PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant

CNET Editors' review

Editors' take: One of the biggest frustrations for most people upgrading their systems to Windows 7 is that what Microsoft calls a "custom upgrade" is nothing less than a full system install. Some Windows Vista users won't have to reinstall their programs after upgrading, but many will and all Windows XP users will, too. Here's where LapLink's PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant steps in.

For $30, LapLink will pack up your programs, settings, and data, store them as you upgrade to Windows 7, and then reinstall them using its proprietary VAN file format. The process is simple, says LapLink: install and run the upgrade assistant, upgrade to Windows 7, then reinstall PCmover and restore your programs and settings.

While that's the gist of the process, it's not quite as simple. Reading LapLink's Quick Start PDF guide (PDF download) is a must. PCmover requires 200 MB of hard disk space in addition to the 16 GB that Windows 7 will need, and you'll probably have to reboot your computer. If you don't regularly run your antivirus program, you'll need to do that, and it's a good idea to run your defragger as well. Users will need to turn off their screensavers and power management options should all be set to Never. If the computer hibernates or goes to sleep during the upgrade, it will damage the process.

The guide recommends using the Windows Task Scheduler to make sure that all scheduled tasks and programs have been disabled, and warns that you should disable your security programs. If you're not comfortable performing this kind of maintenance on your computer, PCmover is definitely not for you. LapLink also advises that when you run the program, you should choose to not migrate your security app, your media jukebox, or your desktop search utility.

When you run PCmover, the first screen you'll see will ask you to check for updates. The next one will ask you to identify the computer as either Old, for XP or Vista, or New, for after you've installed Windows 7. The migration type should be Full, and then you'll be asked for the serial number. From here, subsequent screens let you choose which programs, settings, user account info, drives, and files you wish to migrate. There's a reasonable level of customization here, allowing you to choose specific folders, files, and file types to exclude.

The program will then create a "moving journal" followed by a "moving van," each requiring user prompting. The VAN creation process is lengthy, around 45 minutes on my computer, but unloading it takes even longer. If you don't memorize, print, or write down the instructions before upgrading, the first thing you'll need to do after installing Windows 7 is to install a PDF reader. It would've been simpler if LapLink had just HTMLified the PDF.

I used LapLink over the weekend to ease the upgrade process on a Lenovo 3000 N100 with a 500GB hard drive and 3GB of RAM from Windows XP Pro to Windows 7 Pro, and I found the process to be slow with some minor problems. Besides the security and media programs that you need to reinstall, I found that other programs that rely on processes that load at startup will also require fiddling. My backup program's scheduler broke, for example, as did my VPN client and a couple of Firefox extensions.

After installing Windows 7, you'll need to reinstall PCmover, and when you start it again you'll need to identify the computer as New and then point the program to the "moving van" file. This was all fairly simple, and here's where I encountered the biggest problem. The Estimated Time Remaining progress bar fluttered between four and nine minutes, and it did this for nearly three hours. Grossly inaccurate, the program nevertheless transferred most programs and data satisfactorily.

Despite the successful transfer, I'm hesitant to recommend PCmover to newer users or those who aren't familiar with involved program settings and adjustments. For large hard drives, it may be faster to save the $30 and the settings tweaking adventure in exchange for simply reinstalling your old programs and then using Ninite and the Windows Easy Transfer to restore your settings and files.

At the time of writing, LapLink was offering a 33 percent off deal on PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant, bringing the cost down to $20.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    3.6 stars

    out of 7 votes

    • 5 star: 2
    • 4 star: 3
    • 3 star: 0
    • 2 star: 1
    • 1 star: 1
  • Current version:

    3.8 stars

    out of 5 votes

    • 5 star: 2
    • 4 star: 2
    • 3 star: 0
    • 2 star: 0
    • 1 star: 1
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-5 of 5

  • 5.0 stars

    "What a timesaver! And it works!!"

    April 16, 2014  |   By anuvergnu

    Version: PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant 6.0

    Pros

    Removed McAfee as recommended then Windows 7 installed with no apparent problems; just a lot of waiting around. Then I ran PC Mover and, wow, it went so smoothly and surprisingly fast. Programs installed and working and all my data in the right place too. Reinstalled McAfee and was good to go.

    Cons

    Desktop icons shortcut overlay needed fixing with Vista short-cut manager.
    USB3 card needed a Windows 7 driver from Windows Update.

    Seagate Dashboard needed re-installing

    Summary

    Why hasn't Microsoft done a deal with Laplink to bundle this on every system disc? I would think that sales of new operating systems would go through the roof if prospective purchasers knew the pain of installing everything again had gone.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Works great but install on old computer 1st"

    January 31, 2013  |   By jwilsoncimco

    Version: PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant 6.0

    Pros

    Easy to use
    Moved folders and documents

    Cons

    Should advise you to download on old computer first
    doesn'tmove your address books in Outlook etc

    Summary

    Overall if you just don't want to lose documents it's fine. If you want to keep all your settings, Outlook Folders and Contacts you'll have to find a different transfer software.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "works as advertised.. told me what I needed to know."

    May 22, 2012  |   By truckdriverfritz

    Version: PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant 6.0

    Pros

    easy download

    Cons

    none yet..

    Summary

    deep scan of your confuser giving you what will work, what will work with an up-grade, driver, or program.. what won't work, and a few, "we have no idea.." all in all a program that gives you a shopping list, a few jobs to do, and a push in the right direction.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Haven't tried it, but documentation informative anyway."

    May 22, 2012  |   By GoodTimeCharlie

    Version: PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant 6.0

    Pros

    Documentation identified things I needed to learn about, be aware/careful of when upgrading from Vista to Win-7 (whether I use this tool or not).

    Cons

    Not used yet thus zip so far ... so rated it a 4 because it least is seems to be better documented than many free toolsets.

    Summary

    Since I have not tried it, I can't really speak for the product itself but but reading the documentation I at least learned a few things that I should do/not do when upgrading. Note: I've done an XP to Win-7 upgrade (without a toolset) and it was a long process due to having to copy/reinstall lots of software, etc., so I would hope that if you followed the advice in the documentation using this toolset could/would simplify (if not speed up) the process a bunch.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "All I ever got was error messages, never got it to work"

    May 22, 2012  |   By jonpatterson

    Version: PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant 6.0

    Pros

    At least it was free.

    Cons

    Didn't work for me. Maybe others will have better luck.

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PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant