ConfigMgr 2007, USMT 4.0 and using Hard-Links

One of the coolest new functions of USMT 4.0 is the new hard-link migration store (only for computer-refresh scenarios). These migration stores are stored locally on the computer that is being refreshed and can migrate user accounts, files and settings. This way it will save time and space during a computer-refresh (and you do not need a State Migration Point!). HardLinkTS

When you create a default Task Sequence it will create the steps Request User State Storage and Release User State Storage. These steps are needed to interact with the State Migration Point (SMP) to get available space and to tell that the action completed successfully. So these steps are not needed anymore when you are using hard-links! This is why these steps are grayed out in the picture. Instead we need to define three variables:

  1. OSDStateStorePath: Defines the path to the user state store. This path must be on a local drive. As path I use the value:    %_SMSTSUserStatePath%. This Task Sequence Variable must be set before the step: Capture User Files and Settings.
  2. OSDMigrateAdditionalCaptureOptions: Specifies the extra options needed to perform a hard-link migration capture and must include /nocompress /hardlink. This Task Sequence Variable must be set before the step: Capture User Files and Settings.
  3. OSDMigrateAdditionalRestoreOptions: Specifies the extra options needed to perform a hard-link migration restore and must include /nocompress /hardlink. This Task Sequence Variable must be set before the step: Restore User Files and Settings.

The picture with this post shows a plain and simple example about how a Task Sequence could look with hard-links enabled. In the red rectangles I created my Task Sequence Variables and the still needed steps of Capture User Files and Settings and Restore User Files and Settings. Because I still use these default ConfigMgr 2007 steps it is not possible to run the capture in WinPE.

More information about USMT 4.0:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd560752(WS.10).aspx
More information about USMT 4.0 Hard-Link Migration: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd939980(WS.10).aspx
More information about How to use Hard-Links for User State Migration: http://technet.microsoft.com/ja-jp/library/ee344267.aspx

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4 thoughts on “ConfigMgr 2007, USMT 4.0 and using Hard-Links

  1. Hello,

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I was hoping you could share your thoughts on hard-link recovery. For example, if your task sequence runs through to one step after Apply OS (Where your drive data is wiped) and then something fails, all you are left with is some log files.

    How do we deal with a HL migration failure? Ideally nothing would fail, but there’s always going to be those left-field things. (maybe someone tripped on a cable while the OS was applying) *shrug*

    I think HL’s are a fantastic idea but I am afraid to use them in my default upgrade scenario. Any thoughts you might have would be very welcome 🙂

    -Dan

  2. I have to say that I didn’t test with the different failure scenario’s yet. But I can say that when you are doing a Hard-Link you can’t re-format or re-partion your disk, so you won’t loose any data.

    When the OS is already running, you might try running [b]loadstate [/b]manually, or check the folder _SMSTSTaskSequence. Otherwise there are loads of tools, like filescavenger, to get the data back. Only with a hardware failure you might loose the data…

    Keep in mind that when you, after a failure, re-start the Task Sequence with the step [b]scanstate [/b]enabled it will delete the excisting data of/ in _SMSTSTaskSequence.

  3. Thanks for the reply Peter. I think the problem I was having was once it captured the state, rebooted into winPE and ran the Apply OS task, that task by default performs a drive wipe except for protected directories isn’t that right? So it wipes the drive, then if something fails after that, whether lost connection to server or something, the data has been wiped and the dir containing HL’s is usually deleted after failed TS. At that point drive recovery software seems to be the only option.

    Incidentaly I tried recovering data with GetDataBack and the drive was a mess, I think the hardlinks may have messed with it. Could be wrong though..

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