11 tools for Windows 7 migrations

These software tools make upgrading to Microsoft's new operating system a lot easier

Windows 7 migrations are happening all over the planet, as users and businesses dump XP, Vista and even older versions of Microsoft's operating system. There are many software products to help ease the transition, in particular by moving applications and user settings to new machines. Here are 11 products that help businesses and individual consumers upgrade to Windows 7.

Product name: Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

Manufacturer: Microsoft

Price: Free

Key features: A console with tools and guidance to manage deployment of both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. A new beta feature called P2V Migration automates physical-to-virtual conversions of desktops, allowing movement of a user environment to Windows 7. More info.

Product name: User State Migration Tool

Manufacturer: Microsoft

Price: Free

Key features: This free software for migrating user accounts, operating system and application settings is a "scriptable command-line tool that provides a highly-customizable user-profile migration experience for IT professionals," Microsoft says. The User State Migration Tool is designed for large-scale, automated deployments that don't require machine-by-machine customization. If you're only looking to migrate a few users, check out the Windows Easy Transfer software. More info .

Product name: XenDesktop

Manufacturer: Citrix

Price: $75 to $350 per user

Key features: Citrix's desktop virtualization platform is intended for a lot more than Windows 7 migrations, but can be used to move user settings to new Windows 7 installations on both physical and virtual desktops. The virtualization software allows Windows 7 to run on a broader range of hardware, including older PCs and thin clients, and lets IT create a standard Windows 7 desktop image that can be quickly deployed to employees. More info .

Product name: ThinApp

Manufacturer: VMware

Price: $5,000

Key features: VMware's ThinApp virtualizes legacy applications to ensure compatibility with Windows 7, eliminating the need to recode old software. It also allows a virtualized version of Internet Explorer 6 to run on Windows 7. More info .

Product name: Dell KACE K2000 Deployment Appliance

Manufacturer: Dell

Price: $4,500 for 100 nodes, $39,000 for unlimited nodes

Key features: Dell's enterprise-focused appliance for OS deployment includes Windows user state migration; an inventory assessment to check Windows 7 readiness of machines; asset management for tracking software license compliance; patch management and other features. More info .

Product name: AppSense Environment Manager

Manufacturer: AppSense

Price: $109 per user

Key features: AppSense Environment Manager aids migrations from XP or Vista to Windows 7 by decoupling user data from the desktop and reapplying the user's personalized settings to a new installation of Windows 7. The software allows centralized management and works with desktop and application delivery technology from Citrix, VMware and Microsoft. More info .

Product name: ProfileUnity

Manufacturer: Liquidware Labs

Price: $19 per user

Key features: ProfileUnity migrates user data to Windows 7 as well as to deployments of Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View; it creates a "universal profile" for each user that is compatible with Windows 2000, XP, Vista or Windows 7. More info .

Product name: Parallels Desktop Upgrade to Windows 7

Manufacturer: Parallels

Price: $40 without cable, $50 with cable

Key features: Designed for individual users who buy a new Windows 7 PC or upgrade an existing PC to Windows 7, the software moves all programs, files, user settings and media to the new operating system while keeping files safe with Parallels' online backup program. More info .

Product name: Migrate7

Manufacturer: Tranxition

Price: $20 per PC

Key features: Designed for enterprise deployments, Migrate7 user state management software "automatically extracts and preserves end-user customizations, metadata and files from desktops and moves them to new or upgraded desktops or virtual images," according to Tranxition. The product is updated to support Microsoft Office 2010 and System Center Configuration Manager. More info .

Product name: Viewfinity User Migration

Manufacturer: Viewfinity

Price: $10 to $25 per desktop

Key features: Viewfinity User Migration is wizard-based software that works with Microsoft's User State Migration Tool "and adds out-of-the-box automation for multiple-user migration, all from a centralized status and monitoring console," allowing automatic movement of settings and user data without the need for custom scripting. More info .

Product name: Zinstall XP7

Manufacturer: Zinstall

Price: $89 per computer

Key features: As the name implies, Zinstall XP7 transfers programs, settings and files from Windows XP to Windows 7. The product allows usage of applications that are incompatible with Windows 7 and ensures that that no corrupt system files such as DLLs, registry entries or drivers are installed on the new machine. Zinstall also offers a separate "Enterprise Server" product designed for business deployments of Windows 7. More info .