Wifey needed a new PC, and like all people who have had the same one for 6 years, she wanted everything to transfer perfectly. The new one had to operate just like the old one, only better.
Aloha Bob used to be the gold standard of PC migration tools, but Microsoft bought it and incorporated it into Vista, taking it off the market. Fortunately, our pals at Laplink have enhanced Laplink PCMover to move applications from one computer to another. I owned Laplink sync software many moons ago, when they gave you bright yellow parallel to parallel and bright blue serial to serial cables. I still have the cables, and might have the 3.5″ floppy the software came on. This was back in the days when laptops were bigger than what we call mini-towers are today.
Configuration of PCMover was easy, it takes about 5 minutes after you install the software on each PC, and then you just start the transfer and walk away. It took about 4 hours to move 17GB worth of data and programs, but the old PC has USB 1.1 (low speed) ports. I imagine it’s much faster with USB 2 ports on both ends. The included USB cable is a high-speed USB interface (you can also transfer via network, but even low speed USB is faster than 100MB). I mowed the lawn and moved some mulch during the transfer.
After the transfer, a reboot was recommended, and then it was time to see what worked and what didn’t. The desktop looked exactly like the old PC, and all programs seemed to make the journey, even some weirdos specific to Wifey’s business. I was a little dubious it all went well, but after opening every program and checking it out, it really did work as well as I had hoped.
What did transfer:
- All data files and folder structure. The old PC has D drive, which the new one doesn’t have, so any folder on d:\ was placed in a new folder at c:\drive_d\ on the new PC.
- Quickbooks 2003 program, settings and data file
- Microsoft Office Small Business 2000, including “Recent Files” lists and registration keys
- FTP Surfer and configured login settings
- Internet Explorer favorites, cookies and home page
- Olympus Cameida Master Pro
- TightVNC and settings (it was even registered as a service and automatically started when I rebooted)
- Shutterfly Smart Upload and settings
- Desktop settings, including background photo and icons
What didn’t transfer:
- AVG 7.5 (registered version, and the docs say A/V software won’t be migrated)
- Passwords for Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail accounts
- .NET Framework 2.0 (an error occurred at startup)
- Startup folder entries
- Some Outlook rules needed to be tweaked for some reason (all folders were present, but I had to respecify the “specified folder”)
- a few folder settings (such as showing the full address in title and address bar, and opening folders in new windows)
The old OS was Windows XP Home SP1, and the new OS is Windows XP Professional SP2, and this may account for a few of the settings which needed to be retweaked. By design, the Windows itself does not transfer–only settings, programs and data.
Long story short here, I’d say PCMover was practically perfect. The few small settings I had to change were no big deal, especially when compared to having to reinstall all that software and reconfigure all the settings. PCMover will be an enthusiastic high recommendation to anyone I know migrating to a new PC.
I bought PCMover off the shelf at Staples, but you can download it from Laplink’s website if you don’t need the cable but do need immediate gratification. You can also order Laplink PCMover from Amazon or Laplink’s website.