Getting a new PC up and running to your exacting standards can take quite a bit of time and effort, especially when you take into account all of the software you have to reinstall. And let’s not forget your specific preferences for each and every one. That snazzy new machine is going to take a while to get up to speed.
Today we’ll be looking at Laplink’s PCmover Professional software, which touts the ability to move software, files and settings from one machine to another so you can go back to being your usual productive self in a shorter amount of time.
The Migration Conundrum
If your computer is anything like the average user’s, you’ve accumulated several programs you just can’t live without. There’s your office software suite, all manner of games and system utilities to keep things running smoothly. Given enough time, you’re going to want a new machine that can better cope with your increased demands.
That new PC upgrade that you have planned is sure going to make your computing life much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, that involves installing games from your DVD drive, re-downloading Open Office and collecting those nifty programs you accumulated is going to take up a lot of your time, not to mention the fact that you’ll likely miss files while transferring your data from one machine to another.
This is where Laplink’s PCmover Professional comes in handy. The software is capable of simplifying that messy process down to a few user friendly clicks of the “next” button. PCmover Professional doesn’t simply create a full system copy — which would be silly if your new system sports a completely different Microsoft Windows operating system. Instead, it copies over the files and programs you direct it to and can even transfer settings that you wouldn’t normally think it could handle.
Lets Get Together
In order to get started you’re going to have to have a method to connect your PCs or transfer files from one to the other. Laplink offers a High-Speed Transfer Ethernet Cable with boxed copies of their software, which I imagine to be an Ethernet crossover cable, so you can directly connect two machines. They also have a High-Speed USB 2.0 Cable available for purchase on their website should you require such a method. If you’re connected to some sort of local network, or have an adequate portable storage device such as an external Hard Drive or USB stick, you’re set to use their downloadable version and avoid waiting for your package to arrive.
The program is so user-friendly it’s almost astounding. In our testing environment it required a copy of PCmover Professional to be loaded to the “old” computer and the “new” computer. I chose the “Migration” method over a network connection, which requires a few manual steps along the way mainly choosing which files and programs you’ll be moving to your new machine.
PCmover has some intelligent magic running under the hood that rightly flagged some software, namely Microsoft-related .NET packages, as seemingly dangerous to transfer. It may or may not cause harm, but why risk it? At this stage you might want to stick to transferring programs you require and leave behind any software that you’re likely to patch from Windows Update. Once you’re done with your Applications List you’ll be prompted to choose which folders you want to move over to your new machine, which is, of course, left to your discretion.
After all is said and done PCmover will do its work behind the scenes and begin transferring files to your new PC. The process will depend on how much you’re moving from one machine to another so you could be in for a wait. But when the process completes (with a reboot for good measure) you should be left with a new PC that is loaded with the files and applications from your previous machine… all in a few easy steps.
There are some instances where the software can’t work its magic, mostly having to do with software or digital media files that are encased in a Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection schemes. Your files may fail to play or some software may refuse to run. In those cases, you’d likely have to de-authorize your old machine and load/re-download your DRMed files anyway.
The software was proved capable when transferring files and applications from my Windows XP web development system to a newer Microsoft Windows 7 machine. It contained a mix of software and services that are, by themselves, time consuming to install. Nonetheless, it was able to get everything in working order… well mostly everything. There was one issue with my database software, but that’s not a failing on PCmover’s part, but a permissions problem with the database that was corrected after some web sleuthing.
If you’re looking for a way to keep your programs and settings while upgrading to Microsoft Windows 7 on the same machine, PCmover’s built-in Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant can be handy. Microsoft doesn’t support an in place install from XP to Windows 7 so this feature comes in very handy in those situations. You use this feature to create a file and program collection as before and transfer the “moving van” file to an external hard drive or networked computer. Once that’s done you’re free to do a complete format of your old operating system. The next step would be to re-install PCmover, copy your “moving van” file back to your PC and easily merge your files and applications back with the software.
No Time to Spare
I have built a resistance to “quick and easy” marketing claims especially when things involve complex tasks — user data and software transfers certainly qualifies — but Laplink’s PCmover Professional is incredibly simple to wrap your head around, giving you a way to get your new system up to your standards of productivity without having to invest a few days reinstalling and tweaking things to your liking.
Anyone can copy files from one PC to another but moving programs and their assorted services over — and having them run without a hitch — is something else entirely. It’s hard to ignore the benefits of PCmover’s approach when you see your old system mirrored on a completely new operating system with few, if any, issues.
Time is something many of us have in short supply and given this software’s impressive capabilities it’s easy to recommend it to anyone that’s taking the plunge on a new PC or operating system upgrade and it’s one of the big reasons we’re giving it our Editor’s Choice Award.
Software provided by Laplink Software, Inc.