Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week: Using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard

by ServerWatch Staff

Jason Zandri's latest article in the Learning Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week series takes a step-by-step look at using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard.

by Jason Zandri

Welcome to this week's installment of Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 minutes a week, the seventh in this series. This article will cover using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard.

Using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard

The Windows XP Professional Files and Settings Transfer Wizard can be used to simplify the task of moving data files and personal settings from your old computer to your new one.

By utilizing this helpful tool properly, you won't have to reconfigure all of your personal settings on your new system because you will be able to move your old settings, such as display, Outlook Express, dial-up connections, Internet Explorer, as well as your folder and taskbar options to your new system. You can also use the Wizard to move specific files and / or specific folders to your new system as well. This can include the My Documents, My Pictures, and Favorites folders.

You should connect your new system and your old system together in some way in order to perform the transfer with the least amount of difficulty.

You can use a null modem cable if you have one that is long enough to connect the two systems. If you choose this route, you will need an available serial port on both systems as well.

The preferred option would be to have NICs installed in both systems and have them connected via a crossover cable or through a hub.

After the physical connection between the two systems is established and working properly, you can run the Wizard.

To open the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard you can click Start, select All Programs, select Accessories, select System Tools, and then click Files and Settings Transfer Wizard.

Alternatively, you can simply type migwiz.exe from the Run line of the start menu.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - What your Start Menu options look like all depend on how you have the menu set. If you are using the Classic Start Menu, you would not find the All Programs selection. Your options would be to click Start, select Programs, select Accessories, select System Tools, and then click Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. Not a whole lot different, but perhaps just enough to confuse you.

The Windows XP Professional exam rarely tests you on Classic anything. You need to know how to get from Windows XP Professional settings to Classic and back, but in 90% of the cases you're going to find instructions laid out in the Windows XP Professional vein. I will do my best to point out alternatives in the [NOTES FROM THE FIELD] section as I have done here.

The first window that appears is the Welcome to the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard startup window.

From here you would select NEXT to continue. The next screen that appears is the WHICH COMPUTER IS THIS screen, where you would select either NEW COMPUTER, where you would want to transfer your files and settings to, or OLD COMPUTER, which is what you would select if the system you were working on was where the current files and settings are that you want transferred.

Let's select NEW COMPUTER and click NEXT.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - The OLD COMPUTER can be running Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows 98SE, Microsoft Windows Me, Microsoft Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, or Windows XP (32-bit). We will go through the OLD COMPUTER settings a little later.

You will also find that if you are running a personal firewall product (I use Zone Alarm Pro) you may find, depending on how you have it set up, that it will alert you that the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard wants to act as server process on your system and it wants access to the internet. This is a little misleading, as it is not actually looking for an internet connection so much as it is looking for the local LAN. (Notice the broadcast address.) You need to allow the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard to act as a server process and access the network or it will not be able to reach the remote system.


You will need to run the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard on the OLD COMPUTER shortly (unless you have already done so), and the next screen will ask you whether or not you will use a Wizard Disk (which can be created by using the default selected "I want to create a Wizard Disk in the following drive" selection,) or you can bypass the step if you already have a disk or intend on using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard from the Windows XP Professional CD-ROM.

We will elect to use the default selection, as shown above. When we click on NEXT to continue, the Wizard asks us to make sure there's a formatted disk in the floppy drive. Select OK to continue.

The Files and Settings Transfer Wizard will create the disk and when the disk is finished it will display a window that tells you to go to the OLD COMPUTER and insert the Wizard Disk (A:\ disk) and run the Wizard.

We would now go to the OLD COMPUTER with the floppy disk and run FASTWiz.exe, which would expand the migwiz.cab file and run the Wizard on the OLD COMPUTER.

Once it starts, you will again see the WHICH COMPUTER IS THIS screen, however, this time we will select OLD COMPUTER.

After selecting NEXT, you will be asked to select a transfer method. (Basically, this is a point to where the settings will go so that the NEW COMPUTER can get them. It can be via an across the wire transfer, sent to a share point or to a floppy disk or other removable media. We will use the D:\ drive.)

The Files and Settings Transfer Wizard will then ask you whether you want to migrate settings only, files only or both. You can also elect to choose a custom list of files and settings as well. This could be used if you only needed some of the files and/or some of the settings.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - The following settings can be transferred: Accessibility, Command Prompt Settings, Display Properties, Internet Explorer Settings, Microsoft Messenger, Microsoft NetMeeting, Mouse And Keyboard, MSN Explorer, Network Printer And Drives, Outlook Express, Regional Settings, Sounds And Multimedia, Taskbar Options, Windows Media Player, and Windows Movie Maker.

The following folders can be transferred: Desktop, Fonts, My Documents, My Pictures, Shared Desktop, and Shared Documents.

The following files types can be transferred: *.asf (Windows Media Audio/Video file), *.asx (Windows Media Audio/Video shortcut), *.AU (AU format sound), *.avi (video clip), *.cov (fax cover page file), *.cpe (fax cover page file), *.doc (WordPad document), *.eml (Internet e-mail message), *.m3u (M3U file), *.mid (MIDI sequence), *.midi (MIDI sequence), *.mp2 (Movie File MPEG), *.mp3 (MP3 Format Sound), *.mpa (Movie File MPEG), *.mpeg (Movie File MPEG), *.MSWMM (Windows Movie Maker Project), *.nws (Internet News Message), *.rft (Rich Text Format), *.snd (AU Sound Format), *.wav (Wave Sound), *.wm (Windows Media Audio/Video file), *.wma (Windows Media Audio file), *.wri (Write document).

When you select NEXT, the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard will begin the collection.

I ran the default selection of both files and settings on my 2 GHZ Pentium 4 system, which has three SCSI-3 18.2 GB 10,000 RPM hard drives, set up as individual basic drives and one ATA-100 80GB IDE hard drive, also set up as an individual basic drive, all using the NTFS file system.

Of all that space, almost 135GB total, I have data on about 62 GB. The process took about an hour an fifteen minutes to complete, and while I could use my system while all of this was going on, it was a little sluggish as migwiz.exe wanted as much of the system resources as it could get its hands on, often pegging the processor. (Memory seemed to stay pretty constant at around 128MB of my physical 512MB of PC800 memory being used.)

The final result was 9 GB of data to be transferred to the new system.

As you can also see, there is a 2 GB limitation to the DAT files. Once you exceed this amount the Wizard will automatically start another file an enumerate it.

Once the process is completed, the "Completing the Collection Phase" window will display with the above message. This page would indicate any files and settings that you had selected that the Wizard could not collect. You would have to manually transfer these files and settings, or they would not be transferred to your NEW COMPUTER. (There were none in our example.) Click FINISH to close the Wizard on the OLD COMPUTER.

Now that we have finished the process on the OLD COMPUTER, we can head back over to the NEW COMPUTER and continue from the last screen we were presented with there. (SHOWN BELOW)

We would select NEXT to arrive at the WHERE ARE THE FILES AND SETTINGS page. Since we elected to use the D:\ drive, this is where we would point the Wizard to and select NEXT to continue.

The Wizard will begin the transfer by organizing the files and settings for transfer and then complete the process.

Once this last step finishes the transfer of files and settings will be complete.

That's a wrap for this week. Be sure to check back in next week for the next article in this series.

In the meantime, best of luck in your studies and please feel free to contact me with any questions on my column and remember,

"Out of date virus software is only marginally better than none at all."

Jason Zandri

This article was originally published on Monday Jun 10th 2002
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