Upgrading to a new PC is always exciting, even if it is your work PC. When giving employees a new computer, however, they often get frustrated because they lose all of their personalized settings, which are stored in the local user profile. Whether upgrading PCs due to a normal refresh schedule, or you are getting ready for a Windows 11 upgrade at your business, it is a good idea to migrate user profiles so that the impact to the users is minimized.
Fortunately, there are a number of different tools out there that can accomplish this task quickly and easily. Take a look at the following great tools for migrating user profiles and choose which one is best for your organization.
Transwiz (User Profile Wizard) from ForensIT
Transwiz is a free user profile transfer wizard made by ForensIT. If you just need to migrate the occasional user profile from one machine to another, you really won’t find a better option than this. It has an easy to use wizard interface that will walk you through backing up and restoring user profiles in just minutes.
This tool will also convert Windows 7 profiles to Windows 10 (and presumably, Windows 10 to Windows 11 once the next update is released), which is essential. You will find that this tool also allows you to backup and restore additional folders and files, or exclude specific things that you do not want moved over.
The freeware version of this program is intended for personal use, however, so if you are going to be migrating user profiles for multiple PCs at your business, you will need to get the full version. Fortunately, the professional version (branded as User Profile Wizard) is extremely affordable.
As of this writing, a professional license is $99.95 and comes with lifetime updates and absolutely no limits on the number of PCs that it can be used to migrate. If you need to migrate profiles regularly, investing in this tool is really a no brainer.
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Windows Migration Wizard (AKA MigWiz or Easy transfer)
You may not remember it, but Windows 7 (and older versions) actually had a migration tool that could be used to transfer user profiles and it worked quite well. The tool was called Windows Migration Wizard (and was often referred to as either MigWiz or Microsoft Easy Transfer). Unfortunately, this tool was not packaged into Windows 10 and does not seem to be a part of Windows 11 either.
While the tool itself is not built into modern versions of Windows, the tool will work if you can find it. There are many places online where you can download (for free) either a 32 or 64-bit version of this tool. Many IT pros who like this tool will put it on a thumb drive and keep it with them whenever installing new PCs.
The one big issue with this tool, however, is that it only copies over browser data from Microsoft browser. If your organization uses Google Chrome, FireFox, the Brave browser, or any other non-Microsoft browser, you will lose your bookmarks and other settings so keep that in mind.
Cloud Backup Solutions Such as Veeam
If you want to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ you can set up a good cloud data backup system for your organization. These types of backup tools will allow you to backup any type of data so that it is kept securely on the cloud so that you can always restore it should something happen. While the main benefit of this type of tool is the full backup of every device in your organization, it can also be used for user profile migration.
When you are getting ready to install a new PC for a user, simply create a data backup of that profile to the cloud. Once the new PC is in place, restore the data from the cloud and everything should be ready to go. There are a lot of different cloud backup solutions out there, one of the best known of which is Veeam.
While cloud backup systems will undoubtedly work for user profile migrations, it will only make financial sense if you want to get (or already have) this type of technology anyway.
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Create a Custom Shell Script
If you have experience with PowerShell scripting (or any scripting language for that matter), you can create your own custom tool that is designed specifically for your organization. Migrating user profiles is a fairly simple process so you can write up a script that only requires a few dozen (or less) lines of code. In addition to being free, this will allow you to choose exactly what profile data is migrated and what is left behind, which can be quite beneficial to the company.
Of course, this is only a good option if you are comfortable with PowerShell scripts. Also, even if you understand how to make this type of script, your predecessor may not. Creating a custom tool like this should include proper documentation to ensure it continues to work long into the future.
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Fab’s AutoBackup Software
If you just want a simple solution that will allow you to perform backups and restores of your data, including user profiles, Fab’s AutoBackup Software is a great option to consider. The company that makes this software is based out of France, so when you buy a license, you need to pay in Euros (€50 for the Pro version and €10 for the home version).
As long as you don’t mind paying in Euros, this option is an extremely affordable choice that will provide you with an easy-to-use interface that makes migrating users easy. You can also perform backups of other data with this software, which may come in handy.
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Make Migrating User Profiles Easy
All of these options will help you to be able to migrate your user profiles over to new systems whenever you are upgrading hardware, moving to a new OS, or performing any number of other activities. Choose which one is right for you and get it set up in your office to help make this common task much quicker and easier.
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