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I have a windows 7 machine that won't boot completely, even in safe mode. I want to re-image the machine using a generic software image, but would like to keep the user data (including settings etc) that are on there ala Windows Easy Transfer. I can mount the hard disk on another machine - can I use Easy Transfer to transfer the user state of an account on the non-booted OS? Or do I need explore USMT?

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I solved the same/similar problem – my old machine died before I could run Windows Easy Transfer. The old drive worked but hardware/driver conflicts prevented it from booting in a new machine, even after running system repair. I could see the directories and files, but couldn't extract the settings.

Solved: I loaded the disk in my new machine and used Microsoft/sysinternals Disk2VHD to create a virtual hard disk image of my old Windows drive and partitions.

I created a virtual machine in Oracle VirtualBox with a similar config to my dead machine. I attached it to the virtual hard disk, booted the vm from my Windows 7 setup DVD, ran system repair and was able to open my old Windows desktop and run Windows Easy Transfer to move the settings to my new computer.

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Easy transfer requires the system to be booted to save settings for that system.

Have you tried to repair the non booting system?

Have you tried startup repair?, it could take 3 or more consecutive repairs to get it booting again.

Or try the recovery environment and use the bootrec repair methods

If you have a OEM PC (Dell, HP ect), I suggest backing up the proprietary Master Boot Record (MBR) before using the fixmbr command.

To do this, make a UBCD boot cd, then use MBRTool (under Boot Management) to back up the factory MBR (hopefully its not corrupt), and later if needed restore it.


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Seems it's possible to use User State Migration Tool (USMT) from the command line...

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Could you elaborate on that? Is there maybe documentation for this process that you could link to? – Raphael Schweikert Jan 4 '12 at 14:21
Also, if you solved your problem this way, maybe you should accept your own answer… – Raphael Schweikert Jan 4 '12 at 14:32

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