PCmover Express for Windows Review and Screenshots

Since Windows XP end of support will occur on April, 18th, you may want to buy a new computer, as it will not be advisable to stay with Windows XP after end of support. When you buy a new computer, you would wish for some application to transfer all your programs and settings to the new computer. To make migration easier for Windows XP users, Microsoft has made available as a free download, PCmover Express for Windows XP or older PC, a data migration tool. This software from Laplink is based on the same concept except that it only transfers data from a Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.


I tested it on Windows XP and used it to migrate data to a Windows 7 computer. You can use it to migrate your data from XP to Windows 7 or later versions such as Windows 8 and 8.1.

PCmover Express Review

Free vs Paid versions

There are two versions of PCMover Express: Free and Paid. Obviously, the Paid one seems better. The main reason why I say so is that the Free version transfers only your data, from My Documents, My Pictures, My Music and any other folder within My Documents in Windows XP.

It may show you that it is collecting information about all the applications installed on your computer. It will collect shortcuts and log files related to those applications and finally scan the Windows XP registry too. But do not be under the impression that the free version will transfer all of them to the new computer. 

At the end of the process, you will find that only the data from My Documents folder is copied. The rest of the information, settings, application data, etc. are transferred only if you have a paid version. In effect, the free version just wastes your time collecting all the information about apps, shortcuts, logs and registry settings.

Before you can install PCMover Express – free or paid – you need to have VC++ 2010 on both the old and new computers. If it is not there already, the PCMover installer will install it for you.


Use PCmover Express to migrate data

We will talk about the free PCMover Express available on the Microsoft website.

Following are the steps to copy files from old Windows XP to new PC having Windows 10 / 8 / 7 installed. Note that the terms “files” in this case are only the data files lying in your My Documents folder. The FAQ section of the website talks about Outlook files but I could not locate them on my Windows 7 computer, post the operation of PCmover so I guess that is a privilege available only to people using the paid version.

Here are the steps to use PCmover Express:

Install PCmover Express on your Windows XP computer and on the new computer. Installing on the new computer might give you a message that the program is obsolete and that you should visit Laplink website to get the newer version. But I could not find a free version or even trialware on the website.


After troubleshooting compatibility issues on PCMover Express that I downloaded from the Microsoft website, I somehow got it working.

That done, open PCmover Express on both XP and the new Windows machine.

Go to the XP machine and start there. You will have to specify that you are on the Windows XP machine. Once specified and when you click “Next”, it takes a good amount of time collecting details it will not use. Have a look at the screenshot gallery.

As mentioned above, the free version will not copy apps, settings etc. I do not know the reason why it collects all that data if it is not going to be transferred to new PC. Anyway, that done, you get the message to go to the new PC and run PC Mover from there so that it can transfer your data over a network, an Ethernet cable connection or their (Laplink’s) own USB data cable.

How useful is the Free PCMover Express?

The free program is for users who do not know much about copying or moving data from one computer to other. If it copied applications and their settings as well, as the paid version does, it would have been an indispensable tool for everyone. But No! The free version does not copy applications, etc, though it collects all that information as shown in the dialog box when you run it on Windows XP first.

PCMover For XP - Reading App List

In my case, it transferred all the data in My Documents so I should say it works. But I wonder why  it needs to be connected to be Internet and why it collects all the application information and settings even though it doesn’t use it!?

In my opinion, if you are to transfer only your data, you can use the manual method of copying via a network. The manual method should be faster than using Free PCmover as you do not go ahead and scan program files, shortcuts, registry etc. before moving your files. You save on that, and if it is manual copying, you know where exactly you want to copy the different data on the new PC.

PCmover Express free download

PCmover Express is for download in English here at Microsoft.

This has been my experience with Free PCmover Express. If you have used it for copying or moving files from Windows XP to Windows 8 or Windows 7 computer, please share your experience with us.

You might want to also check out PCtransfer, a portable data transfer freeware for Windows.

For those users who are not planning to currently upgrade, we have written an article on securing Windows XP after end of support, which you may want to have a look at.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN


  1. Hadrian Embalsado

    Hm… Quite nice.

  2. Kiran kumar

    This is really nice article…Thanks for sharing…

  3. AshleyLaplink

    Arun, thanks for the great review! I wanted to answer a few questions for you:
    1. We require internet access so we can control activation and registration of the product. It’s part of the “expiration” built into the product.
    2. Application data is collected so that any related settings can be moved to the new PC if the application exists on the new PC as well (Office is just one example).
    3. As for the expired message, did you have PCmover beta on your PC? This is the most common reason for that issue.

    In regards to transferring files manually, it’s definitely an option for those who don’t mind taking the time to do so. We believe PCmover Express for Windows XP is a superior option than doing it manually because the typical user will most likely miss data, many users are unaware of the location of app related data, and because PCmover Express for Windows XP will move Windows and applications settings (which can be very difficult to do manually).

    Great work!

  4. Arun Kumar

    Thank you, for clearing the doubts. I guess Microsoft site is offering PCMover beta then. Thanks again, for taking out time to answer the questions. 🙂

  5. flippertie

    How did you overcome the message “This version of PCMover is obsolete” ? Without that knowledge the rest of the article is useless….

  6. flippertie

    Where can we get a version of the software that is not ‘obsolete’?

  7. Arun Kumar

    I changed the setup file compatibility to Windows XP.

  8. flippertie

    I wasn’t able to do that – but I used the old Windows Easy File Transfer which worked for me 🙂

  9. DJ

    had a similar problem with the error message “this version of PCmover is obsolete. please contact Laplink Software for an update”.

    solution that worked for me: try changing the system date to something in Jan 2014, start PCmover Express, then correct system date

    At first Laplink support’s suggestion was to re-install, which I did. This did not help. Then I called Microsoft and they said they no longer support XP, even though I’m trying to migrate out. Finally stumbled across this idea based on another email from Laplink support

  10. Arun Kumar

    Thank you, DJ. Your post will help many. 🙂

  11. Brenda

    Sorry, not too tech savvy….how do you change the system date?

  12. Brenda

    Tried it and it seemed like it was going to work. Got through new PC registration and connection method, said it was analyzing old computer, then got message “the other computer is not running the same version of PC mover” Clicked on ok, but wouldn’t let me to go any further. Any other suggestions?

  13. Brenda

    How did you get it to work? See my comments above.

  14. Brenda

    This did not work for me but I did find another solution. I bought an Insignia universal file transfer cable at Best Buy and it worked great. Very easy to use, just connect the 2 computers via USB and drag and drop files/programs.

  15. Terry Sorensen

    What about registry entries, and certain applications like Adobe CS or anti virus stuff that need to be handled differently?

  16. Brenda

    I don’t know about registry entries. I had a CD for Adobe CS and my new laptop with Windows 10 had a CD drive so I used the CD to install and it worked. As far as antivirus, I just downloaded free version of Avast on my new laptop. I wasn’t able to transfer Office 2003.

  17. This “free transfer wizard” is pure crap. Don’t waste your time. And let the SOBs at Gates Co know how sorry they are for not including a transfer utility.

  18. Rosie Bouquin

    PCmover Express has been a nightmare. I am going on 70 hours with no documents or pictures transferred. Every time I call they try to sell me $149 worth of assistance. This is your typical bait and switch. Too slow – buy a laplink cable. PCmover says its finished and successful, but nothing is transferred–pat us $149 to fix it.

  19. SVN

    You actually had a person answer? After waiting on hold for an hour I received a recording that they were having technical difficulties and was disconnected. I have about the same amount of time invested. Very frustrating!

  20. Jayne Harper Hill

    I have had the paid program for two days and have established absolutely nothing. The data will not move to a Win10 laptop from a WinXP laptop, even with an ethernet cable. I talked to their experts, and they gave me a list of operations to preform. I did them all and gave up and went to bed as it was nearly midnight. I told them I would try to get the offending XP hooked up by ethernet to a router and of course, that did not work. I called the phone numbers and they are out of order. Do I want to go back to the experts and waste more money? Oh, I turned off all the firewalls and virus programs, etc., and am now inundated with crap. The first thing I do when I turn on the computer is open the task manager and erase all the dumb stuff that has sneaked in. I used to have a wonderful network, but now I have fours laptops that refuse to talk to each other!

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