PCsync 3.0 review:

PCsync 3.0

  • 1
MSRP: $79.95

PCsync 3.0

(Part #: FGPCS300RTUS)
Hot Products

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Transfers settings for 47 popular applications; can migrate settings via the Internet; includes sophisticated file-transfer utility for synchronizing and sharing files and folders after a migration.

The Bad Highest-priced migration utility; won't migrate settings between different versions of an application.

The Bottom Line PCsync is too expensive. Head for the more capable and less expensive IntelliMover or Aloha Bob instead.

4.0 Overall

LapLink's PCsync 3.0 is more of a file-transfer program than a dedicated migration utility. It migrates some Windows configurations, settings from 47 popular applications, and even document files, but it doesn't move the apps themselves. That means you still have to install your favorite software by hand on your new PC. Worse, this $70 program ($80 if you don't download it) costs more than any other migration tool we reviewed. PCsync's Internet Transfer mode is alluring, since it's one way to migrate a PC's personality when you can't connect two machines any other way. But one feature does not a package make. Steer toward Aloha Bob for a full migration, or IntelliMover to move settings and documents. LapLink's PCsync 3.0 is more of a file-transfer program than a dedicated migration utility. It migrates some Windows configurations, settings from 47 popular applications, and even document files, but it doesn't move the apps themselves. That means you still have to install your favorite software by hand on your new PC. Worse, this $70 program ($80 if you don't download it) costs more than any other migration tool we reviewed. PCsync's Internet Transfer mode is alluring, since it's one way to migrate a PC's personality when you can't connect two machines any other way. But one feature does not a package make. Steer toward Aloha Bob for a full migration, or IntelliMover to move settings and documents.

Cables included
PCsync bundles a serial cable in the box with the software, making for one fewer trip to the store. You can also migrate using a USB cable (LapLink sells a PC-to-PC cable for $20 to registered PCsync users), or over a LAN. Installing and configuring PCsync on a pair of machines, installing the cable drivers, then connecting the cables isn't brain surgery, but it will take a half hour or so.

Check 'em off interface
PCsync's file-transfer heritage (it's a direct descendent of the LapLink file-transfer program) shows in its four-pane interface, which displays the contents of both computers simultaneously. But during a migration, you use a dialog-box-like display that features tabbed sections titled Desktop, Network, and Applications.

To configure a migration, run the program on the source PC, then check various boxes to select which Windows or application settings and files to move. PCsync collects the info, builds a migration file, and transfers it via cable or local network to your target computer. The transfer time, of course, depends on how much you choose to migrate (it gets longer if you tell PCsync to transfer all files of certain types, such as Word documents or Excel spreadsheets) as well as the transfer method (USB, serial cable, or LAN). In our tests, the process took anywhere from 35 to more than 90 minutes using a USB cable--about 10 times longer when we switched to the way-too-slow serial cable in the box.

Once the transfer is complete, PCsync automatically disassembles the migration file, parcels out settings and files to the appropriate folders, and presents a log of successful and unsuccessful migrations. Don't be surprised if you see several of the latter; in a test migration from a Windows 98 to a Windows Me machine, Windows 98 Explorer settings couldn't make the move to Windows Me, and we discovered only at the end that we couldn't shift settings between different versions of some applications, such as from Microsoft Word 97 to Word 2000.

If you run into problems, you can reach support via a toll phone call, live chat, or e-mail. Telephone support is free for only the 30 days after your first call--after that, it's $29 a call--and both phone and live chat are available only during weekday business hours. It took the support staff several days to answer our e-mail questions, but their answers were on the money.

OS makes no never mind
PCsync transfers only settings and associated document files for a limited number of apps as well as some general Windows settings, such as display resolution, wallpaper, printers, and dial-up connections. The utility migrates browser bookmarks (for IE 4.0 and later and Navigator 2.0 and later) and transfers Outlook Express's address book (4.0 and later) and e-mail account settings. It also migrates settings and certain files for 44 more apps--but not the apps themselves--including AOL, Eudora, Microsoft Word, Photoshop, and RealJukebox. But PCsync remains half-hearted at best. You can't, for example, specify which Microsoft Word files to migrate--it's all or nothing--and you can't transfer hard-to-re-create items such as macros or customized toolbars, even between identical versions of the word processor. Ay, caramba!

PCsync can migrate files and settings between any versions of Windows--even from a newer OS, such as Windows Me, to an older OS, such as Windows 98 SE. But this scenario is unlikely; nearly all moves are from older PCs with older OSs to newer machines with newer operating systems.

Internet migration
PCsync's only redeeming quality in the migration department is its ability to move files, not just via cable or LAN, but also over the Internet. So, for example, if you install PCsync on your work and home PCs, you could migrate settings of office apps to your home computer.

And it's a lot more useful after a migration than any other utility; the LapLink-style file-transfer component can be used to share files and folders between cable-connected computers, synchronize files and folders on a pair of PCs, and even access a PCsync-equipped machine remotely over the Internet.

But we're here to scout out migration, and, on that count, PCsync just doesn't cut it. Try Aloha Bob or IntelliMover instead.

PCsync 3.0's biggest change is that it now moves settings for 40-some applications, without making you buy an add-on pack as you had to for version 2.0.

Hot Products

 

Discuss: PCsync 3.0

Conversation powered by Livefyre