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PC Migration

PC Migration Needn't Be a Tortured Trek

Alohabob's PC Relocator and PC Backup ease the pain of replacing systems

By Joel B. Rothman
Legal Tech Newsletter
January 24, 2005

PC migration continues to be a huge struggle for law firms. We spend a significant amount of time and money installing software and configuring personal computers to our users' liking only to have to go through the process all over again when systems are replaced.

Considering that the average useful life of a personal computer is relatively short, losing the investment in set up each time a machine is replaced is a major loss. If only there was a way to avoid having to expend that same effort later on when your old computer is replaced.

The files and settings transfer wizard built into Windows XP is one option, but an extremely limited one since it will not transfer programs, and only works on machines running the latest versions of Windows.

Do you know where all of your application CDs are? Any routine setup of a new computer application will have to be installed from scratch from these CDs. Do you have all the service packs, updates and patches for your software applications handy? A full migration to a new computer would require you to install these as well.

What about utilities you downloaded from the Internet? Do you still have the installation files or will you need to go out on the Web and download these again? Of course, when you reinstall these applications you might need your original installation keys. Do you have these handy?

What about the dinosaurs in your office running Windows 98? How much time and effort will it take for you to get all their programs, files and settings up and running when the new Windows XP machine finally arrives?

Good PC migration software provides the ability to transfer all the applications, files and settings from your old computer to your new one regardless of the hardware configurations or operating systems of each. Rather than having to start from scratch when configuring a new computer, PC migration software speeds the process and provides the ability to transfer programs, files and settings from your old machine to your new one so the new computer looks, feels and functions just like that old clunker you were used to.


A migration where only personal files and Internet settings are transferred is an incomplete migration. Since I began using PC Relocator it has completely altered the way PC migration is done at my firm and for the better. PC Relocator allows you to transfer not only files and settings, but entire applications in their complete and updated state to your new computer with the same or a higher version of an installed operating system.

I have used PC Relocator several times to migrate systems from one computer to another with excellent success. PC Relocator starts by scanning your old computer, which it calls the source computer, to determine what may be transferred successfully. It then gives you a report on applications it expects to transfer successfully, ones that are questionable, and ones that cannot be transferred at all.

You then run PC Relocator on the new machine -- called the target computer -- and connect the two together. Connecting the source computer to the target computer can be accomplished in a variety of different ways. The most straightforward is a direct cable connection between the old machine and the new machine. This can be done with the USB transfer cable (included in PC Relocator Ultra Control), the PC-to-PC parallel transfer cable (included in PC Relocator) or an Ethernet crossover patch cable.

Best of all migration can be easily done across a local area network if both the old and new machines are hooked up to the same LAN, either wired or wirelessly. When you start PC Relocator it will scan your network to find other machines also running PC Relocator and identifies them by IP address. This allows you to perform the entire migration without ever leaving your desk. It also allows you to perform successive migrations to a number of different machines on your network.

I have yet to encounter a critical application that PC Relocator could not transfer. Popular applications like Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat and Corel WordPerfect are easily transferred from one machine to another with all users settings and files intact and in their most up to date state.

PC Relocator will work regardless of the hardware configuration of the new machine or the version of the windows operating system running on your new computer, however application migration must occur between the same or higher version of operating system. PC Relocator does this using patented technology that not only transfers files and settings from the old computer to the new, but also merges registry settings so that the program will operate flawlessly despite the difference in configuration between the two machines.

I have used PC Relocator to upgrade about half a dozen computers in my office and at home in the last 6 months. The old machines ran a variety of different flavors of Windows including Windows 98 SE, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. The new computers ran either Windows 2000 or Windows XP. In each case PC Relocator was able to distinguish between the differences in the two operating systems and transfer files, settings and applications without incident.

After your migration is complete you should find that most applications will initialize properly in their new environment. Some applications however, like Microsoft Office for instance, will require you to either insert the CD Rom containing program files when you first start the application after migration, or register the application on line. This is most likely the result of steps Microsoft has taken to prevent licensing violations since one could, theoretically, transfer applications to multiple computers for which the user does not possess a license.

I do not blame Microsoft for taking steps to protect its licensing rights. Moreover, since simply providing a CD Rom of Office after migration is incidentally easier and less time consuming that reinstalling and reconfiguring Office, I am happy to do it. This is a small price to pay for eliminating the huge headache of performing a migration manually from scratch.


PC Relocator also provides you the option of creating a migration file saved to a hard disk for use in performing one or more migrations at a later date on a computer not connected to the source machine.

This feature is handy if you have a stock desktop configuration for a number of PCs in your office and you want to transfer application files and settings to a variety of different computers with different operating systems or different hardware.

This particular piece of technology has been put to good use in Eisenworld's new product PC Backup. Like PC Relocator, PC Backup guides the user through an easy to use interface that lets you choose by category the types of files and programs to backup. For example, if you want to make a backup of just your word processing files, you can simply make this choice from the PC Backup menu without having to choose and copy each file individually. The program will find all such files and back them up to a network drive, an external hard drive, or even burn them onto CD-Rom for you.

Eisenworld offers several versions of PC Relocator, including an enterprise version that allows you to perform multiple migrations across an entire network of computers firm wide. A full working trial version of PC Relocator is available, so you can try it out before you buy it to make sure that the next migration will be easier than your last.

Joel B. Rothman is a member of Legal Tech's Board of Editors and a technology and intellectual property lawyer at Rutherford Mulhall, P.A. in Boca Raton, Fla.

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