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The easiest way to transfer a Windows 10 profile from one computer to another.

I’ve worked in a few places for IT over the last 20 years. Each place I go to, there is one thing everyone dreads: rebuilding a computer and keeping the profile intact.

From Windows NT 4.0 through Windows XP, this was a nightmare. Keeping track of the folders, shortcuts, files on the desktop, shortcuts, and their precious baby pictures is exhausting. Something gets missed. 3rd party software was always the way to go.

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Then Windows 7 gave us a gift: Windows Easy Transfer. It copies profiles. The files, folders, and application settings for the user accounts on that computer. And, it throws it all in to one nice big file that the program recognizes and you don’t have to sift through anything.

Windows 10 is a different beast. It took away Windows Easy Transfer. Once again IT professionals everywhere were sent to manually copy files and baby pictures... or so I thought.

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What Microsoft doesn’t tell you is that you can pluck Windows Easy Transfer out of Windows 7 and it will run right off of a USB drive. Here is what you need to do.

  • Find a Windows 7 computer (64 bit is preferred!) or install disc
  • Copy the “migwiz” folder from C:\Windows\System32 (x:\support\ if your’re using the DVD)to your USB drive.
  • Run “migwiz.exe” as an administrator from your USB drive on the old computer (Windows 7 or Windows 10.)
  • Copy the profile you want to move and save it to a USB drive.
  • Take this USB drive with your migwiz folder and compressed profile to the new computer.
  • Run “migwiz.exe” as an administrator from your USB drive on the new computer and tell it you are on the new computer.
  • Locate the compressed profile from the old computer on your USB drive and wait.

That’s it! Once the process is done, you even get a report of all the software you may want to install on the new computer that your old computer used to have. It’s a time saver that I can not live without when working on computers. I have even used it when working on family computers by making it my first step and backing up their profile to my own USB drive in the event something goes terribly wrong and we have to emergency rebuild the computer. Having that nice snapshot backup can come in handy later on.

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While this transfer can be done over a network, or by using an Easy Transfer USB cable, this is the method I prefer. All the files are moved, and you have a snapshot backup in case something goes wrong on the new and old computers.

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