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I'm aware that windows has a transfer utility wizard but I have never used that. What's the best way to Migrate or transfer data to a new laptop? Will that utility provide everything I need? Does the user need to reinstall programs on the new laptop first (e.g.Office)?

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I would have the user install all of the necessary programs first, then use the built in Windows Easy Transfer tool. It makes it absolutely easy.

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My preferred method is to reinstall all the programs (we use images, so this sounds like much more work than it is, at least in my case); have the user login once then log back out; copy the user's profile from the old computer to the new; they're good to go. If I'm doing a bunch of PCs I'll pull out USMT to do the profiles automatically; usually rolled into an automated OS roll-out.

The migration tool included with Windows does not transfer all programs, it might get some, but it can't do everything. It's a good starting point for small migrations, then install programs as necessary.

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Would you recommend that I have the user reinstall the necessary programs first? Also I'm not working with an image. Don't know if that really makes a difference. Probably does though. :-P – Jason T. Aug 5 '10 at 15:44
Without knowing what programs you've got, the safest route is to install them all first; and make sure any updates are installed as well. – Chris S Aug 5 '10 at 18:38

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