MOVE IT OR LOSE IT

PCmover

The other day Joy had to help a featured speaker connect a computer to a projector at her woman’s club. The computer was missing Windows 7 menu options like: “connect to a projector.” The speaker said she couldn’t understand this because her computer was practically brand new. So how come it still had Windows XP on it? The likely answer: Windows 7 was probably overwritten when she did a “backup and restore.”

Overwriting Windows 7 can happen when you make a clone of your old computer, upgrade to Windows 7, and then restore the old system. The way around it is to use PCmover Professional, $60 from Laplink.com. It moves programs and files over to a new machine and leaves the new operating system in place. It’s handy for people who have lost the installation disks or the serial numbers for programs they want transferred to a new computer.

Out of 18 programs we tried to move, 12 transferred and six didn’t. There was no pattern to the hits and misses. Camtasia Studio, for instance, a $299 program, transferred easily. That alone was worth the price of PCmover. Our PrintMaster greeting card program, however, which you can get for $2 at Amazon, showed nothing but the title screen and wouldn’t open. But when we used the Window’s “task manager” and clicked “end program,” the rest of it was all there behind the title screen. Apparently, the title was a program in its own right. Expensive programs like Adobe Photoshop didn’t transfer. SmartDraw, which costs $200, also did not transfer.

You can save $20 by buying the less powerful “PCMover, Image Assistant.” The only drawback is that you have to make a clone of your old machine’s disk drive first, using the included DiskImage or Windows own imaging routine. For us the cloning process took three hours, so it may be worth getting the professional version to save time and trouble. If you’re moving programs from PC to Mac, Laplink has a $40 product called “Switch and Sync.”

In just a few years, these products may become curiosities for most users because of the growing use of smart phones, tablets and other devices that connect to the Internet. People will “Tap the app,” as they say. The programs will reside in the so-called “Cloud” a huge collection of storage drives you access from the Internet. Time-consuming PC transfers will be a distant memory.

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