MIG Recovery and Viewer Utility (Vista/7 – USMT4 USMT3)

January 17, 2011

Lately I’ve been toying with MIG (Windows Migration Backup) files and I’ve found no helpful viewer programs for looking inside. Fortunately there is a utility, MigRecover.exe, floating around. Unfortunately I don’t know the original developer of this software to give proper credit to, though it is likely developed by Microsoft. This utility has been quite handy for me, and I was looking to create a Viewer so I could look inside MIG files faster. Eventually I decided to pop in extra commands to allow for extracting the data as well. Please note, this is merely a wrapper for this handy utility! The utility is built into my program so you will not need MigRecover.exe.

MigRecover Interface 0.5

I figured, while currently its incomplete and full of bugs, it still may be better for some people than the command line at the moment. To extract, the only way at the moment is to right click on directory (single file extraction incomplete) and click Extract To…

Will work on this in my spare moments depending if this would be a utility that would actually provide help for the online community. All credit to the original developer!

Mike Morawski’s MigViewer Utility 0.1 (alpha) – (Download 2.6mb – Jan 17 2011 – screenshot)
Mike Morawski’s MigViewer Utility 0.2 (alpha) – (Download 2.6mb – Jan 18 2011 – screenshot)
Mike Morawski’s MigViewer Utility 0.3 – (Download 2.6mb – Apr 7 2011 – screenshot)
Mike Morawski’s MigViewer Utility 0.4 – (Download 5.5mb – Aug 26 2011- screenshot)
Mike Morawski’s MigViewer Utility 0.5 – (Download 5.5mb – Feb 11 2013- screenshot)
Note: This program requires Windows Vista/7 and cannot be adjusted for XP. Testing is minimal, please report any bugs or issues!

Jan 25 2015- 0.5 Source

Development has been discontinued for some time. I am uploading the source for anyone that may find it useful.

MigViewer Latest Source Code – Download

Feb 11 2012- 0.5 Released

  • Applied patch for bug which should help those getting error trying to open file dialog select prompt.
  • Sorting fixed on right side file view. Now alphabetical grouped by files/folders.
  • Selecting individual files and folders on the right file view now allows for extraction as opposed to only being able to extract directories from the left.
  • Folders can be navigated into from the right hand side
  • Highlighted current directory when folder tree loses focus

Aug 26 2011 – 0.4 Released

  • Add more verbose console messages, console messages will not repeat
  • Added MigRecover capability for USMT v3 files
  • Added detection to warn user if file may be USMT3 (though not 100% as there is no concrete way)

Apr 4 2011 – 0.3 Released

  • Added lots of debugging code for future problems
  • Added console window for visible end user tracing of logs and errors
  • Added ability to open encrypted MIG files
  • Allow for all file extensions in open dialog
  • Several bug fixes
  • Deletes temporary files after use
  • Allowed for code to continue on minor errors in some places
  • Disabled interface when waiting for file extraction and opening of MIG

Jan 18 2011 – 0.2 Released

  • Fixed fatal bug upon loading MIG
  • Improved form design
  • Listed folders in right hand side
  • Bugfixes
  • Debugging alerts on failure


  • Extraction file queue/progress
  • Ability to cancel opening or extraction of MIG files
  • Extra Debug Info and Testing
  • Look into any hacks to get this working on XP.
  • Possible bug: Missing files on extraction containing international characters


  • If you are getting a LARGE AMOUNT OF NUMBERS LISTED when trying to open a MIG file you have a VERSION 3 Mig file. There is now functionality to do this via the USMT3 Extractor menu.


I was curious on how data recovery would work starting from scratch. While I have most of the needed knowledge down to complete an extraction tool, it appears that the utility my GUI is based off of appears to work on a similar premise. In any case, below is a download of a rough experiment which was stripped down to just finding file names. May be helpful to someone for some reason so I may as well post it here. This merely reads data however I must say if the data is important back it up first, even if it is corrupted to begin with!

MiG Recovery Experiment

Comments 100

  • OK, it had C: and all the folders under it. Looked very hopeful.

    Then, at the end were Structure with an X before it.
    Then, unknown(1) and Unknown(2) both with Check marks before them.
    When clicked the last three had no folders.

    So, when I tried to see what was in the folders under C:, they all had big Xs before them.

    My PC is the same; it’s a 64Bit AMD dual core processor. XP saving it off and Win 7 trying to reload it.
    All the music files I lost are in the structure under C:, but…

    Would your wrapper work on just one of the MIG files, I wonder. If I renamed each file as a MIG?

  • >My PC is the same; it’s a 64Bit AMD dual core processor

    To clarify, I was talking about the operating system. In the odd chance you went from Windows XP x64 to Windows 7 x32 — may be the case. To see what windows you are using hit WINDOWS KEY (next to ctrl) and PAUSE/BREAK KEY (upper right on keyboard, often right of F12) at the same time. It should say “System Type” listing as 32 or 64 bit with a window that comes up.

    Renaming each file I have doubts about, but it can’t hurt to try.

  • I need to know if its possible to receive the source code for the vb.net applications?

  • Hi James,

    Yes that is possible, why is it needed? Usually I upload the source along with most programs but I didn’t figure anyone would want to change much more on this one.


  • Hi Mike,

    Do you have a beta version developed that will allow me to browse a MIG file and extract a single file? I know its on your TODO list, and would be interested to see where that stands.

    Thank you very much.

  • OK! I see. Both old and new are 32 bit OS. Thank you for the effort.

  • Thanks a lot Mike, you saved my time !!!

  • @MIG Tester

    Pretty much on complete hold on this, sorry. No idea when free time will come by just yet. Still on my to-do list however.

    @Fred: Thanks!

  • Hello Mike,

    great tool :-).

    When i create a .mig file in PE mode and “save” it on a share, i can’t read the content. If i do the same “online” everything is fine …. . There’s no encryption activated. Have you any idea ???
    Thanks a lot.

  • Thanks Mike and the unknown developer

  • This is a tool that all admins should have. This is going to save so much time for my company.

  • hello mike i am a computer technitian trying to recover a customers files via their .mig file, i have come across your forum here and am excited to try out this tool. i downloaded your latest version (4) and extracted to the c drive i open your tool and go to open my customers .mig file and then your program comes up with an error saing oppen file dialog crash system.invalid , and so on. my question is, am i doing something wrong or does this software not fully work at version 4 yet?

    thank you


  • Hi Curt,

    I have little information on the software my program wraps around. I would try using the Migrecover tool (command line based) and seeing if it works there. If it works there then please let me know as my tool is to blame, otherwise there is not much that can be done.

  • Thanks, your software helped me recover a very important file!

  • Geat tool ! At least it worked for me ! You saved me quite some time. Thanks !

  • I had the same problem like curt’s in version 0.4 and 0.3 when trying to File->open it crash with message:
    OpenFileDialog Crash: system.InvalidOperationException: The file “C:\Users\Mike\Desktop\USMT.IMG” is not a valid filename

  • Hello,

    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing this! Found a random mig file on one of my usb drives and couldn’t remember what it was. Saved me a lot of time.

  • Hi,

    I downloaded the program, becuase i forgot my easy transfer password. I am able to see the files, and transfer them into my computer, but every file says “Corrupt”. What should i do?

  • Hi
    I am in the same position as you Andrew… I will dig up some more
    Let me know if anyone finds something.

  • You are a gentleman and a scholar my friend. It has extracted all files (numbered) but then suggested I run the USMT tool..irt is running right now but I have more cinfidence I will get sone where, Thanks and I’ll keep it posted

  • Thank you for a great package. Its helped me so much.

  • it finds my files except from them with greek charcters in the filename. Problem with greek language or coincidence?

  • I’ve never tested for this. It may more than likely be the programming not working right with my program. I will keep this in mind the next time I can get around to an update.

  • I have a .mig file that I made today and being a total bonehead I forgot the password. Do you know of any way to recover the data or crack the password?

  • Awesome tool, will come in handy. Some have noted that if the mig is encrypted, that you require the key/password to recovery the data. Is there any way around that with this tool? I can open and extract an encrypted mig, but all the files are labeled as corrupt.

  • Worked like a charm. Thanks for taking the time to create the gui wrapper!

  • Thank you very much for your software, I really appreciate it.

  • Hi Mike

    For quite many years now I’ve built a GUI for USMT. Starting of when the XP “Transfer files and Settings” program came, complete with a confusing multi-step Gui, “transfer cables”, mig files that could not be opened on the destination PC etc.

    I figured out that if wrapped a GUI, with the correct USMT, much of the confusion and errors could be avoided. Also it would be easier utilizing some of the more advanced domain migration features etc.

    I’ve just recently stumbled over your MIG Viewer (it does work well on USMT5 .MIG files as well. Even compressed ones!)

    What I would like to ask; Would it be OK if I link, from my homepage and App, to your program?

    Kind Regards
    Thomas Ehler

  • Hell Yes. We would love to have your GUI.


  • Hi Tim
    You’re wellcome πŸ˜‰

  • Thanks! Your software was a big help.

  • Thomas, no problems here so long as the program links here so it is this host that distributes the program.


  • Hi Mike


    Hereby done! Right on the frontpage πŸ˜‰


  • I cannot thank you enough for this piece of software. I was working on upgrading a computer and used the WET app to backup a friend of mines files. Well his computer took a crap….I can at least e-mail him the important files

  • How long does it usually take to open a 4.5gb MIG file and what directory does the program use for temp files? I closed it a couple times after waiting 30 minutes, but it hasn’t cleared the space it was using while extracting. Thanks.

  • Awesome concept, Mike. I was in the middle of nowhere before finding this page. You erased all my worries in 2 minutes. Thanks a lot!!

  • You have saved me!!! I could not for anything get the Migrecover to work in the command line promp, it kept saying that it was not a valid executable command but once I had your nice “wrapped” Gui for the program, I was able to recover the most important files I need from an unable to open WET .mig file, Thank you so very much…I will not be using Windows Easy Transfer again!

  • I am trying to open a 320 GB .mig file, but the Viewer stops working almost immediately when I clcik “open” on the file.

    For your info, here are the error details. They don’t mean much to me, but hopefully they can help you!

    Stopped working

    Problem signature:
    Problem Event Name: CLR20r3
    Problem Signature 01: migviewer.exe
    Problem Signature 02:
    Problem Signature 03: 4d348a04
    Problem Signature 04: System
    Problem Signature 05:
    Problem Signature 06: 506c18e6
    Problem Signature 07: 3adb
    Problem Signature 08: 395
    Problem Signature 09: System.ComponentModel.Win32
    OS Version: 6.1.7601.
    Locale ID: 1033

  • I have downloaded the MigViewer 0.5 and I am in the MigRecover Interface. I have opened the encrypted files and on the left are green checks and numbers. To the right under the File name it is blank. How do I get it to list the file names so I can re-install a specific file? Thanks

  • Is there a repair/recovery tool for files that are “X”‘d out in red when using the MIG Interface? When i export any files from the interface they are all corrupt.

  • Dear Admin – great tool here. Thanks so much!
    A question for you – when I ran it on my .mig file, it only extracted 24% and stopped. Then it said results successfully loaded from inner program. After reviewing the file structure, it’s clear that there are things still missing. Does this mean the .mig file is corrupt somehow? Do you have any other suggestions for recovering the rest?

  • Hi, I do not seem to get access to my Windows Easy Transfer file, for nothing shows up. The file is 45 GB, divided into 11 separate MIG files. All I need is the contacts file that is missing from Outlook. Thanks in advance! Ron dW

  • You have created a fantastic program. You should charge for this viewer.
    Please keep up your good work….. Thanks, BrownMike from Mobile

  • This tool worked great!

  • Hi Mike,

    I love the utility you’ve created here but would like to expand upon it if you’ll allow it. Is there a repo somewhere I can fork from? If not, would it be possible to acquire the source?

  • Hi Colin, nothing uploaded elsewhere but I took a bit of time to zip up what I have and put as a download link for you in the article. Hope this helps. You are welcome to expand on it. Feel free to contact me with with any improvements and I can either host the download or link to somewhere for you.

  • Greetings, Can I use this on a Windows 8 machine to extract older .MIG files?

  • Good work man.
    Much appreciated.

  • I want to say thank you for offering up this software. I foolishly used Easy Transfer and your work saved my files. I have a 5-year old laptop running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. The hard drive was failing so I did a final backup. I installed a new hard drive and Windows 10.

    It took about 15 hours total to ingest and spit out my original files, but it worked. This did make my machine work hard. After a couple mid-process fails I put the laptop on its back and put a fan full-speed at the base, which allowed the process to complete.

    So, thanks again. All the best.

  • Mike –
    Your utility worked like a charm. I was swapping out pc for one of our users in our office yesterday and she quit the same day. I figured I didn’t need to restore her profile on the new pc as a result. Turns out a manager wanted all her data today. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to completely restore her profile on the new pc just to get to it. This is where your utility came into play. I was able to view and extract only what the manager needed without having to go through a full blown profile restore! Thanks for this.

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