3.10. Restoring User Data Files
You can move a user's computer's state from one system to another. The state of a user's computer comprises the information and settings important to that user. This includes files in the My Documents folder, e-mail settings, Internet Explorer favorites, and the desktop wallpaper, just to name a few.
3.10.1. Saving a computer's state
If you are going to replace a user's computer, you should know how to save the computer's state. You will replace a system for a number of reasons. Maybe the system is running Windows 98, and you feel that to run Windows XP, the user should have up-to-date hardware. Or maybe the user is running Windows XP on a system, and your manager has a new laptop for the user that will run Windows XP. Bottom line: You have to move the settings from one computer to another.
Windows XP offers the User State Migration Tool (USMT) feature, which is a set of features that can simplify your life when you need to move computer settings from one system to another. The USMT is made up of the Files and Settings Transfer (FAST) Wizard and the command line tools. Just a note that Windows Vista has a similar feature called the Windows Easy Transfer!
To save a computer's state, follow these instructions:
Activate the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard by choosing StartAll ProgramsAccessoriesSystem ToolsFiles and Settings Transfer Wizard.