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What are migration rules?

Migration rules are used to dictate what happens to previously installed applications during an OS migration – these rules can include usage criteria, allowing you to choose to only install previously installed applications if they were being used, or perhaps replace a rarely used application with a less costly alternative. They can also dictate what happens on new build devices.


A rule is a distinct entity formed by the combination of source product, target product, target Configuration Manager package/application, usage and management group.

Source product

You can create application migration rules based on a source product's specific version, its colloquial versions or wildcard versions with the special character (*). Although not all products may have a colloquial version, making use of it where it exists, simplifies the rule creation process.

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If we take Microsoft's SQL Sever Management Studio as an example. It may be that you have the these fifteen versions of the product installed where some of these have colloquial versions.

VersionsColloquial version
10.0.1600.22, 10.1.2531.0, 10.2.4000.02008
11.0.2100.60, 11.1.2849.1, 11.1.3000.0, 11.1.9000.5, 11.2.5058.0, 11.3.6020.0, 11.0.2100.0, 11.1.2845.02012

In this instance, we can create rules for :

  • Specific versions such as 13.0.160000.28

  • Colloquial versions such as 2012. Let us suppose you want to create a migration rule for all version 11 (there are eight in our example table) of SQL Server Management Studio. Using the 2012 colloquial version will simplify the process as you only need to create one rule for it (the colloquial version encapsulates all eight versions) instead of eight – one for each of the versions.

  • Wildcard versions such as * , 13.*, 14. , 10., 11.* , 11.1.*  Let us suppose you want to create a migration rule for all variants of version 11.1 (there are three in our example table) SQL Server Management Studio. Using the 11.1.* wildcard convention will simplify the process as you only need to create one rule for it instead of three – one for each of the 11.1 variants. 

Target product

For the target product, you will need to provide details of its attributes like vendor, title, version, edition and it must also be associated with a Configuration Manager entity.

Target Configuration Manager associations

You will need to specify the association of the target product with a Configuration Manager application/package needs to be specified. This package/application will be installed whenever this rule is applysapplied.


In Application Migration, rules can be created for following usage types:

  • Used
  • Rarely Used
  • Unused
  • Unreported
  • Any Usage

Management groups

You can configure different rules for different management groups. For example, you may want to replace an application with another application for a management group and upgrade the same application for different group.


Types of Rules

The types of rules you can configure are:

  • A Replace rule – create this type of rule if you want an application to be replaced with another application
  • An Upgrade rule – create this type of rule if you want an application to be upgraded or downgraded
  • A Retain rule – create this type of rule if you want a specific version of an application to be retained