Personality Tranxport Pro: Win9X/ME/2K review: Personality Tranxport Pro: Win9X/ME/2K
With business in its crosshairs, it's no shock that Personality Tranxport Pro migrates only machines connected to any Windows-supported LAN. However, the enterprising small-business owner can make do without a complete network; PT Pro worked fine on our ad hoc, two-machine, TCP/IP network, which we built using a USB cable and its network drivers. While PT Pro's complicated installation and setup are perfect for migrating scads of machines, it's confusing for solo users.
Does more Windows
All that power can be a good thing, though. PT Pro migrates between more operating systems than either Aloha Bob or pc2pc: Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, and 2000. You can migrate only laterally or upward: from Windows 98 to Windows Me, but not from Windows 2000 to Windows 98, for example.
PT Pro is similar to PCsync in that it transfers application settings but not applications. But its list of supported apps is even smaller than PCsync's at just 20. The list includes popular business programs, including Microsoft Office, WordPerfect, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, and ACT. You can also migrate some application-specific data files (such as Outlook's address book and IE's cookies), as well as mass-move all of the documents created by some applications such as Word and Excel.
Extract and inject
PT Pro's interface has a retro, Windows 3.1 feel to it, and although it's simplistic--just three main buttons along the side and a single viewing pane--we still got lost. You have to "extract" the source PC's personality (a combination of files and user and application settings), store it on a network server or shared folder, then get on the destination PC and "inject" the profile. Because you can't migrate directly between PCs, PT Pro takes longer to migrate a single machine than, say, PCsync.
PT Pro does, however, automate nearly all the work. There's little to do except reboot the target PC at the end. Once the target PC-to-server transfer was done, our test migration was speedy because PT Pro moved little data and our LAN had raw speed. Too bad we weren't impressed with the results. PT Pro moves too few application settings, and those it does move are often incomplete. When we moved Word 2000's settings on the source PC to the copy of Word 2000 on the target, for instance, neither macros nor toolbar settings survived. And during one migration, Dial-up Networking Connection settings failed to make it across.
PT Pro really excels at migrating multiple machines, all at once or over time. You can create a generic personality and migrate it to all the machines in your organization, and since migrations are stored on a network server, you can reuse them. A sophisticated file-collection feature lets you customize each migration with a set of rules. You can move only some folders or only documents created after a certain date, for example. Building these rules is as easy as creating filters in an e-mail program. For example, we crafted several in just minutes, including one to exclude all MP3 files but include all TIFF files. Unfortunately, if something goes dreadfully wrong, PT Pro lacks an undo feature.
Good for migrating a herd
No surprise, but PT Pro's support is geared toward businesses, which are used to purchasing support plans. According to PT Pro's Web site, you get free, toll-free phone support for only 30 days, but company contacts assured us that the support is always free; our calls backed that up, since at no time were we asked to provide, for instance, a registration number or even verify that we had purchased the product. You can also e-mail queries. We got a satisfactory answer to our e-mail question in just over an hour.
All in all, PT Pro's $40 price may entice sole proprietors on a budget, but don't bother. It's too complex and does too little for just one migration. If, however, you need to move user settings to a slew of systems, check it out.