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What is this, 1989? Laplink is still a thing and wants to help with Windows 7 migrations

Software survivor celebrates middle age with facelift

File transfer veteran Laplink has taken advantage of the impending demise of Windows 7 to remind those faced with a migration challenge that it still exists.

It is hard to not to feel a twinge of nostalgia at the word "Laplink" as one recalls the serial cables and floppy disks of three decades ago used to migrate data from one PC to another in the pre-connected world.

Or even the breathtaking performance of that parallel cable.

Microsoft does not publish a list of what is compatible with Windows 10...

Of course, Laplink and the world have moved on, and the company this week pulled the covers from a substantial update to its PCmover Enterprise tool. While those brightly coloured cables of 30 years ago are long gone (although the company will sell you something more USB or Ethernet-flavoured if you must), shunting data from PC to PC remains a thing, even though the likes of Microsoft insist that everyone should be in the cloud by now.

With a refreshed interface, the company reckons IT admins can allow end users to perform their own migrations (with some controls applied, naturally) from old and busted Windows 7 to new and shiny Windows 10. The now-included Profile Migrator will also transfer files and settings between user profiles on the same PC as well as shunting on-premises Active Directory profiles to something a little cloudier.

And, of course, PCmover will still migrate data between PCs without users needing to fiddle with USB sticks or drag and drop folders around.

Company CEO Thomas Koll told The Register that the enterprise was the target this time around, with the user interface broken away from the actual file transfer engine "making even more customisation possible for the enterprise".

Adding that "the enterprise is not fully in the cloud", Koll reckoned that the need to migrate data rapidly in "an inexpensive way" was very much a thing as Windows 10 deployments continue.

Of course, things have moved on from the halcyon days of DOS, and transferring some apps can present a challenge. "Microsoft does not publish a list of what is compatible with Windows 10," Koll noted, and there is, of course, the challenge of ensuring all dependencies make it over as well as issues around 32 and 64-bit apps.

We wondered what use a well-run enterprise IT department would have for this tool. After all, surely a standardised Windows 10 image, roaming profiles and data resolutely stored on a server would make Laplink's PCmover redundant?

Not so, according to Koll, who cited case studies where over 100,000 migrations were performed because, well, people do love keeping things stashed locally.

Laplink remains an impressive tool after all these years. However, we still can't help but regret that the days of a PFY traipsing around the office armed with only a multi-headed blue cable and a disk are very much a thing of the past. ®

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