Windows Easy Transfer – Your cleanest way to Migrate to Windows 7 RTM

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My challenge.  Upgrade my system from Windows 7 RC to Windows 7 RTM with ONE PC and no extra storage.

Cue Mission Impossible Music

This is not a difficult time actually.  All I needed to do was put in a clean install of the O/S, keep my goodies and have as little stress as possible.

So I popped in the DVD and planned for a straight upgrade only to find out “Not supported.”

My hopes sank.  A full re-install. EEK!

Then a little bird mentioned “Windows Easy Transfer” built into Windows 7.   You can run this and do a clean install and end up having everything back where it belongs, settings too!

Now I’ve done the previous migration tools in the past, they’re usually “good” but they always miss something.   But Windows 7 Easy Transfer was not only EASY it was Intelligent.

It wasn’t even difficult to find!  Right under “System Tools” if you really want to look,

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But I cheated.   I typed “Easy transfer” on the search bar and it came right up.  Clicked on it, and look at what befriended me.

 

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And it really is DEAD simple to use!  Just click on HOW you’re going to get it from “Here to There”, in my case an 8GB Usb memory key (technically a “hard drive”) and as you select it moves to each successive Window asking you if this the old computer “source” or the new one “destination”.   This is really meant for transferring from one machine to another but from one install to a clean install on the same machine, really it’s a “NEW Computer” when you’re done.

 

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So it begins scanning your computer, profiles, data, potential data and does pretty accurate determination of what your data IS.  What really impressed me in the Windows 7 version is that it scanned the Root of C: and other drives for POTENTIAL information.  This is fantastic if you have legacy software that stores things in the wrong spot, Driver folders (Dell ? ) and other “Miscellaneous Data” that just wasn’t where Microsoft suggested it should be.   The Windows Easy Transfer doesn’t care about rules.  It’s cares about getting EVERYTHING you have and efficiently putting it into one spot.

 

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But here’s where it rocks.  When it’s done looking?  You can click on “Customize” for each individual entry to add more or deselect information.

 

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Once you’re done choose you click on Next.   Even more impressive is the fact that if you needed to move this information?  You can assign a password to protect the file, keep it out of prying eyes.

 

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Once you’ve decided on a password (or none) click “SAVE”.  Pick a location that is NOT on the PC (USB key is fine, external Harddrive, EVEN a MAPPED network drive!) and let it go.   Depending on the amount of information it will take some time but it’s worth it.

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Once that file is saved.  Remove it.  Boot up and Install from your new Windows 7 Media and completely DELETE the partition structure. Let Windows 7 Build it.  If you do, it will create a second partition.  This is for your Windows Recovery Environment and helps you rebuild when things go bad.   A clean install on mine from a USB key was about 10 minutes.    And with the exception of the Sound card, all the hardware was either immediately detected by Windows 7 or picked up afterwards from an Automatic update.

Getting your information back in from the Windows Easy Transfer is just as easy.  You run the Windows Easy Transfer just as you did before, browse to the USB Key, External Drive, Mapped Network drive, whatever, and select the source file.  You can even choose what not to put back in but I just let it go and reload it all.   What’s even nicer at the end of Easy Transfer it will display a list of Applications you had before to get all the data back and running.  This is particularly nice if a user (say, your parents) have to migrate to a new machine and, well be honest, NONE of us ever remind how much and WHAT was loaded on the old machine.  

It TELLS you!

To give you an indication of how smooth my transfer was ?  From Windows 7 RC (lots of stuff loaded up, Blog Software, passwords… ok TOO MUCH) I downloaded and installed my applications back in and found to my surprise ALL my settings were still there, my customizations, my passwords.  EVERYTHING!

I tell you.  I love Windows 7.   Who ever thought upgrading could be so easy?   Who ever thought MIGRATING from one computer to another could be so beautiful?

Sean
The Energized Tech

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