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Quick, what’s the top reason people put off PC upgrades? It’s the hassle of moving all those files, applications, and gigabytes of detritus built up on a PC over the years.
That’s a hassle that Laplink says it can solve with PC Mover. According to the product claims, by hooking up two PCs, you can use the application to move all your documents, as well as applications!
Yeah, if you’re as skeptical as we are, you don’t believe it, either. Something that promises to make machine-to-machine migration that easy must be a joke, right? The results, however, put our doubts to rest.
To run PC Mover, you simply install the client on the two machines involved in the move. PC Mover also supports in-place upgrades using a single hard drive by accessing the files stored during the upgrade in the Windows.old file.
For our test, we decided to take a several-years-old Windows XP Pro install from an old Core Duo ThinkPad and move it to an updated Dell Core 2 Duo notebook. We used a crossover cable between the two notebooks’ Gigabit Ethernet ports. Unfortunately, the move using that method took 52 hours. The company sells a USB 2.0 cable for $39, and we suspect that it works far faster. We let the machines churn away and when we returned two days later, we found that the target notebook had locked up. Whose fault? Probably ours. The target notebook had not been activated and Win7 was near the end of its trial period.
We started over again and were pleased to see that PC Mover picked up where it left off. When the move was finished, we found our new, previously clean notebook littered with desktop icons, and the hard drive stuffed to the gills with hundreds of gigabytes of crap—just the way we like it.
With the Professional version, you have the option to deselect applications you don’t want to migrate, but we decided to do it the lazy way and see what happened if we just moved everything—including Lenovo-specific utilities that have no use on our new Dell. Oy.
Documents moved over with full fidelity, as did many apps. Adobe Lightroom 2, for example, included a large photo catalog it had built up. But not every app worked. The most sensitive to failure were apps that worked a bit closer to the metal, such as SlySoft’s AnyDVD, Nero 7, iTunes, and, oddly, Steam. Interestingly, some apps required reactivation, while others did not. The apps that did not work were easily uninstalled since the uninstallers were moved, too.
Overall, PC Mover Pro has a hell of a lot of utility. Would we use it to move our own daily machines? Probably not. With a new machine, we prefer to be more hands-on about what we transfer, to ensure we get everything just right.
But are we going to spend 12 hours performing a manual migration for a friend or relative? Hell, no. That’s where PC Mover’s worth comes in. Why kill your weekend when you can just start PC Mover and do a little trimming after it’s done? Be advised that PC Mover Pro’s $60 key only allows you to migrate one machine. You have to purchase a new $60 key for each additional machine moved. The Home version is cheaper at $40, but does not let you pick and choose which apps to move.
In the end, we’re pleasantly surprised with PC Mover Professional. It’s a bit like hiring a professional moving company to move you to a new house instead of doing it yourself.
Machine-to-machine migration; moves many apps with surprising fidelity.
Large moves can take days, especially over gigabit; key purchase limits you to a single move.