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Can your organization afford USMT in the age of remote work?

PCmover vs USMT

By all indications, the move to remote work is here to stay. Organizations have discovered that even with a large percentage of their workforce working from home, productivity has stayed remarkably high. However, this shift increases the burden on IT departments to make sure remote workers have the computing power and connectivity they need to run business applications, participate and run online meetings, and support other crucial business activities. Enter, the need to compare PCmover vs USMT.

Ideally, employees should be nearly self-sufficient and tasks that traditionally have required direct, hands-on IT staff engagement should be as automated as possible. One such task is migrating user profiles, settings, and files from one PC to another, or upgrading the OS of a user’s PC, like Windows 7 to Windows 10.

The work from home factor

As remote work becomes the standard and an integral part of the corporate world, PC migrations take on increased importance. Instead of a standard desktop, users  now have to be outfitted with laptops, which have a shorter replacement cycle and increased risk of break/fix issues. IT staff simply can’t be available  at the user’s home office to connect cables and hand-hold them through basic maintenance—let alone perform a complex PC migration or upgrade process.

To simplify these processes, many organizations may be tempted to look to the User State Migration Tool (USMT) from Microsoft for help. This “free” tool is provided as part of the Windows Application Deployment Kit (ADK) and uses an asynchronous, two-step export/import process to capture and transfer domain and local user accounts, selected settings, and user data to a destination PC.

PCmover vs USMT: What does “free” cost?

While using a “free” tool sounds promising, the reality is much different, there is always a cost to “free”. As detailed in a new white paper. PCmover Enterprise vs. Microsoft USMT, we recently published, USMT does not migrate applications. This impacts three key OPEX factors: technician migration efforts, end-user downtime, and post-migration demands on the service desk to remediate missing settings and data. For automated self-service scenarios, USMT requires software engineers to develop advanced XML migration rules and subsequently provide costly and ongoing maintenance.

One global professional and financial services firm that went down the custom XML route discovered that even after hours of custom coding and testing, USMT-based migrations still increased technician labor and decreased end-user productivity, causing the resulting influx of help desk calls. In other words, USMT is not much better than manual migrations.

Given this firm’s experience and the inherent limitations of USMT, organizations must ask themselves if a “free” tool like USMT is something they can actually afford to keep using. Let’s recap the real costs of using such a tool in the face of more frequent, and often remote, user migrations across organizations:

  • Advanced, custom XML coding
  • Expensive ongoing maintenance of USMT code
  • Multiple hours of lost user productivity for every single migration (multiply by number or employees)
  • Increased usage of IT staff to support PC migrations
  • Increased help desk calls or tickets due to issues resulting from an incomplete migration

PCmover Enterprise solves the remote-worker migration issue

To keep PC migration costs from spiraling out of control, organizations need a tool that scales with their needs. One such tool is PCmover Enterprise. Unlike USMT, PCmover Enterprise is a comprehensive PC migration solution, offering the ability to migrate the complete user personality from an old Windows environment to a new one. This ensures that the new PC environment looks and acts as closely to the original as possible by transferring applications, application settings, user profile data and settings, and the user’s data files and folders.

USMT does not support remote users. Fortunately, PCmover can be configured to run automatically using zero-touch and even zero-UI, requiring zero user interaction because of the predefined IT policy. Similarly, the migration to the new PC environment also occurs in a zero-touch fashion as part of a fully automated process. Additionally, PCmover Enterprise supports on-premises to off-premises profile migration, such as cross domain or Local Active Directory to Azure Active Directory (AAD).

In comparing PCmover vs USMT, PCmover Enterprise does more to support PC migrations than USMT, especially remote-worker migrations. Download the white paper, get a FREE fully functional copy of PCmover Enterprise, or contact us at corpsales@laplink.com.


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