Using FAST Wizard

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The Files and Settings Transfer Wizard (FAST Wizard) is a tool in Windows XP that allows a user to backup profile settings and preferences as well as files and folders and easily transfer them to a new or re-installed Windows machine.

Issues with version updates

The FAST wizard is version-specific. If you backup files and settings on a machine running Windows XP SP2, you must be sure that the machine you transfer the files to is also running Windows XP SP2. Therefore, it is a good practice to update your machine at www.windowsupdate.com before collecting or transferring files and settings.

Furthermore, because Wolftech IT slipstreams updates into Windows installations, the FAST wizard will potentially not work on a re-installed machine because Windows believes it is a new version. Since this cannot be resolved by a Windows update or by any other method, you must use the same version of the FAST wizard both times. You can do so by using the copy of the FAST Wizard that is available on the Windows XP install CD. We have made this version available to download here.

Location of Files and Settings Transfer Wizard

If you are running the FAST Wizard on a University-owned and domained machine, you must download the wizard from here and use it to collect and transfer your files and settings. This is done so that the FAST wizard will be the same version both times that you run it. If you do not do this, you will not be able to transfer your files to the re-installed or new machine!

If you are running the wizard on machines that you personally own, you can download the wizard at the link above, or you should be able to use the wizard that is available in your Windows XP install. However, you should run Windows Update and install all available critical updates and service packs before you use the wizard to collect or restore files and settings.

The wizard is located at Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. The wizard is also available on your Windows XP Install CD in the Support\Tools folder.

Collecting Files and Settings

  1. Double-click FASTWIZ.EXE (or find the Wizard through Start -> All Programs) to start the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. Click NEXT.
  2. Choose "Old Computer" and click NEXT. (If you get a Security Center message, choose to Unblock.)
  3. Now choose where you wish to save the collected files and settings.
    • If you wish to save the files an external drive or USB drive, choose "Floppy Drive or other removable media" and choose the drive you wish to use. If you choose this option, make sure that you have enough free space on the drive, otherwise the wizard will fail.
    • Choose "Other" to save the files to a local hard-drive or partition, an external drive or USB drive, or a network drive. In the blank, input or browse for the path that you wish to save the files to, and again, be sure that you have enough free space to accommodate the files or the wizard will fail.
  4. Once you have set the location for the files, click NEXT. On the next page, choose to transfer "Both files and settings", and check the box "Let me select a custom list of files and settings". Click NEXT.
  5. The next page allows you to customize what will be transferred. First we must remove items that are not necessary or that will not be properly transferred.
    • Remove ALL file-types. These file associations will be re-created as you install programs on your new/re-installed machine, so there is no need to transfer them. They may also cause conflicts with newer or alternate programs.
    • Under "Settings", remove Mouse and Keyboard, Network Printer and drives, and Windows Media Player. These often do not transfer properly.
    • Also under "Settings", remove programs that you do not use or do not intend to re-install, such as Microsoft Messenger and NetMeeting, and Outlook Express. Also, you may want to remove programs that are an older version of what you have on the new/re-installed machine (for example, remove RealPlayer 8 if you have RealPlayer 10 on the new machine).
    • Remove Fonts from "Specific Folders". These often do not transfer properly.
  6. Now you can add additional files/folders that you wish to transfer. Warning, the FAST Wizard has little to no compression for the files and settings it transfers, so assume that the backup will be the same size as the files/folders that you collect. If you can transfer these additional files/folders yourself, do so. This will reduce the size of the backup and the time needed to collect and transfer it.
    • If you use a mail program other than Outlook Express, you will need to add in the folders where your locally-saved mail is stored. Ask your administrator if you do not know the locations of these message stores.
    • Only add in folders that are not already located on your Desktop or in your My Documents (that includes My Pictures and My Music), otherwise you will be duplicating files.
    • DO NOT back up files/folders for installed programs, such as Microsoft Office or other research applications. Instead, ask your administrator to install the programs you need on the new/re-installed machine.
  7. Once you have finished customizing the backup, click NEXT. The wizard will begin collecting your files into a backup store. Once it has finished, click FINISH.
  8. You can now begin the transfer process. If you saved the backup to an external drive or USB drive, connect that drive to the new/re-installed machine. If you saved the backup to your C drive, you will need to transfer it to the new machine, or copy the backup to a removeable media before the re-installation. If you saved the backup to another partition or local harddrive, let your administrator know not to erase that partition/harddrive during the re-installation.