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I intend to move all data from my old laptop to a new one. I will be following "method 3" from this guide:

Sysprep is an essential step in this, becauase migrating to a new system might fail on dissimilar hardware.

I know that sysprep essentially strips away all hardware specific information and personalisation but retains user data, installed software, etc. I get that. I just want to know what exactly goes away apart from the hardware-bound things.

For instance, will I lose the arrangement/layout of the desktop? I know I WILL lose all pinned items to the taskbar, etc.

Also, I would really appreciate if someone can show me a way to make a backup of the personalisation data.

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From Technet (assuming you are using /generalize)

Prepares the Windows installation to be imaged. If this option is specified, all unique >system information is removed from the Windows installation. The security ID (SID) resets, >any system restore points are cleared, and event logs are deleted.

The next time the computer starts, the specialize configuration pass runs. A new security ID >(SID) is created, and the clock for Windows activation resets, if the clock has not already >been reset three times.

You may have to experiment with capturing a sysprepped image to determine what exactly gets lost during the process. If you are concerned about preserving your personal settings, I would simply make a system backup with windows backup before you sysprep ( I know this got posted months ago).

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