According to LapLink, PCmover can automatically transfer all (or selected) applications, files, settings, and user accounts, including desktop background and Internet favorites, with a few simple clicks, so there is no need to copy files to external media, or do re-installs.
Users may need to re-enter license key numbers, or have applications re-activate themselves online, and some software, like virus/spyware scanners, desktop search, and music-sharing may need to be re-installed. (Don't expect software that won't run under Windows 7 to work, of course.)
Windows Easy Transfer Wizard would let you move the data and some of the settings to an external hard drive before you do the upgrade, and back again, acknowledges Thomas Koll, CEO, LapLink Software, "But there is no other tool that deals with the applications."
LapLink has other editions of PCmover for other scenarios, e.g., if you are partitioning the drive, migrating to a different PC, or from other versions of Windows.
PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant normally has an MSRP of $29.95, with volume discounts, e.g., less than half that in a 25-pack.
Or you may be able to get it for free.
LapLink's PCmover MoveNow Program for LapLink Partners, announced earlier this month, provides companies who do in-place Windows upgrades from XP or Vista through Open Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade Open Licenses through a MoveNow partner -- Ingram Micro or a participating reseller will get a corresponding number of free licenses for LapLink's PCMover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant.
This MoveNow offer currently runs through September 30, 2010.
As InformationWeek SMB blogger Jake Widman notes in his "Move Now" post, "The Windows Open License is an SMB-oriented purchase option that provides five or more licenses with a single ID number for easier administration, a two-year rather than 3-year agreement term, and the option to add more licenses on a pay-as-you-go basis."
The intent of the MoveNow program to help speed adoption of Windows 7 among small-to-mid-sized businesses, according to LapLink. "One of the big inhibitors of going to Windows 7 is the concern about getting applications and settings to the new environment," says Koll. "Businesses may not have the time and timing to do clean installs by hand."
Saving between $10 and $30 per PC may not be significant -- although it could help pay for additional RAM, and all easy savings are good. The real savings are the cost of the time that an in-place upgrade would otherwise take, by employers or IT contractors.
"We believe we can save companies around $300 per deployment in IT or employee time, versus doing a manual install," says Koll.
"We've done three or four in-place upgrades using PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant, and they've all gone remarkably well," reports Brian Lisse, Owner and President of Madison Computer Works, Inc. (www.MadisonComputerWorks.com), a twenty-person, 30-year old company providing computer products and support services for residential, small and medium businesses. "The reinstall, manual copy, and configuring user settings for a machine can take an hour and half to two hours per machine; this takes fifteen to twenty minutes of our time, and then we just let things run."
Using PCMover isn't just about saving time, Lisse notes. "Doing this by hand, it's easy to miss things, like Outlook PSTs that aren't stored in MY DOCUMENTS. And if you don't have your applications available for reinstalling -- don't know where your disks are, etc. -- PCmover is a good choice."
"PCmover is good if you're going to do a few machines, but if you are going to do more, some other deployment product may make sense," comments computer/network consultant David Strom.
Not all businesses will need PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant, Lisse acknowledges. "If you're just using Microsoft Office, it may not matter as much. But once you've got five or more programs to migrate, you start seeing a difference."