Specifies the verbosity of the output created in the ScanState log. The default is 0, but valid values range from 0 to 15: output
/nocompress

Specifies that the store is not compressed.
/decrypt

Decrypts the store with the specified key. The key is specified with the /key or /keyfile options.
/key

Used with the /decrypt option to identify a KeyString between 8 and 256 characters long. If there is a space in the KeyString value, surround the string in double quotes.
/keyfile

Used with the /decrypt option to identify a text file that contains an encryption key (as opposed to providing the string on the command line with the /key option).
/l

Specifies the location of the LoadState log file. This can be specified as a relative path or a full path, but cannot be the same folder as StorePath. running LoadState from a shared network resource.
/progress

Creates the optional progress log. This can be specified as a relative path or a full path, but cannot be the same folder as StorePath.
/r

Specifies the number of times to retry when an error occurs. The default is three times. This can be helpful in environments where network connectivity is an issue.
/w

Specifies the number of seconds to wait between retries (see /r option). The default is one second.
/c

Causes LoadState to continue to run even if there are nonfatal errors. Without this option, LoadState will exit on the first error encountered. Any such errors are ignored but will be logged in the progress log.
/all

This option explicitly migrates all of the users on the computer, which is the default behavior unless accounts are excluded with either the /ue or /uel options.
/ui

Migrates only specified users. You can specify the domain and user name or a local user name. All users are included by default, so this option is only helpful when using the /ue or /uel options to exclude users. The asterisk (*) wildcard is supported. For example, to migrate only the user named NCKELLY, you could use the following options:
/ue:*\* /ui:domain\NCKELLY

/ue:<UserID>

Excludes specified users from migration. You can specify the domain and user name or a local user name.
/uel:<NumberOfDays>

Limits migration to only users that have logged onto the source computer within the specified number of days.
/md:<OldDomain>:<NewDomain>
/md:<LocalComputerName>:
<NewDomain>

Specifies a new domain for the user(s). This option may be used to change the domain for users on a computer or to migrate a local user to a domain account. OldDomain may contain the asterisk (*) wildcard character.
/mu:<OldDomain\
OldUserName>:<[NewDomain\]
NewUserName>

/mu:<OldLocalUserName>:
<NewDomain\NewUserName>

Specifies a new user name for the specified user. If the store contains more than one user, multiple /mu options may be specified. You cannot use wildcard characters with this option.
/lac:<Password>

Specifies that if a user account is a local account, and it does not already exist on the destination computer, to create the account on the destination computer as a disabled account (to enable the account, the /lae option must be specified as well). If /lac is not specified, any local user accounts that do not already exist on the destination computer will not be migrated. Password is the password for the newly created account. By default, an empty password is used.
/lae

Enables the account that was created with /lac. You must specify /lac with this option.
/q

Allows LoadState to run without administrative credentials. This option only migrates the account for the user who is currently logged on.
/config

Specifies the optional Config.xml file that should be used during restore. This can be specified as a relative path or a full path (if you do not specify a path, Config.xml must be located in the current directory).

The following command restores all user data and settings (LoadState) by using the default MigUser.xml and MigApp.xml configuration files (/i:miguser.xml /i:migapp.xml) from the specified store at \\server\share\store. Finally, because the destination for the store is a network location, we must also specify a log file with the /l option. In this case, the log file would be created in the current directory and would record only default errors and warnings (as is dictated by the default logging level of zero).

LoadState /i:migapp.xml /i:miguser.xml \\server\share\store /c /l:load.log

This next command will restore all user data and settings (LoadState) using the MigUser.xml and custom.xml configuration files (/i:miguser.xml /i:custom.xml) from the specified store at E:\localstore. This store was encrypted using the /encrypted option, so to perform the restore, the /decrypt option is used and the password used as a Keystring during the ScanState phase is repeated here with LoadState (/key:NINRLS19).

LoadState /i:miguser.xml /i:custom.xml E:\Localstore /decrypt /key:NINRLS19

6. Reviewing best practices

The following are some best practices to keep in mind when working with USMT. Arguably the most important of these recommendations focus on security. Remember, when performing a migration you are taking personal information, potentially confidential information, and removing it from the environment where it was secured. Take care with user data by encrypting it, scanning it for viruses, and deleting the migration stores after the migration has succeeded.

  • Close all applications before running ScanState or LoadState: While Windows Easy Transfer requires it, you could run the USMT tools with applications running, but doing so may result in a failure to migrate the settings of those applications.

  • Install applications before running LoadState: To better ensure that migrated settings are preserved, it is best to install all applications on the destination computer before restoring user data and settings.

  • Log off after running LoadState: Some system settings will not take effect until the next time a user logs in. To fully complete a restoral, log off of the system once LoadState has finished running.

  • Consolidate restored files: To realize a more managed environment, you can redirect the restoral of documents to the smallest possible number of folders. For example, you can restore all office document types to the same profile folder (documents).

  • Encrypt the store: Encrypting the store adds an element of security to the data. Use the / encrypt and /decrypt options to better protect user data and settings. At the same time, please keep in mind that the key (or password) is visible in plain text so anyone that has access to the command line (or your script that is running the command line) will also have access to this password.

  • Consider password migration: USMT does not migrate passwords (including those for applications such as Outlook, Internet Explorer, Remote Access Service [RAS] connections, and mapped network drives). In order to ensure that all passwords are known, it is advisable to have end users change and record their passwords just prior to the migration.

  • Perform virus scans: Scan both the source and destination computers for viruses before running USMT.

  • Maintain the security of the store while it is on your network: Make certain that the file server where you save the store is secure. It is also important to secure the deployment server so that user data in the log files are not exposed.

  • Migrate in groups: Particularly if performing the migration while users are using the network, it is best to migrate user accounts in groups. This both minimizes the impact on network performance and also allows you to make sure each phase is successful before moving on to the next. Finally, this also allows you to make any necessary modifications to your process between groups.

Other -----------------
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- Dealing with Drivers and Other Tales of Hardware Troubleshooting (part 1) - How to Add Hardware
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- Crashes and Error Messages (part 5) - What to Do When a Program Crashes
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