Windows optimize

Review: Use Laplink PCmover to move from XP to Windows 7

Laplink's PCmover allows you to transfer settings, files, and applications from one machine to another, including moving from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Laplink's PCmover product allows you to transfer settings, files, and applications from one machine to another, including moving up in versions.

Note: This review was performed based on a review copy of the software provided by the vendor.

Specifications

  • Company: Laplink Software, Inc.
  • Product: PCmover Professional Edition
  • Requirements: 200MB disk space, Windows 2000 and up
  • Price: $59.95 (Professional Edition), $39.95 (Home Edition)
  • Additional Information: Product Web site

Who's it for?

PCmover is for anyone looking for an easier way to move their old PC configurations and user settings to a new PC. There is also an Enterprise Edition for IT departments that need features like move templates and centralized control.

What problems does it solve?

Moving from one PC to another is a huge amount of hassle. It takes anywhere from a few hours to a day or two, and there is a good possibility of losing data along the way, especially for apps that bury files in nonobvious locations.

Standout features

  • Price: The price is great, considering the time you would spend doing this work yourself.
  • Documentation: The "Quick Start" guide is great and makes it easy for even a less-savvy user to do a move.
  • Options: There are a good number of different ways to perform the move (I tested over the network), including USB drives and a special transfer cable. You can specify a lot of different customizations for the transfer as well.
  • Ease of use: While it is not the simplest application I have ever used, it is very easy to use considering what it does.

What's wrong?

Errors hold the transfer up: In my testing, some minor errors needed to be acknowledged before the move could proceed, even though I had elected to be notified when it was done and thought it was in a "walk away and take a nap" mode.

Competitive Products

Bottom line for business

Laplink has been in the business of connecting PCs together for transfers ever since I can remember. Their newest version of their PCmover product builds on this experience to create a great package for businesses and home users alike.

Doing a PC move is fraught with danger. I know from personal experience what can happen when you miss a critical file or setting during a move, especially an in-place upgrade. And that is really easy, when applications like Outlook and Outlook Express hide their data in unusual places! After the move has been completed, PCmover runs a startup app manager to let you choose what transferred apps from the old PC should be allowed to start at boot and login. That's a welcome feature indeed!

PCmover covers a lot of different scenarios. As long as the new computer does not have an older OS than the original one and you have a way of getting the data over (USB, disks, cable, network, and in-place upgrades), the move can be done.

I was impressed with some of its configuration choices, like being able to omit certain users or map them to new profiles. I loved the option to send me an email when the move was complete, giving busy IT pros the ability to start a move and do something else, but not waste any time with it sitting there finished.

For larger IT organizations, Laplink offers an Enterprise Edition, which adds centralized management and the creation of templates to allow you to standardize the migrations. Even if you use PCmover only once, the $59.95 list price for the Professional Edition is a bargain compared to the value of the time it saves.

User rating

Have you been putting off the move from XP to Windows 7 because of the anticipated hassle? Do you think Laplink's PCmover can help you with migration? Do you prefer a different way?

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

21 comments
klake
klake

Aloha Bob was a far superior product, but then MicroSquish bought Eisenworld, shut them down, and incorporated a VERY crippled version of Aloha Bob (as their "move Files and Settings" utility) into Windows Vista; Gag! LapLink's product is not bad for more rudimentary moves, but often misses or botches things and the main reason I use it is because at this point in time, there really isn't a better alternative other than old fashioned "brute force" which is VERY time consuming!

davidibaldwin
davidibaldwin

I used PC Mover Pro to move a win2000 to an XP and another XP to a newer XP machine. While many things did transfer, nothing from Microsoft did. The biggest problem has the permission issues that were created. Phantom users from the old computers were transferred to the new ones. That crippled a lot of things and I've spent a lot of time straightening out the issues and removing phantom users. And the .NET versions didn't work at first. One .NET update can't be installed because it can't find the install directory which, if it still exists, is on the old machine. I would not use it again. It has been uninstalled from my machines.

Solenoid
Solenoid

No really, I abhor this software for my purposes. I have never had a piece of software underperform and waste my time as much as this did. Even then, the Laplink tech support of trying to resolve issues that I had was entirely unhelpful. Given my negative experience, I absolutely would never attempt this action through PC Mover or any competitor even - in my professional environment. I would seriously think twice about endorsing a friend or family member to use it either. I have sworn to decry their claims and warn others when I see articles or reviews such as this. Granted, my professional environment includes AutoCAD. Yours most likely does not. I believe that this was the major detriment to PC Mover's success, if not the sole failure. AutoCAD has lots of integration, settings, and registry entries to enforce their licensing. Reasonably so, as it is a costly chunk of software, and used to be very commonly pirated. ACAD requires activation after installation, normally requiring a key code (wrong term) returned from AutoDesk, the maker of ACAD. When I tried to use PC Mover, the only thing (related to ACAD) that worked in the move was the shortcut on the desktop and start menu. The application was entirely DOA. The process, although unattended, did not save in overall time. I wrote an image (Moving Van was their term, iirc) from the source PC, made it available to the new PC, and 'unpacked' it to the target PC. Both the gathering and unpacking of the image took over two and a half hours each, plus some time in between. In that much (gross) time, I could have just performed a clean install. Nevermind that I ended up performing a clean install after the failure. A lack of any resolution from their tech support with my issue brings me to a no-confidence assessment of Laplink. Simply put, I paid for the Professional Edition, and it failed to perform on its claims. It really ought to come with an exceptions list of unmovable applications, although I honestly don't expect that to appear in their packaging, documentation, help, or other marketing materials. Their only defense was in the fine print of the EULA; small consolation there. They have earned themselves one highly dissatisfied customer. Specifics: * I was moving a user from an XP Media Center PC to an XP Professional PC, in 2009. It didn't even involve Vista or Win7. As described above, AutoCAD Mechanical 2007 did not transfer. * User docs, identity, display, and normal apps like browsers, utilities and security did transfer correctly. I suppose that if that's all that you have involved, this may be an appropriate solution for you. * I ended up starting over with a clean install of XP, upgrades, and all applications. I keep my app installers and keys gathered for this purpose anyway. Takeaway: * Use this if you don't know how to gather settings and transfer them yourself. * Use this if you are moving a simple user to a new PC. * Do not expect it to accurately transfer any software package generally valued over $700. I would add Rockwell Automation software (RSLinx, FactoryTalk, etc.) to the packages to avoid with, from my experience. * BE PREPARED TO FAIL whenever you are taking a shortcut instead of 'doing things the hard way'. Sometimes, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. That last point ought to apply more widely as common sense, especially among IT pros.

HeavyChevy71
HeavyChevy71

I've used this program to moves from XP to various new Windows and it worked well and saved a lot of time. However, there always seemed to be a few applications that weren't moved correctly. It seems that when you move or transfer MS Office or Quicken/QuickBooks to a new machine, You will have to reinstall them on the new machine. The data is OK but the app needs product codes and reactivation to work correctly.

Regulus
Regulus

A lot depends on your priorities and what you want to accomplish. I used PC Mover to transfer from my old XP unit to my new Vista unit. It probably wasn't a speed-demon, however, it did work absolutely as advertised. As I recall, all files and programs were transferred intact, with installed parameters/settings etc. This obviously precluded many hours of searching for and installing all of my programs. Later, I upgraded this unit to Win 7. This time I opted to create an absolutely clean environment. I installed a new HD and installed the OS. After that I connected the old drive as a 2nd drive. All programs were (re)installed fresh from original files/disks. Files were then transferred through simple copy. Yes, this was a long and arduous process, but I absolutely accomplished my goal of a fresh disk that had also never been touched by unwanted crapware. As I said in the beginning, a lot depends on the priorities of what you want to accomplish. As the man says, 'Your mileage may vary'.

Ray Baker
Ray Baker

I used a Belkin cable and transfered a Win Vista and a Win XP to Win 7 machines. Went easy and smooth. One transfer was over the network (slow), the other using Belkin cable (fast). I was impressed by the report which told me what software I had on the old machine that the new machine was missing. Made it easy to figure out what to download. So I don't know why anyone would pay $$ for the service of setting up a new machine, since they only do the easy stuff (xfer your files).

tech_ed
tech_ed

If you are moving from XP to Win 7 and both OS's are x86 or x64, then yes, this works great...but if you are going from an x86 XP to an x64 Windows 7, then all you're going to be able to move is your settings and configurations...none of your applications will transfer.

intlnet
intlnet

I purchased PC-Mover recently and was appalled by how long it was taking for a simple transfer that Ghost only takes about 10-15 min. to do!

Jim Johnson
Jim Johnson

The notebook came with XP and a 'free upgrade to Vista' (remember that mess?). I used Laplink to do a clean install of Win7 64 from Vista 32. The transistion seemed to go well, but after running Win7 for a few months decided to uninstall some software installed under XP or Vista and ran into some problems. The uninstallation logs still pointed to "Program Files" when the apps had been moved to "Program Files x86" with the change to a 64bit OS. Hopefully Laplink has fixed some of those issues, but I would be hesitant to use this software for another 32bit to 64bit upgrade.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Have you been putting off the move from XP to Windows 7 because of the anticipated hassle? Do you think Laplink's PCMover can help you with migration? Do you prefer a different way?

LaplinkAT
LaplinkAT

Which version of PCmover did you use at the time? In recent years we have made significant improvements to its functionality and Version 6 (currently available) is the best yet. I am sorry that you had a negative experience in the past and hope that you were able to get in touch with our customer service team for help. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions about Laplink or PCmover: andy.tolton@laplink.com

LaplinkAT
LaplinkAT

It looks like Fab AutoBackup is more of an imaging solution rather than migration. While imaging and restoration can work in certain scenarios to move to a new PC, it often doesn't work when upgrading to a new OS because the image of the old PC will overwrite the new OS. However, PCmover won't overwrite operating systems as it transfers data into the new PC rather than writing over existing data. Thanks for your feedback!

LaplinkAT
LaplinkAT

Thanks for your feedback, customer comments help us determine what needs to be improved in our products so we welcome all the feedback we can get. Sorry to hear that you had a negative experience with PCmover. Looks like you used the software a couple of years ago. Since then we have made significant improvements to its functionality. Unfortunately, there are some applications that aren't able to transfer due to the way they are written and how the license is attached to the hardware. It would be great to be able to transfer every application available, but it regrettably isn't within our control. I also apologize that you had a difficult time with tech support, did you happen to get in touch with our customer service department to discuss these same issues? We stand by our 100% satisfaction guarantee and I hope you took advantage of that. If you have any questions about Laplink or PCmover please feel free to email me directly at: andy.tolton@laplink.com

LaplinkAT
LaplinkAT

You are correct, some apps won't move due to the way they are written and how the license is attached to the hardware. When going through a migration or upgrade process it is very important to do a little research. Thanks for the thoughts.

LaplinkAT
LaplinkAT

Thanks for sharing your positive experience. I'm glad that the software worked well for you in your scenario!

Justin James
Justin James

In my tests, x32 XP moved to x64 Win7 fine. J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

That's because they do entirely different things. Ghost does a block-by-block data copy. PCmover not only does file-by-file, but it does a ton of analysis, rearranges things, etc. J.Ja

Justin James
Justin James

As long as the new PC is the same version of Windows or newer than the old computer's version, it will work. J.Ja

intlnet
intlnet

Thanks for your prompt reply Mr. James. Do you know if Ghost has a version for Win 7? My old Ghost won't work for Win 7! Also, I'm an Independent Technical Writer. If you can guide me to any firms that may need my services, I will be fully appreciative! Cordially, John Matos