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Simon Says Use a Scripting Solution to Migrate Profiles

Scripting can save you a lot of time, as Simon Zeltser discovered firsthand. Simon had to upgrade more than 1,500 desktop PCs running Windows 2000 and different Microsoft Office versions to Windows XP and Office 2003. He had to destroy the current file system instead of upgrading it from the previous OS for several reasons, including incompatibility problems between the old and new versions of some of the company's internal software. He needed a way to back up all the users' profiles on the PCs, then restore the profiles after installing the new XP and Office 2003 software.

Simon knew that physically going to 1,500 PCs to perform the upgrade would be too time-consuming, so he decided to back up the profiles on a network share, then restore the profiles from that share onto the PCs so that he could perform all the work remotely. He looked at existing solutions, such as XP's Files and Settings Transfer Wizard and the User State Migration Tool (USMT), but discovered they wouldn't work well in his situation. When he searched the Windows Scripting Solutions (the predecessor to Scripting Pro VIP) Web site for profile migration tools, he found a solution that Rick Early provided in the article "Copying Win2K PC Profiles." Although Rick's solution provides a way to quickly migrate user profiles, it's written for PC-to-PC migrations and Simon needed a solution that would let him migrate profiles from a PC to a network share then back to the PC. So, Simon adapted Rick's solution.

Simon's ProfileBackup solution executes in two phases: backup and restore. The backup phase involves running one main script (SavePC.bat) and three supporting scripts (SaveProfile.bat, Del-TempFiles.vbs, and SavePC.kix). The restore phase involves running one main script (CopyPC.bat) and two supporting scripts (RestoreRegistry-Profile.bat and CopyPC.kix). Simon used the ProfileBackup solution to successfully migrate the profiles on all 1,500 PCs.

If you'd like to learn more about the ProfileBackup solution, read Simon's article "Painless Profile Migration." I've opened up this article as well as "Copying Win2K PC Profiles" for public viewing through January 31. If you enjoy reading these articles, you can get more of this type of content by subscribing to Scripting Pro VIP.

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