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How To Transfer Programs

From Windows XP to Windows Vista

Windows Easy Transfer Companion

The History of Windows Upgrades

For years my clients would upgrade to a new Windows Computer and want to just "copy" all of their program from their old computer to their new one.

Time and again I would explain that unlike MS-DOS, Windows programs just weren't that easy. Windows program installations make registry entries and copy files to several different subdirectories, not just the one directory you install them in. (This has led to the term "DLL Hell" when one program conflicts with another.)

Installing programs to your new computer not only takes time, but it also takes the original installation media and maybe a keycode. With too many users, those requirements have long been lost.

Enter Windows Easy Transfer

An upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista now has the option of using Windows Easy Transfer which actually does "copy" the program from your old Windows XP service pack 2 computer to your new Windows Vista computer. It requires either an easy transfer USB cable or a network connection between the 2 computers.

Microsoft has also released a program called the Windows Easy Transfer Companion that complements the Windows Easy Transfer process. From Microsoft:

The Windows Easy Transfer Companion (WETC) is a program that you can use to help transfer programs from a computer that is running Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) to a computer that is running Windows Vista. WETC does not replace Windows Easy Transfer. Instead, WETC is an independent program that complements Windows Easy Transfer. You can use WETC to transfer many kinds of programs between two computers that are connected by an Easy Transfer Cable or by a network connection.

Click here to get Windows Easy Transfer Companion from Microsoft.

How Windows Easy Transfer Companion works

With a connection via either cable or network, install and start the Windows Easy Transfer program on each Windows computer. The software will attempt to discover programs qualifying for transfer on the Windows XP computer and display a list of software that falls into 1 of 3 categories:

  1. Programs that you can expect will transfer well and run on Windows Vista
  2. Programs that will transfer but will have limitations, i.e., may not run well on Windows Vista
  3. Programs that will NOT transfer, probably because they will not run on Windows Vista - These programs will not be included in the transfer

Certain types of applications will not transfer at all, such as antivirus and system utilities. But from the list provided, you can select the ones you want to copy.

You can view the results of the transfer in a detailed report. Reboot the Vista PC and log in. If you do discover a problem, a folder installed on the Windows Vista computer includes tools with an "Undo" feature that can remove an application that was transferred.

Bottom line

Is the Windows Easy Transfer Companion a perfect solution? No. But it certainly beats the alternative.

I have clients with so many applications that must be transferred from the old computer to a new one when they upgrade that they actually spend more money on my services than they do on the new hardware!

If you are upgrading from a Windows XP service pack 2 computer to a new Windows Vista computer, it just might pay for you to check out the Windows Easy Transfer Companion from Microsoft.

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