Make the switch from Windows XP to Windows 7 more easily
With Windows 7, Microsoft decided to exclude Windows XP users from completing a so-called ‘in-place’ upgrade, in which you leave Windows XP installed on the hard disk and move all the programs and your documents to Windows 7, which is installed over the top.
This is the option many people choose when upgrading Windows, because it usually causes the least hassle, but now it’s not possible. Fortunately, Laplink’s PC Mover will do the job for you.
It’s not a Microsoft product, so it does not work in the same way as the Transfer Wizard that can move from Vista to Windows 7. In fact, if you are moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 on the same PC it’s not a one-step process. There is a guide to doing this on the Laplink website.
If you are moving to a new PC, you may also need to check the licences of the programs you are moving (the program warns about this too). You may not legally be allowed to move them.
We were sceptical of Laplink’s claims that the software would work as described, so we were pleasantly surprised when it did. The process failed the first time we tried it, as the program tried to copy data to the portable hard disk we were using for the job. We diagnosed a faulty cable and tried again, this time directing it to copy files to a folder on the existing hard disk and then copy that folder to another computer (this does require having a lot of free hard disk space on the old computer).
You can also move everything by copying files over a home network or a USB cable. It was a little confusing going through the options. We found ourselves backtracking through the step-by-step wizard more than once to figure out what options we had ticked and where the program would be storing certain files. But the process was mainly painless.
Our Desktop and most of the applications – even some of the troublesome ones – appeared on the new Windows 7. Some programs, such as anti-virus, cannot be moved, and these will have to be installed manually. The program is available in two versions: the Pro edition that we looked at costs £42 and includes a USB cable to complete the transfer, while the Home edition without that is £28.
We would still prefer to do a fresh installation and then reinstall applications and copy documents to the new computer ourselves. This is the cleanest method and it’s good to start on a new computer afresh. But if you are upgrading an old Windows XP computer or you are missing installation disks for some programs, Laplink is a useful program.
Bear in mind that there is always a risk when running this sort of program – especially if you are changing operating systems on the same computer – so always have a backup of your files before you begin, and be aware that your experience may not be as smooth as ours.
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Versatile moving software that worked well in our tests Good points Copied both applications and documents; inexpensive Bad points Process can be done manually, which is cheaper
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