When replacing PCs, how are you migrating files and settings from old to new PCs?


Trying to get a feel for what people are using for migrating the file contents from users' old PCs to their new PCs in large scale deployments (can be to Windows 10 or other versions).


What do you do now?


1. Use ConfigMgr OSD and its built-in USMT integration.

2. Use MDT with USMT

3. Use USMT standalone

4. Use PCMover

5. I've built a copy script

6. My users are expected to migrate their own data

7. Everyone is on OneDrive, Box, or Dropbox, so everything they want to keep is already in the cloud

16 Replies
8. Email is in Exchange Online. Copy documents and old PST by hand. Plan to sync documents to OneDrive later.

Are you using the new Known Folder Migration or are your users savvy enough to save everything they want to keep in sync'd folders?

This sounds like it is the most common way - even for large enterprises - and some are using scripts or detailed command lines (copied from Notepad for example) that automatically copy desired locations and skip unwanted file types, etc. 


I'm kind of surprised that it scales to manually visit each desktop in PC replacement scenarios, since they might be 20-40% of PC's you'll move in the next 12-18 months. Would it save you time to have a sample script or command line(s) to repeat with physical desktop interaction, or would you still prefer manual copying? 

Well, scripts can fail or they have to be very complex. I find it not so much difficult to just connect to old PC C$, quickly copy paste a few folders and wait for it to copy (over 1 Gbit switch). If it fails on some files (long names, etc.) i can react immediately. With scripts i would have to do some error logging and then check the logs. It might save a few hours in the long run (for all PCs). But as we change 30-50 PCs per year, it's not a big deal in my book. And as i've said we are planning to use OneDrive. We also set a few settings manually (although some are set through a script adding ini files, importing reg files, adding shortcuts, etc.).


Anyway, we still save A LOT of time by cloning (Windows install, apps, drivers). Cloning new PC takes 10 minutes, and installing from scratch can take hours. No, we don't use sysprep, WDS, etc. Just simple exact clone with Clonezilla :)

I'm using known folder for myself since im on office insider. So I'm just waiting for it to be released into semi-annual so I can announce it to the users (they will be super excited).


But currently we just tell them if you don't save to onedrive its lost because we won't spend the the time to recover.


@JeremyChapmanMechanics when is it coming to macOS? thats always the ask I get, for when the mac users can get things the same time as Windows.

Thanks Oleg! If you were doing 30-50 per day/week/month, do you think you would hire more people or automate this process? I get that one device per week is pretty doable manually, but what if you had ~20k PCs and rolled ~4k of them to new devices per year? (Note: I'm still hearing a preference from some folks for manual state migration at this scale, hence my questions).


Moving to disk cloning... do you have a finite number of device types and disk sizes? DO you need an image per device type? Are you using BIOS or UEFI?

I am with Carlos on this one. I was suggesting to make it a "procedure" option. Just inform users that they have to keep their important documents in OneDrive. But out head of IT thinks we should do it automatically invisible for them. Not sure if KFM will do this, but i also wait for it to come out to see how it works.

Actually, we usually do all the changes per 1-2 months. Depends on a user and the amount of data. But sometimes i'm able to change 3-4 PCs per day (that includes unpacking everything, cloning, preparing user environment, moving user's data and swapping PCs physically). We have good checklists/procedures and over the years i'm just so good at it :D But it is strange for me to hear someone is doing the same with 20k PCs. Maybe it is just easier to do it the old way than to try to setup everything for automatic deployment. I have tested WDS a few years ago. It was too complex for what it did and sysprep still left a lot of things to setup and it took much longer than cloning (it was with Win7 at that point).


Usually we have one new model every year. Though this year it is 3 new models. So will do 3 images. Although with Windows 10 i started not to install drivers manually as it pulls everything on its own. It would probably even work with one image for all, but it is safer to have separate. We don't usually clone old PCs when reusing them. But i keep their images around if we should need to quickly rebuild one (after disk or motherboard replacement). If we do this, i usually do a new image for this model after it updates everything.


Unfortunately Clonezilla won't work with UEFI, so BIOS.

I  use  a    software  called   Runtime  shadow  copy--https://www.runtime.org/shadow-copy.htm

for  all  data    retrival   Im   a  small  business   that  does  data  retrival   I like  because it  copies  all  data

as  long  as  a  specified  folder is    ?  to  a  external  drive  im  just    learning  how  to  do  this   any  other  idears   would  be   very  helpful

Hi Oleg,


Yes KFM is the magic on this :).


It does backup the desktop, docs, picture in onedrive for you. But for browser I suggest users to sign into chrome or firefox so their favs are saved.


We go by the rule that at any moment you should be able to work on any machine. So all your files and settings can't be saved locally. This is harder for the mac users but we are getting there.

So, you probably also have Single Sign On working? This is another thing we want to tackle. Maybe even before KFM. But our users and PCs are in a local domain. There is no ADFS, only AD Connect syncing users to Azure AD. I've read recently about some new SSO feature for AD Connect. Will have to try it.

No we don't have SSO working yet. I have the request submitted for the team that handles auth.


My team is prepping moving the domain users to AAD. So I'm building out Intune/MDM & Autopilot in the meantime.

We are using a combination of 1 and 7.

I usually keep all the important stuff backed up on OneDrive so it gets synced automatically. For the other stuff, I usually use an External Hard Drive.

We've been doing manual KFM basically with all system builds redirecting all Desktop / Documents / Favorites / Photos / Music / Video libraries to Associated OneDrive folders.
Been adding pst files into Online Archives as we do these redirects. Just kind of do these with lifecycle upgrades with our Build checklists for support.

Machine fails, rebuilds, upgrades, new image gets fired up, libraries redirected and they sync right back down, it's great.