Transfer Programs from XP or Vista to Windows 7

Category: Windows-7

I'm moving to Windows 7, but I'm worried about transferring all my existing programs to the new system. I would be a major hassle to re-install all my programs… what do you recommend?

LapLink PCMover - Transfer Programs to Windows 7

Migrate Settings & Programs With LapLink PCMover

If you upgrade from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7, you will face the suffering of leaving behind all your carefully customized preferences and settings that affect things like fonts, icon sizes, file type associations, default file list views, etc. You will also have to backup and then copy all your data files over to appropriate folders on the new installation, re-install applications that use the data, and re-configure the applications to find the data again. Doesn't that sound like something you'd like to avoid? Well, you can, or at least most of it.

Windows 7 comes with a migration tool built in -- it's called Windows Easy Transfer. It will move all of your registry settings (preferences, location of data files, etc. - the "state" of your Windows setup just as you like it) and all of your data, even Outlook mail files. But ouch, it won't move any PROGRAMS that you have installed. So for example, you could end up with all your Outlook mail, but not the Outlook program to read it with. You will have to re-install all your software manually. That includes things like Microsoft Office, Firefox, Photoshop, Acrobat, Quicken, your password manager, instant messaging client, and who knows what else.

And that means digging out all the CDs you'll need to install those programs, and figuring out what to do if you the disk has been lost or damaged. And it gets even uglier when you consider that a lot of software is installed from the Web these days. Unless you have been diligent about saving the downloaded installation files, as well as the license keys, you'll have a mess, and possibly an expensive one, on your hands. Even if you have all the install media, you're faced with the daunting task of re-installing all those programs.

LapLink PCMover to the Rescue

Fortunately, there is a better solution, and it doesn't cost much. LapLink PCMover is a migration tool that automatically backs up all your registry settings all of your data files; and most applications; then moves them into Windows 7 with pretty good precision. It's fairly mistake-proof if you just follow the on-screen instructions carefully. It takes a good deal of time but you can go do other things while PCMover does its thing.

You can select which programs, settings, and data files get moved over to the new operating system, or just let PCMover move all it can. If your computer has multiple user accounts, PCMover can move all or some of them as well as each user's settings and unique folder and file structure.

You do need to think through the moving process ahead of time, and perhaps do a bit of housecleaning before you move. A few programs that run under Windows XP will not run under Windows 7 so you should leave those behind. (See my related article on Windows 7 XP Mode for more details.) If the Vista installation has demo versions of software on it, you should uninstall them before moving fully licensed versions from XP to Vista. Otherwise, you may lose your license keys and the ability to run the software in full-version mode.

Some things just won't move. Programs with security features to prevent unauthorized copying may require re-installation and re-entry of license keys. Antivirus software, in particular, stubbornly resists being moved to protect itself from malware that might delete or vandalize it. If you move files protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM) schemes, you will probably have to prove that you are the authorized user again.

LapLink PCMover normally costs $60, but between October 1 and 22, 2009, it's only $15! ($20 after that date) That is a very reasonable price for a utility that eliminates so much pain and suffering, but which you are likely to use only once or a very few times.

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Most recent comments on "Transfer Programs from XP or Vista to Windows 7"

Posted by:

Peter Helm
19 Oct 2009

This article seems fine, but if you have only one computer and one hard disk. Where do you stand then?

Posted by:

Art Timmons
20 Oct 2009

I think you should (have) made it clear which *VERSION* of LapLink you are getting for $15.00. Following the link takes you to LapLink but it is not clear that this is a ONE-TIME-USE program you are downloading, with quite limited features. Nothing at all like LapLink Pro - at least as far as I can tell. LapLink's "scenario chart" is just as confusing; XP to 32bit or 64bit Windows7 is all "Custom Installation." What does THAT mean?

Posted by:

Gar Nelson
22 Oct 2009

A limited version and the price is $19.95 not $15.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The price WAS $15 - until it expired yesterday. Still a good deal.

Posted by:

26 Oct 2009

By Custom installation it means a clean installation be default so completly remformatting the HDD and installing a fresh OS (therefore loosing user programs, settings and personal files). This is the way it is done Microsofts way and is only required if moving from x32 to x64 :3 hope that helps ya Timmons.

Posted by:

29 Nov 2010

A custom install does not require a wipe or format. Windows 7 setup by default will move all existing data to a folder named windows.old. Please do not be misled by these posts

Posted by:

10 Jan 2011

Additionally to PC Mover you can use:
* Windows 7 Migration - transfers about 30 programs, settings and files, about $25
* Windows Easy Transfer - transfers operating system and program settings and files only, but free.
* PickMeApp - transfers about a million programs only, but free.

Posted by:

27 Jan 2012

Can you move programs (Quicken 2002 Deluxe) that do not have a CD from the old XP PC to the new Win 7 PC?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Did you read the article??

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Transfer Programs from XP or Vista to Windows 7 (Posted: 19 Oct 2009)
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