Synching Up Without Sinking

If you’re like me, you’ve been putting off buying a new computer just because you didn’t feel like going through the hassle of transferring important files and programs from one PC to another. Procrastinate no longer! AlohaBob’s PC-Relocator, a new software program from publisher EisenWorld makes it easy to transfer the contents of your entire PC directly to a new one with very little fuss.

The program, which is compatible with Windows 95 and 98, comes in two versions-a downloadable version and a retail box that ships with a parallel cable. The software is exactly the same, so you’re basically paying $20 for a cable. Unless you’re moving a limited amount of data, your better bet anyway is to use a direct network connection. That said, since you’ll have to specify your old PC’s IP address, unless you have some experience with home networking it may be simpler for you to hook the PCs together with the cable before you go to bed and check them in the morning.

AlohaBob’s PC-Relocator 1.2

A wizard helps you designate a target and source. PC-Relocator takes you through the entire re-location process quickly, with little user intervention required. Once you’ve installed the software on both PCs, you’ll be asked to designate one as a source PC and the other as a target PC. Then you’ll be asked how the two machines are connected; I used my home LAN for the transfer. The software scans both PCs and merges the contents of your old PC onto your new one.

One of the things I really liked was the program’s ability to disseminate between versions of software. For example, if you have the latest version of a browser installed on your new PC, it won’t overwrite it with an older version. However, this feature can cut both ways. I have more than one version of several programs installed on my PC for testing purposes. Since the software didn’t automatically transfer them all, I had to do it manually after PC-Relocator completed its work.

Another nice feature is the failsafe option. If you have a problem with your new PC once the relocation is complete, EisenWorld has provided a way to start over. You can undo the entire process using a command line undo, if necessary. I didn’t try this option, but it was nice to know it was there anyway. Plus, during the file transfer you can cancel the process at any time and return the new PC to its pre-relocation status if you decide you don’t want to proceed.

PC-Relocator’s main drawback is its lack of user control. You can’t choose which files to ignore, so everything gets copied. This means that any old hidden files, Internet caches, and even viruses can be transferred from your old PC to your new one. This was the main reason that PC-Relocator was left off the WinList. I had the remnants of countless old programs on my old PC and now, unfortunately, I also have them on my new PC.

That said, using the program took hours off my software installation process and helped me maintain all of my bookmarks, sent e-mails, and Word documents that I use everyday. Plus, it motivated me to buy a new PC, quite a bargain for $49.99.