capsule review

Laplink PCmover 3.0 Migration Software

At a Glance
  • Laplink PCmover 3.0

    PCWorld Rating

    Windows user migration software works well--within limits.

Looking to buy a new Vista PC but don't want to leave your carefully honed Windows XP software image behind? A PC migration application such as Laplink's PCmover 3.0 can--usually--help ease your transition.

Like its competitors--the $50 CA Desktop DNA Migrator and the $50 Detto IntelliMover--PCmover seeks out and copies common data files, program settings (e-mail accounts, browser favorites, and such), and the files and Registry information that contribute to the look and feel of your PC. Unlike the competition, however, version 3.0 of PCmover takes the process a step further and copies your applications, too. (The Microsoft Windows Easy Transfer Companion that comes with Windows Vista copies only applications--not settings or data files.)

Transfers can be performed via USB, LAN, or CD/DVD. Laplink includes a USB-to-USB transfer cable with the program--about a $40 item otherwise. After installing the software on your old PC and your new one, you simply attach the cable and you're all set to move data.

Four of my five test migrations worked fine. However, I had trouble trying to migrate applications from a 750GB system to one with only 250GB of drive space. I instructed the utility to copy all of my applications, but because I had to deselect several drive partitions from the copy list to save space, PCmover didn't copy the applications on the deselected partitions. This was a rather unusual scenario, but a more intelligent program would have checked where the apps were located, or--at the very least--alerted me to the problem.

Other glitches: PCmover didn't copy my Firefox settings; transfers using the cable halted when I merely ejected a CD on the destination PC; and the program refused to resume the halted transfer--I had to start the entire process over.

PCmover will migrate your settings and programs nicely in most circumstances; just remember that if your image strays from the norm, you might need to reinstall some apps yourself.

--Jon L. Jacobi

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Windows user migration software works well--within limits.

    Pros

    • Migrates data and applications
    • Includes data transfer cable

    Cons

    • Doesn't handle complex migrations gracefully
    • Unclear instructions
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