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Installing IntelliMover is about as tough as falling out of bed. A wizard walks you through every step on both the old and new PCs, warns you more than once not to plug in the bundled cable until you're told, and, except for a few places where you're asked for your input, handles the job without bothering you. If you're looking for a migration tool for the untechnically minded, this is it.
IntelliMover comes in two editions: one bundles a parallel cable and is suitable for Windows 95; the other includes a USB cable, which dramatically speeds up transfers but can be used only with Windows 98 and later. The latter costs $10 more ($60) than the former, but the speed boost, typically three to four times faster, is worth it.
IntelliMover migrates Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, or XP, but, as with most such utilities, only to the same or a later version of the OS. (For most users, that's the only migration that makes sense, since they're moving files and settings from an old PC to new one.)
Unlike massive digital U-Haulers such as Aloha Bob, IntelliMover doesn't move actual applications or the entire contents of a hard drive; instead, it transfers the settings of 47 applications, including Act, AOL, Microsoft Word, and WordPerfect Office, plus selected document files and general Windows settings that determine things such as desktop wallpaper, shortcuts, the position of the taskbar, and mouse configuration.
Moving all this is a breeze--we finished our first test migration between Windows Me and XP machines in less than 25 minutes--and in our real-world tests, it was foolproof. After installing IntelliMover on the old PC (the one you're moving stuff from), you simply walk through the wizard. IntelliMover sniffs through the hard drive and locates all settings and file formats that can be moved, lets you review and deselect any you don't want, then builds the file package that it will transfer. At the new PC (the one you're moving files to), you install IntelliMover and click through a few screens before you're told to connect the cable. It's all hands off--you don't need to install drivers to enable the cable transfer--and IntelliMover does the rest. You'll need to reboot the new PC when the transfer's through, and that's it.
IntelliMover blasted our migration package to the new machine (the files totaled about 95MB) in less than five minutes. And when the migration was done and we'd rebooted the new PC, everything was as it should be.
Word's templates arrived intact, even though we had migrated from Word 2000 to 2002. (IntelliMover can migrate settings of old versions to newer ones for a limited number of applications, most of them Microsoft Office apps.) Dial-up connection configurations made it safely to the new PC, as did our Outlook Express address book and messages. Ditto for Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator bookmarks and cookies (so we could sign in to our favorite sites), MusicMatch Jukebox playlists, and all the files in our My Documents and My Pictures folders. Yippee! IntelliMover also includes a separate file-transfer program--think of it as a bare-bones LapLink--that you can use after a migration to move more files between your two computers. It's drag-and-drop simple.
IntelliMover comes with some caveats. Because you're moving only application settings, you must first install those apps on the new PC (IntelliMover tells you this more than once before you migrate). Also, unfortunately, IntelliMover doesn't sport an undo feature that lets you roll back the migration from the new machine, which Aloha Bob does offer. (You can sidestep this if you're migrating to XP, however, by using that OS's System Restore feature.)
If you need help, Detto operates its phone desk from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends (PT). The call's on your dime, though. You can also e-mail questions; we got solid answers the next business day. Don't bother with the puny FAQ files and skimpy online help, though.
OK, we think IntelliMover costs too much. But for those times when you don't want to junk up the new PC with every app that's on the old one, it's the smartest choice for a lean migration.