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I'd like to make it easier to move from XP to Windows7/8. The main issue is that it takes a lot of work to identify which applications the user needs, moving the data, and reconfiguring the app just like it was on the source host.

Here's what I thought of doing:

  1. On the source host, use Process Monitor to watch what files the application uses, ignoring access to the Registry since the application will be installed in a bare state on the target host

  2. After I have a list of which files the applications uses to read/write its data, copy those files on the target host

  3. Check that the application works OK on the target host.

Does this sound OK? Is there a better solution than Process Monitor?

Thank you.

Edit : Provided there's no better alternative, I'd like to configure Process Monitor so that it ignores access to EXEs and DLLs to reduce clutter. It doesn't seem to support this nor does it support regexes. Can someone confirm?

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This will probably break application updates. And it might be a lot more work than just reconfiguring the application. Creating a VM from the old XP installation and using that from win7 while slowly migrating to the new OS is probably less hassle. – Hennes Jan 12 '13 at 12:46
Thanks. I'll see how it goes. – OverTheRainbow Jan 12 '13 at 12:52
It might be very difficult to find out a generic solution for this, but based on the common pratice of active directory domains, if you can redeploy the applications separatedly, configuration migration can be as simple as copying the user profile folder. – Jan 12 '13 at 14:52

We just reinstalled Windows 7 (the registry was in a bad sector, we bought a new HDD), and it works great to check the following locations and copy over the folder that is named after the program.

For example: We have Thunderbird installed, so I copied C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird over. For a different program, just copy the folder that is named the same as the program (or named after the company that makes the software, ex. Roaming\Individual Software\Typing Instructor). Another place to check for data files is C:\ProgramData\<programname>.

Hope this helps.


Win XP may have a different location, I think maybe <username>\AppData is called <username>\Application Data.

This method copies most or all of the settings, as well as all the data. Surprisingly few programs use the registry for settings, but some do. I just manually change the settings for these.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the tip. Process Monitor is an easy way to check whether an application uses the Registry to save settings. – OverTheRainbow Jan 12 '13 at 14:16

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