I'd like to migrate

  • system settings and installation
  • installed software
  • all personal data
  • users

from an old windows 8.1 box to a new one. Basically replicate the awesome Mac OS migration assistant, but for Windows 8.1.

Microsoft's tool ("Window easy transfer") is a bad joke and makes me very sad.

Are there tools or magic powershell commands that can do this for me?

  • Try sysprep ==> eightforums.com/tutorials/… – whs Apr 29 '15 at 22:33
  • @whs I am not sure how that would help as I have 2 different windows installs... – Sklivvz Apr 29 '15 at 22:42
  • Yeah, I saw that now. In that case sysprep does not help. It is only for moving 1 system. Sorry. – whs Apr 30 '15 at 1:05

I do not know of any standard options that could do that. The following may work for you though:

  1. Check Superuser or Google for how to do each of the following:
  2. Put the old hard drive with the data to be migrated into the new box, completely replacing the new harddrive with the old one.
  3. Perform a repair install ("refresh your PC") on the old windows, inside the new box.
  4. Clone the old harddisk to the new one and swap them back

If you want to continue using the old box as well, you need to create (and restore afterward) a complete image backup of the old harddrive.

The "repair" install will keep any files, accounts, settings and store apps intact.

Installed software can not be kept. The "repair" will put a list of removed software on the desktop so you can easily identify what to reinstall.

I have not tried this exact procedure, but I have exprience with similar hacks. Windows 8 usually recovers quite well from these shenanigans.


User State Migration Tool will get you the closest, however it does not migrate installed software. What does USMT Migrate? (applies to an older version) There are a couple of supported applications.

Windows Easy Transfer is actually a wrapper for USMT functions, but the full USMT toolkit is more full featured, and it is included in the Windows 8.1 ADK, currently at version 5.0.

USMT 5 reference: Technet

Even though you have two live machines, you will likely want to store the migration data as a file, instead of doing a live transfer. This also gives you a nice point-in-time .MIG backup file.

  • In a corporate/professional environment, MDT or SCCM is used to deploy the applications along with the operating system in the needed configuration before user data and settings are restored. There are third party applications that move applications as well as user data and settings. – WinOutreach2 May 6 '15 at 14:55

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