By Terry Currier
PC Mover from Laplink allows you to move files quickly and easily from one computer to another. Depending on which version you get they include an easy transfer USB cable in thebox to help you with this. But, what I was trying to do was have it help me upgrade my Windows XP to Windows 7. Laplink does make Laplink PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant at a lower price ($17.99 at Buy.com), but I saw this at Costco and picked this up for $38.99.
I thought I would give it a go on my old test computer which really should not accept Windows 7. It is has a Pentium 4 processor with 1.7MHz speed and only 512Mb of RAM. In fact I updated the Windows XP operating system, and went to see if there were any updates for the BIOS from Intel for my motherboard. There were not, and Intel said there were no plans for updating that motherboard for Windows 7. Of course, I was still going to try .
I also thought I would try another test of the Rebit backup program. I reviewed it last month, and found it to be quite good, but here would be a test where I could use it to restore from the full image. I found it interesting that even though Rebit ONLY works with an external drive, it would not see mine. Windows saw it. Rebit only gave me a popup saying another system has already backed up to it (the external drive.) There was plenty of space on it, and the Rebit license permits me up to six computers to be backed up. However, for some reason Rebit did create a backup onto a separate internal drive.
You can probably guess Windows 7 would not install on the old computer. Attempting to do so just created an error message about the IDE, and would not even try to install. So I did not need that Rebit backup after all.
So I turned to do the upgrade on my main computer. It has Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.40GHz with 2GB of RAM. I’m using the Windows 7 Family Upgrade package, from which you can upgrade three computers. I’ve already upgraded my two Vista computers (hooray.) Again I installed Rebit and did a complete backup. Also I did backup my data to another drive, so I was fully covered before doing the upgrade.
On the PC Mover install disc it also mentioned I could download a trial version of its Laplink DiskImage program. I figured what the heck and really covered myself. I downloaded a 30 day trail version of the program, and was really impressed with the setup. Very easy to use and it installs under programs which Rebit does not. I found the image size to be about one-third the size of Rebit, and took about one-third the time to create. For emergency restore you do need the box version since it has the restore feature on the install disc.
After that was completed I installed the PCMover Essentials program and ran it. I should tell you that the program is licensed for one computer, and it stopped me from using it on another computer. It directed me to their support desk. I got on-line with them in a chat mode and explained what I did. The rep then gave me another license to use and I was good to go. PCMover did warn me that software, or music files with copyright protection may not be able to transfer that license, and hardware drivers would not be moved. It then presented the upgrade assistant screen telling me just which steps to do.
Next PCmover gets ready to copy all the settings and applications to an external media file they call the moving van. You should uninstall any programs you don’t want before the upgrade. However, PCmover does give me the option to choose in advance which if any applications I don’t want to migrate.
Once the moving van/upgrade file has been created, I ran the Windows 7 installation with the custom install which is needed for Windows XP. Windows 7 (64-bit replacing the 32-XP) installed without a hitch. Just like it did with the Vista upgrade it creates a folder named Windows.old. In it contains The Documents and Settings (with the old My Documents folder,) Programs, and Windows folder from my previous operating system.
I made sure everything was correct then installed and ran PCmover. It restored all applications, data, and settings using the moving van from the external media. So, after all that is everything perfect? Aw come on, we know computers are never perfect. Most everything copied over correctly: Microsoft Office, Applian programs, SnagIT, Faststone, Total Recorder, my web editor, and others. Adobe Premiere Elements 7 and Photoshop Elements 7 did not work so I did had to reinstall them. My ADS DVD Express did not work, but it did not work when I tried to install it onto a Vista computer. So I knew it would not work with Windows 7.
I had only two problem. First problem, my optical drives would not work. They showed up in Device Manager, but Windows Explorer could not see them. I had to delete them from the Device Manager and reboot before I could get them to work properly. Second problem, when I would bring up files to work on in Excel, Word, or my Namo web editor I could not save changes to them. The program would bring them up as “read only.” Windows Explorer showed the files not to be read only. It was driving me crazy. To fix it I tried going into the User Access Control and lowered the restrictions. That made no difference. I right clicked on my C drive and then clicked on properties. From there I checked Security. While Administrator has full access checked, I did not, even though I have administrator rights. So I tried to edit that to give me full control. Windows tried to make the changes but failed for security reasons. I looked for an answer on-line, but only found what I already tried. So what I did was to use Windows Explorer and right clicked each of the folders with the files I wanted to work on. I then went through and gave myself full control over that folder, and that worked. From what I read on-line this happens only in the upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7.
An interesting note, normally I had problems with video editing, both CyberLink PowerDirector and Adobe Premiere Elements sometimes would shut down on me. Of course that could be because I had three video editors on the computer, but I don’t think so. Now with Windows 7 they are running great and no shut downs. It could either be Windows 7, or I got rid of something else that was interfering with them.
Anyway everything is working great and it is really nice having Windows 7. Only thing I need now is get some more memory. One the gadgets I installed showed my average RAM usage with just Windows is about 38%. With Word, Windows Explorer, Outlook, and three windows of Internet Explorer it is using 66%. I’m going to get another 6GB of RAM to smooth it out. On my other desktop computer with Windows 7 and 4GB of RAM the usage with just Windows is about 32%. In the future I want to install a bigger hard drive and take the computer off the RAID 0 it came with.
PCMover made the upgrade easy without losing anything, or having to do a bunch of installing.
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