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Laplink PCmover Ultimate review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £25
inc VAT

If you don’t have the time or patience to setup your own applications and transfer your own files, then PCmover is a great utility

We reinstall our operating systems from time-to-time. A fresh install of Windows does wonders for your PC’s performance and clears out the clutter on your hard disk. It concentrates your mind on whether you’re using the best software for the task at hand, or if you need to search for or buy anew.

On the other hand, we accept that such an undertaking fills many people with tedium – or even dread. Confronted with moving to a new PC, they simply want to take all their old programs, settings and files with them, making the new machine as much like the old one as possible – it’s for just such users that Laplink’s PCmover is designed.

The software allows you to migrate files, settings and applications from your old PC to a new one. You can migrate from XP, Vista or Windows 7, and the new PC must have the same or a more recent version of Windows. PCmover has to be installed on both PCs first, and then you can make the migration via a USB lead, a network connection or using a portable hard disk. The version we tested came with a crossover Ethernet cable in the box, with which to connect the two PCs.

You can select if you want to make a full migration, just files and settings or simply files. You get a checklist of applications, so you can pare off ones you don’t require. PCmover recommends you uninstall any software from the new PC that replicates applications you’re trying to migrate – a good example being Microsoft Office trials. You can also pick which folders of documents you want to move. Finally, it will transfer user profiles from your old PC, great if you have multiple users with access to different applications, and again you can pick the ones you want.

We migrated our aging Windows Vista office PC onto a new Windows 7 laptop. It’s a well-used PC, so we had to migrate a huge 57,627 files, plus 229,135 settings and 76GB of data. With the network cable, PCmover estimated this would take six hours, so you’d be best off leaving it overnight.

Starting up the new PC after the migration, PCmover informed us that it had disabled all Startup programmes and provided a list of tick boxes so we could select the one we really needed – a sensible way of not bogging down your new PC with your old PC’s clutter.

All our documents and files were transferred correctly, including browser favourites, emails and shortcuts. You may have trouble playing DRM-restricted media files such as music and video, and even unprotected media files may not play initially, as the audio and video codecs required weren’t transferred – though using a migrated program such as VLC media player, which has its own built-in codecs, worked fine.

A quick test of applications gave pleasing results. Starcraft II ran fine, but one of our Java-based games failed as we needed a graphics driver update on the new PC (not PCmover’s fault but indicative of problems you may come across). Paint Shop Pro worked, as did Acrobat reader. Even Microsoft Office transferred successfully. PCmover doesn’t transfer device drivers, so any external hardware you want to switch over to your new PC will need reinstalling. Security software is not transferred, as this can cause a lot of problems, so you’ll need to reinstall it on your new PC.

Also included in this Ultimate edition are a range of extra tools. Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant helps you upgrade your current PC to Windows 7, with all the options available for the standard migration. Essentially it copies off the data required, makes a fresh install of Windows 7, and then migrates your files onto that. SafeErase is provided, so you can wipe your old hard disk clean of any remaining information. Finally there’s PCsync, which keeps file synchronized between multiple PCs. We’ll be sticking with fresh installs of Windows, installing applications and utilities by hand, and transferring our own files. However, PCmover is a very useful piece of software for those who don’t have the patience for all that. The ability to customise your migrated applications, files and user profiles is a huge boon – so at least your new PC’s hard disk will be a little tidier than your old one.



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