Pack up your old PC and move to a new one
By Stephen Schleicher
The biggest hassle when buying a new PC is reinstalling all of your old software, reregistering, entering serial numbers, and hoping you got everything you needed. With Laplinks PCmover, having this done automatically for you is as simple as 1, 2, 3.
The last time I purchased a new laptop, it took me the better part of three days to reinstall and reset the new system to my liking. Even with the Windows XP Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, I would still have had to manually install my other applications like Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere and so on. All of the plug-ins needed reactivation, and I had to be extra careful when moving over my Outlook Express databases; something the Windows XP wizard doesnt do well.
I wish at the time I had tried out Laplinks PCmover software which moves everything from your old system to your new one. It is not quite like imaging your old drive and overwriting your new system. Instead, PCmover moves the files and settings, yet preserves any existing software and settings on the new computer. It does this by examining the old software and the new system and only moves items from the old PC that doesnt exist on the new one. There are even settings you can turn on and off to prevent certain data from migrating (more on this in a moment).
You begin by installing PCmover on both the new and old systems. The software examines the two systems, then packs up the old system and migrates the files to your new computer. Seems pretty simple, and in fact it is. 95% of the entire process is automated and dummy proof. The migration can be done with the included USB 1.1 cable, over a wired or wireless network.
How well does it work? Just fine from what I observed on my two test systems. On the old computer, I told which hard drives I wanted to pack up and move, and indicated what destination drive on the new computer should be used. Having a choice of what drives you want moved is nice. In my case, the D drive was full of images, music, and video files I really didnt have a need for on the new computer, so being able to disregard this drive saved a lot of time during the migration.
Be prepared for a shocker when the system is packed up. The C drive alone took 42GB of space for the transfer. Using my wireless network, it took just over two hours for the files to transfer to the new system to be unpacked, ready for use.
This is where I have my first problem with PCmover. There are many applications that I simply did not need or want to transfer to my new computer. For example, I had NewTeks LightWave 8 on my old system, but had no need for it on my new computer, because it already had LightWave v9 installed. PCmover would be much more valuable if I could go through a list of files (or folders) and applications that will be transferred and turn them on and off. Im sure I could have kept the migration down to a few key applications and files without moving the entire system.
Most of the time our new systems have larger hard drives than the old one, so this shouldnt be a problem, but sometimes the size of the migrated file could be an issue. I have a MacBook Pro with Windows XP installed via Bootcamp, and I was really looking forward to moving several applications to this system. Unfortunately, when I formatted my Bootcamp partition, I only allocated 25GB of drive space. Because PCmover wanted to move everything from the old drive to the new one, I didnt have enough space for it to work. Too bad for me?
Even though Laplink claims PCmover will not overwrite files that are different, I did find one instance where some files were lost. Because I had e-mail on both systems, with the new computer having the most recent email, I ended up losing about 10 emails during the migration. Now, you can turn off the setting in PCmover that migrates your email, but unless you know ahead of time where that control is, you could find an important job offer lost for good.
This brings me to who can most benefit from PCmover. If you have already purchased and installed some applications, and have been using your new PC for a while, you are going to find PCmover much less useful. I recommend that you buy PCmover when you purchase your new computer and use it right away. The longer you wait the more problems I believe you will encounter.
Had the application been more feature rich in allowing users to determine what needs to be moved and what doesnt, I would have given PCmover a higher recommendation. Because of the huge time savings that can be had for owners of a new system, I give Laplink PCmover a Good Buy Recommendation.
PCmover is available for $49.95 and you can find out more at www.laplink.com.
- Windows 95/98/NT 4.0/Me/2000/Media Center/XP(Home & Professional)
- Intel or compatible 486DX or higher processor
- 16 MB RAM
- 20 MB of hard disk space