Why In The World Are You Using Microsoft® USMT For Windows® XP Migrations?

Okay, so this blog post has been quite a while in the making, mostly because I was having a hard time believing the facts on this one, i.e., that organizations are still planning Windows XP migrations using USMT. And right off the bat, I should make it clear that this is NOT a VDI post – it is a desktop post – meaning this time, I’m talking about one of the most common projects/problems that every desktop administrator has to take on at some point – mass migrations from an existing OS to a new one.

In my role, I get to talk to our customers on a regular basis about their desktop plans, and almost routinely, I hear that they are still running a sizable number of Windows XP boxes. That’s not surprising, given the number of applications that run very well on this OS, and quite frankly XP “ain’t broke,” so there’s no compelling reason to “fix” it. The only reason a transition from XP has come up as a prevailing concern for a majority of organizations is that Microsoft is going to EOL Support for this operating system as of April 2014. And therein lays the problem, because no organization wants to risk security issues that come along with an unsupported MS OS.

Which brings me back to our customers… Some want to migrate to Windows 7 even before they launch VDI to keep any OS-related issues separate from VDI-related issues.  They start their migration projects thinking they’re going to use Microsoft free tools (notably USMT). They get through the first few painful months, with staff working after peak hours, making slow progress. Then they start looking for “something else.”

For Liquidware Labs customers, the joyful news is that the “something else” is ProfileUnity which can do standard XP to Windows 7 migrations at least 3 times (possibly more) faster, with much more accuracy and much more securely than any manual progress for both physical and virtual desktops. A lot of customers say the reporting feature alone in ProfileUnity is worth its weight in gold because they can track which users successfully migrated and which did not, giving them ultimate control over the pace of the migration. Try doing that manually. Add to this that end users never have to experience any downtime because migrations happen in the background, and that ProfileUnity runs as a virtual appliance on a vSphere Host, so there is no additional hardware to buy AND the fact that you get a universal user profile standard that will carry you through to Windows 8, I think you could describe using ProfileUnity for migrations as a “no brainer.”

So my question to any organization facing a migrations project is “Why in the world are you using Microsoft USMT for your migrations project? Why? Why?!“

Whew…I just had a moment… 🙂

Consider these customers surveyed by VMware at the beginning of 2013.
Of 322 desktop IT professionals surveyed globally:
• 64 percent of enterprise companies still need to migrate off of Win XP
• 52 percent of mid-sized companies still need to migrate off of Win XP
• 61 percent of SMBs still need to migrate off of Win XP


Of course, VMware goes on to make the case that a migrations project is a good time to assess what your overall desktop provisioning strategy should be. And, indeed it is, but this blog is not about that particular point. The point I am trying to make, for desktop administrators, is that you don’t have to be held hostage to legacy approaches even if you never go to virtual desktops.

Redmond Magazine ran a follow up article about this survey in which they covered the prevailing issues customers experienced using Microsoft tools for migrations, which included user downtime, data loss, incomplete migrations and the sheer amount of additional work time spent by administrators after hours and on weekends to get the job done.  http://redmondmag.com/articles/2013/05/06/it-time-windows-xp-migrations.aspx

So physical desktop administrators. listen up!   User virtualization and application virtualization are your friends and can benefit you significantly on your physical desktops. ProfileUnity can address your migration issues and then set you up for ongoing user profile and user data management that is a great deal more robust and reliable than roaming profiles and folder redirection. The FlexApp feature will ultimately help you deliver and manage applications more easily on physical desktops.

Well, we have a whole website devoted to this topic, so go visit www.xpocalypse2014.com for more information, and I particularly recommend the Survival Tales to see how other companies were able to leverage ProfileUnity. We are going to be adding more as we develop them, and there are some other great tools there too which can help you plan a migration.
Over for now…. Good luck!

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