PCmover Professional is a migration tool that can transfer not only documents and settings, but entire working applications from an older PC onto a new system.
It works with almost all versions of Windows (although downgrading isn't officially supported), and can even perform "in-place" migrations - handy for moving a single computer between OS editions that can't be directly upgraded.
The boxed version comes with a special double-ended USB cable for connecting your old and new PCs together, but if you've opted for the cheaper download edition, you can use an external hard disk to ferry your files across.
Alternatively, if both PCs are attached to a network, the software can transfer your data that way.
Before copying, PCmover scans both source and destination PCs, identifying which files don't need to be moved. The software can also warn you of potential application clashes or incompatibilities.
The copying is a slow process, and it's slowed down further by PCmover's insistence on compressing everything.
With a USB2 external hard disk, it took around four hours to move 30GB of data, and over 100Mbits/sec Ethernet the same load took more than a day. Your best bet is either a Gigabit LAN or the Laplink USB cable, either of which should work out around twice as fast.
All our files and programs ended up in their proper places, and we were impressed to see that even bespoke Visual Studio applications worked perfectly. If your transfer doesn't go the way you want, you can roll back your new PC to its original state.
In all, PCmover works just as it should, and certainly shows up the limitations of the free Windows Easy Transfer tool.
The catch is the price, which only covers one migration; if you ever want to perform a second upgrade you'll have to shell out for another licence. You could save a little by opting for PCmover Home, which is less customisable and supports fewer editions of Windows.
The price is a shame, because a cheap, unrestricted version of PCmover would be a great addition to any tinkerer's toolbox.
But at $81 it has to be considered a luxury, unless you have an unusual number of applications to reinstall - or, perhaps, have lost your old installation discs.