Microsoft: Use Laplink's Windows XP migration tools, not ours

Laplink will provide free data migration tool to help users leave XP, a sign of how Microsoft is weaning itself off XP support

With the April 8 support deadline for Windows XP looming more closely, Microsoft is stepping up the pressure to get as many users off XP as possible. The newest offering in that department: the free edition of a software tool, created by Laplink, to easily transfer a user's files and settings to another machine.

Named PCMover Express for Windows XP, the new tool was announced in a blog post today and is set to be made available for download later this week. User data -- files, user profile information, and personal settings -- can be migrated across a network to a new PC.

But the program doesn't support migration of actual installed applications, which many existing XP users might badly need. Legacy XP users might not have access to installation media for the programs they've been running for so long. A more upscale edition of PCMover that transfers applications is available for a cost, but the track record for such programs is generally weak, and they're fraught with unexpected issues.

PCMover Express isn't the only such app -- after all, there's Microsoft's own existing Windows Easy Transfer tool, with editions downloadable for both Windows XP and Windows Vista. But there's a few likely reasons why Microsoft would push Laplink's tool over its own. For starters, PCMover Express may be that much more current a product than Windows Easy Transfer, since it's not clear when any of the versions of Windows Easy Transfer's versions were last updated. Also, using Laplink's program means Microsoft can offload the job of getting users' data moved to new version of Windows. The less internal resources Microsoft tasks with supporting XP in any form, the better (for Microsoft, that is).

The fact that Microsoft has only now offered something like this is more evidence of how seriously it has miscalculated how quickly people would leave XP behind for any future version of Windows. After making multiple changes to its end-of-life support plans, including keeping the Malicious Software Removal Tool fresh through July 2015, it seems the next step is to offload as much of the repsonsibility for XP on other parties, many of whom would enjoy deriving a steady revenue stream from Windows XP users.

This story, "Microsoft: Use Laplink's Windows XP migration tools, not ours," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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