Migrating to a new PC

Due to hardware issues with my current laptop PC, I’ll soon be buying a new one. It will be a bit faster and have a larger hard drive, but will run the same OS (XP Pro). I’d like to quickly get it configured and running like the old one, with all the same software installed.

I’m depressed at the idea that the only obvious way to do this is to reinstall all software applications. I have the discs, but this is likely to take a long time.

Is there any practical shortcut here? Any drive imaging software that actually gets applications installed and running without hassle?

(And why am I longing for the day of DOS, when this was amazingly easy to do?)

In my limited knowledge this can be done with something like Norton Ghost, which does indeed take an image of your drive.

Though I expect there to be problems if ghosting an image from one machine onto another machine with different hardware.

Personally I find it acceptable to just re-install everything.

I did it recently from my desktop to a new laptop with something called Laplink PCmover which you can find

It’s not exactly cheap, but well worth it unless you want to spend several days reinstalling software and tweaking the new one.

It comes with the software and a cable to connect the two computers. It made my new computer (both running XP, one Home and the other Pro) look exactly as I had tweaked the old one, and transferred over, I’d guess, about 90 pecent of the programs.

A few older ones did not work, so had to uninstall and reinstall them, but all in all, it took me just a few hours to accomplish what I’ve spent days doing in the past.

BTW, if you want to sync the two computers so they have the same files as you work on them, you can get the free MS SyncToy, which really works quite well.

You’d think that stupid MS, after all these years, would provide a swift and easy way to do that, but oh, noooo.

Have fun.

Just copying the OS probably won’t work - we’ve just had a thread on the topic. Laplinks PCMover is a better option - it avoids the risks of hardware problems, but has the risk that settings/files may not be copied with an app, and something subtle may be broken - always a risk with a snapshot style install. Your Windows Genuine Advantage registration with Microsoft could fail, too, preventing non-critical OS updates, and maybe causing restricted functionality on the OS and any MS apps you have installed.

Someone mentioned an Acronis product that does hardware stripping - a bit pricey, but maybe worth it. There are quite a few tools now for Physical to Virtual migration (and back), so the hardware stripping technology is actually improving. But some apps use registration info based on the hardware and will fail after migration, as per the WGA issue.

I prefer reinstalling, myself. All the latest apps and a nice clean setup. Takes me about an evening.


I’d go for the complete reinstall. Sure, it’s a pain in the butt at times, but it’s also like moving into a new home, and being able to sort out exactly where the new furniture goes.