Upgrading to Windows 7 can be a lengthy and tedious process, especially if you can't follow Microsoft's rather strict upgrade path.
Do you have Windows XP, for instance? Then you can't directly upgrade to Windows 7: you'll have to perform a fresh installation, then reinstall and reconfigure all your applications.
And it's the same story if you want to move between editions (Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional, say), or migrate from Vista 32-bit to a Windows 7 64-bit edition. You'll need a fresh install, then hours, days or weeks to get your system back to the way it was.
Fortunately there is an alternative, in Laplink's PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant. Run the program before your upgrade and it'll scan your PC for software, files and settings that it can migrate. These are stored in a central archive. And then, after you've installed Windows 7, all you need to do is reinstall PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant, it'll find the archive, unpack everything, reinstall all your applications and restore your settings.
That's the general idea, at least - the reality is a little more complicated. You must spend quite some time preparing your PC before you can run PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant, for instance, closing down background programs, disabling scheduled tasks and anything else that might affect its progress.
And even then, not everything will be transferred. Laplink themselves point out a lengthy list of potential migration problems. Some programs may not be compatible with Windows 7; copy-protected software may need reinstallation; hardware drivers won't be moved; music files may require their licences to be transferred; system tools (antivirus, desktop search) should be reinstalled manually.
PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant isn't for total PC novices, then, and you'll probably have to spend some time tuning your system when it's finished. But in our tests it will successfully transfer the vast majority of your programs, files and settings, and that will save you more than enough time and hassle to justify the reasonable purchase price.
Note there's no trial download available for Laplink PCmover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant - the download here can only be used after purchase. This is included for information purposes only.