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Windows 7 Migration: Step 4 - Capture User Settings and Personality

Created: 23 Feb 2010 • Updated: 01 Nov 2010 | 3 comments
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blairthomas's picture
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Step 4: Capture User Settings and Personality

If there is one thing that will make or break an OS migration, it is the successful transfer of computer and user settings (network, operating system, applications, data, etc). To ensure a successful transition include:

  • Global settings
  • Application settings
  • Data files
  • Verify PCT Template

Global Settings

The PC Transplant (PCT) Template Builder lets a user define a template. A PCT Template specifies which settings will be captured during a Capture Personality task. The tool has an interface similar to the PCT Wizard. Because the tool is generic, a user cannot select a specific user's settings to migrate. The tool provides a list of all Desktop and Network settings. It does not include any system specific options like the listing of a specific printer.

Use the Template Builder to create a custom template for your organization. Your custom template will be used during the migration job discussed in the later sections.

From the Deployment Server, open your PCT Template Builder. Note: The Template Builder can also be started by running Template.exe located in the PCT subfolder of your Deployment Share.

  1. From the Deployment Console's menu bar, select Tools > PC Transplant Editor. The Explanation of utility and features dialog appears.
  2. Don't explain again and click OK. The Altiris PC Transplant Editor is opened.
  3. From PC Transplant's menu bar, select Tools > Template Builder.
  4. Select Don't remind me again to the update prompt and click OK. The PC Transplant Template Builder dialog appears as shown in the figure below.

You can use predefined templates or a custom template that you create. The following predefined templates are available:

  • Default - Comprises of Desktop settings and a few Network settings such as the Folder/Driver share assignments, Dial-Up/RAS, and Windows drive mapping. No application, file, or data settings are captured by the Default.pbt
  • DNA - Comprises all Desktop, Network, and Application settings.
  • DNMail - Comprises all Desktop, Network, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Outlook Express mail settings.
  • DNOffice - Comprises all Desktop and Network settings, and all Microsoft Office applications settings.
  • DNMSApplication - Comprises all Desktop and Network settings, and all Microsoft applications settings.
  • DNLotus - Comprises all Desktop, Network, and Lotus application settings.

Continuing from the steps above, you should follow the steps below to complete the custom template:

  1. Click Next to begin creating a new template.
  2. Confirm that the Create a new template from Predefined Templates option is selected and that the Default.pbt default template is selected. If you have a custom template that was previously saved use it instead of the Default template.
  3. Click Next. The User Capture Options dialog appears.
  4. Select Capture domain users.
    1. In the Source field type Your Domain\Administrator.
    2. In the Destination field type Your Domain\Administrator.
  5. Click Add. The user is added as shown in the figure below.
  6. Click Next. The PCT Settings dialog appears.
  7. From the Desktop page, complete the following:
    1. Click Clear All.
    2. Mark Display Properties.
  8. From the Network page, select all the setting that you want to migrate for each computer.

Application Settings

The Template Builder tool displays a list of all applications supported by PC Transplant. The list is built using the current applications defined in the A2i files found in the PCT\?? folder (where ?? is the two character code for your language, such as EN for English). It also includes all the applications defined in .A2i files provided by the user in that folder.

The .A2i files are used to describe all the components that are needed to transfer an application's settings and data files. Each .A2i file is specific to a certain application and is used by the PCT Wizard to show the user which application settings can be migrated and how to collect this information.

  1. From the Applications page, expand the Applications that you want to migrate and mark all settings.
  2. Click Next.

Data Files To Migrate

The PCT template can specify the capture and migration files and folders that may exist on the source computer.

  1. From the Files page, click Add New.
  2. In the File name field, enter each file that you want to migrate and click Open. The Template Builder does not require the file to exist on the computer where the template is being built.
  3. From the Folders page, click Add New.
  4. In the Folder field, enter the name of each folder that you want to migrate and mark Include Subfolders.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click Next. The Capture Options dialog appears.
  7. Click Next to accept the default options. The Deploy Options dialog appears.
  8. Click Display Options (in the upper right corner) and configure as follows:
    1. Title: Type My Personality Package.
    2. Description: Type Captures wallpaper and Internet Explorer settings. Use all other default settings.
  9. Click OK.
  10. Mark Run Personality Package in quiet mode and click Run minimized.
  11. Click Finish. The Creating a Personality Build Template dialog appears.
  12. In the Save as field, type the following destination path and name:


  13. OK.
  14. Finish. Your PCT Template, named MyTemplate.pbt, has now been created and saved in your Deployment Share's PCT folder.
  15. Close the PC Transplant editor.

Verify PCT Template

Capture a Computer's Personality - The Capture Personality task allows the use of tokens (such as %COMPNAME%) when selecting the name of the package to be captured. This gives you the ability to use one task to capture the computer personality from many computers, with the result being unique and separate personality packages for each computer.

From the Deployment Console, create a new job in your My Jobs\PCT folder named Capture Personality.

  1. Add a Capture Personality task to your new job and configure it as follows:
    1. Personality template file: Type \\DServer\eXpress\PCT\YourTemplateName.pbt
    2. Store package in folder: Type \\DServer\eXpress\PCT\MyPackages
    3. User account and folder login
    4. User Name: (select Administrator User)
    5. Password and Confirm password: (password)
  2. Click Advanced and select Domain users and Local users. These settings overwrite the equivalent setting created in the template.
  3. Click OK.
  4. Click Finish. Your capture personality job is now created.
  5. Click Yes to confirm the creation of the new folder.
  6. From the Deployment Console, schedule the Capture Personality job to run immediately on the some of your computers.
  7. Look in the MyPackages folder and verify that the personality packages were created. (\\DServer\eXpress\PCT\MyPackages)

Restore personality settings and data files - The Personality Package is a wizard-based self-extracting executable file. You can distribute a Personality Package by floppy disk, e-mail, network share, CD, or Web download. Personality Packages can also be deployed using Deployment SolutionLog on to the target computer using the Domain Name\Administrator account.

Option I: Manually Deploy a PCT Package

  1. Log on to the target computer using the Domain Name\Administrator account.
  2. Using the following steps, browse to the folder containing the Personality Package you just edited.
    1. Click Start > Run.
    2. Type \\DServ\eXpress\PCT\MyPackages in the Open field.
    3. Click OK.
  3. Run the Personality Package manually by double-clicking on that ComputerName.exe package. The
    1. Personality Migration Wizard dialog appears.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Click Finish.
  6. Click Begin to start the migration.
  7. Answer Yes to All for all remaining prompts.
  8. After the package has been deployed, click OK.
  9. Click Finish to restart the computer.
  10. After the computer has restarted, log on as the Domain Name\Administrator user and verify that the migration completed successfully. Look for the following:
    1. Confirm that configuration settings were applied.
    2. Confirm that any files and folders were all created.

Option II: Use Tokens to Deploy a PCT Package

In this part of the exercise you will create a Deployment job to deploy Personality Packages. This job will use an Altiris token to locate the correct Personality Package to deploy. This allows one job to be deployed to many computers.

  1. From the Deployment Console, create a new job in your My Jobs\PCT folder named Deploy PCT.
  2. Add a Distribute Personality task to your Deploy PCT job and configure it as follows:
    1. Name: \\DSServer\eXpress\PCT\MyPackages\%COMPNAME%.exe
    2. Additional command-line switches: Type -qm -r:%COMPNAME%.exe. The -r switch creates an undo package.
  3. Click Finish.
  4. Click Yes to the warning prompt.
  5. Schedule the Deploy PCT job to run immediately on the target computers. Because the token,
  6. %COMPNAME%, was used in the file name the single Deployment job will locate and deploy the appropriate package for each computer.
  7. Verify that the packages were deployed.

Return to: Windows 7 Migration: Introduction

Comments 3 CommentsJump to latest comment

Bhavik_SOM's picture

Is there an option within PCT template to capture all domain users logged into the client but at the same time limit to users who have logged in the last month ? We can acomplish this by selecting domain users but then we have to provide the user names. We are using DS 7.1



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cathossie's picture

Is there a way of migrating windows 7 x64 data using DS6.9sp4

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hbishman's picture


I am trying to create custom templates to capture Personality. I can do this successfully with the Editor and Template tool whic allows me to choose a location anywhere to save the template.

The problem I have is that I cannot browse to the saved template location when "Capturing a Personality." I am unable to even type the path. The only option is "Browse" which only allow to the default location in the NCAP folder.

I read about using the command line to re-direct to the saved template in the new path, but. there is no option to input a switch and path.

I am on NS 7.1 SP2.

Any help is much appreicated. Hope I am missing somethin g very simple.

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