Friday, June 20, 2008

Introducing User Profile Wizard 3.0

Push Migrations
So what's new with User Profile Wizard 3.0? The big change is that User Profile Wizard 3.0 enables you to do "push" migrations. What's a push migration? A push migration is where you can send (or "push") the instructions needed to migrate a machine - say from one domain to another - from another machine. In other words, you can migrate the workstations on your network from your desktop.

Up to now User Profile Wizard has only supported "pull" migrations. Typically this means that when a user logs on to their machine, they pull down a script from the network which migrates their machine. This methodology has proved to be extremely effective over hundreds of thousands of migrations, and will probably remain the dominant means of migrating workstations - especially for large scale migrations. In some organizations however, a push migration may be felt to be more appropriate: if that is the case, User Profile Wizard 3.0 can certainly help.

Under the surface there have been some major architectural changes to User Profile Wizard 3.0 to allow for push migrations. We've kept the familiar Windows Wizard interface for User Profile Wizard 3.0 the same, however. What you do get is a new option:

When you click next, the Wizard will attempt to connect to the remote machine, prompting you for a username and password as required. If the remote machine is already joined to a domain this should be fairly painless. If however the remote machine happens to be a Vista workstation in a workgroup you may have to do some configuration before you start: workgroup Vista machines allow only the local Administrator account to access the machine remotely - an account that is disabled by default!

Once you have specified the domain and username of the account you want to use an existing user profile, the Wizard will show you a list of the profiles - profiles that are on the remote machine, of course.

To migrate a profile you simply need to select it and click next. If the Wizard needs to join the remote machine to a new domain you will be prompted whether you want to restart the machine now. If you say "Yes" the remote machine will reboot in two minutes: anyone logged onto the machine will get a warning, but will not be able to prevent the reboot.

Console Support

Being able to just connect to another machine on the network and migrate it using the GUI on your desktop is pretty cool, but what if you don't want to have to use the GUI every time? Can you do push migrations using the command line and maybe script the whole process? Well of course you can! User Profile Wizard 3.0 has the additional command line parameter /COMPUTER to allow you to specify the remote computer you want to target.

The screenshot above also shows another new feature of User Profile Wizard 3.0: console support. The Wizard is a Windows application, but it can now also run fully in a console window - if that's the way you want to work.

With User Profile Wizard 3.0 we've worked hard to maintain the consistency and reliability of User Profile Wizard 2.5 while adding new features to make administering workstation migrations easier - especially when it come to Windows Vista.

You can check out User Profile Wizard 3.0 for yourself here.

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