PC Upgrade Commander review: PC Upgrade Commander

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Migrates everything, including entire applications; lets you migrate using removable disks or a shared network drive.

The Bad Support costs after 60 days; doesn't work with USB cables; one test migration trashed the source XP PC.

The Bottom Line PC Upgrade Commander costs the same as Aloha Bob, and when it works, does just as thorough a job. But we like Bob better; it's slightly easier to use and, unlike Commander, didn't give us a single problem.

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The only complete migration utility that can keep up with Aloha Bob, Vcom's PC Upgrade Commander eventually moved our old systems' personalities to our new computers. But we suffered a major scare when one XP PC refused to boot after the migration. That experience, plus a limited support plan, was enough to make us drop Upgrade Commander on our list. Although we like the option of migrating using removable disks or network drives--a feature that Aloha Bob lacks--we'll stick with Bob. The only complete migration utility that can keep up with Aloha Bob, Vcom's PC Upgrade Commander eventually moved our old systems' personalities to our new computers. But we suffered a major scare when one XP PC refused to boot after the migration. That experience, plus a limited support plan, was enough to make us drop Upgrade Commander on our list. Although we like the option of migrating using removable disks or network drives--a feature that Aloha Bob lacks--we'll stick with Bob.

With or without cable
Upgrade Commander comes in two flavors: a 3.7MB download, sans cable, for $40 or the boxed version, with a parallel cable, for $50. Both install easily, though we had trouble getting the cable to work properly with XP. (You must set up a direct cable connection to be able to migrate to or from XP with the parallel cable.)

Like competitors, such as Aloha Bob, Upgrade Commander uses a wizard-style approach that shows you several screens--they vary depending on whether you're sitting at the source or the target PC--then automates the really hard work.

Disk migration
The utility migrates Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, or XP, but with the usual caveat: only to the same or a later edition of Windows. You can migrate from a Me machine to a new XP box, but not in the reverse direction. That's OK, since it's rare that anyone wants to downgrade to an older computer.

Upgrade Commander takes the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to digital migrations. Like Aloha Bob and pc2pc, it moves settings, document files, and the actual applications from one machine to another. As a result, Upgrade Commander suffers from the same problems: there's no way to not migrate something, say an application that you don't want on the new PC, unless you delete it from the old PC before you begin the migration.

Upgrade Commander boasts one edge over the competition, though: its ability to make the migration using removable drive disks, such as Zip and Jaz. (It also transfers data via parallel cable, a LAN configured for the TCP/IP protocol, or any network, no matter what the protocol, with a shared drive accessible by both PCs.) This file-transfer route is awkward--we needed six Zip disks to pack up the contents of a puny laptop drive--but it's one way to migrate when you can't get your machines together. Aloha Bob doesn't have a similar tool.

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Where to Buy

PC Upgrade Commander

Part Number: 23200001

MSRP: $49.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Category utilities
  • Compatibility PC