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Don Watkins

Move your programs to Windows 7

By Don Watkins



Okay, you're hot and heavy to move to Windows 7 but Microsoft, for the most part, recommends a clean install. Yeah, they have this incredibly complicated chart that says you can do an in place upgrade in some cases but reading it will give you a headache and they have a point; a clean install is the way to go regardless of if you're going from XP to Vista or whatever.

But yikes, reinstalling all those applications that you've shoved onto XP over the last 10 years? In my case I'd be lucky to find half the distribution CDs. And the prospect of feeding 7 the CDs I can find isn't all that appealing.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have some magic way to simply migrate what you want to your new Windows 7 install and not get carpel tunnel from feeding your box CDs?

No magic required, just a bit of software in the form of PCMover.

Install PCMover on your Vista or XP box.

Run, select the  "file storage device" option and select the applications you want to move.

Note that PCMover has a Windows 7 upgrade assistant that allows you to do a migration on the same drive. It works fine but it doesn't allow you to reformat your drive before you install Windows 7. Perhaps a small issue, but I'm big on a re-format when I go with a new operating system so I'm doing it my way.

Choose the type of migration you want to perform:

I'm going with a full migration in order to get my files, settings and applications.

Next select a location for your migration items (MoveMe calls it the moving van). Save the files on a drive other than the one you'll be using for Windows 7; either a 2nd physical drive in your computer or an external USB drive.

Give it a file name and go do something. It's going to take a while, it's doing more than what you'd get as part of a backup so don't expect it to be done in a couple of minutes. In my case with a pretty hefty number of programs it took about 45 minutes.

Copy the PCMover distribution file to whatever drive you used for your "Moving Van" file.

You're now finished with the XP part of the process so insert your Windows 7 DVD, reboot and install Windows 7. I'm a clean install type of guy, I reformatted my previous C: drive and installed Windows 7 to the newly formatted drive. XP is history.

With Windows 7 up and running install PCMover from your secondary drive and run it and select the files to migrate.

The drive letter may have changed but probably not but in any event your moving van files are going to be easy to find. PCMover will display a list of the programs to be migrated and you can choose which you want to install. In my case it told me about one that it couldn't migrate; my AV software which was fine, I'm going to use the opportunity of Windows 7 to change software anyway. I also excluded some other programs; for instance I elected to not migrate PowerToys for XP not knowing how well they would get along with 7. You'll know what to do. With that the process is underway.

Again you'll want to go off and doing something interesting. After a bit it's finally finished.

At this point you can view reports or reboot. When you reboot you'll be presented with a special start up program that advises that migrated startup programs have been disabled and you can pick and choose which ones you want to enable at boot time. Again you'll know what to do.

You may have a few programs that want you to reinstall the product key for. In my case the only program that made that request was Office.

Regardless of the method you use this is a sure fire, reasonably quick way to move your programs and files to Windows 7. Obviously if you only have a couple of programs then PCMover isn't for you but if you're a software packrat like I am this is the way to go.

This process will set you back $60. Get it from Laplink here.


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