Moving personality profiles from another OS to Windows 2000 used to be a tedious process. These tools can turbo-charge that task.

User Migrations: PC Transplant Pro 2.1

Moving personality profiles from another OS to Windows 2000 used to be a tedious process. These tools can turbo-charge that task.

Altiris’ PC Transplant Pro 2.1 is offered as a stand-alone product or as part of the Altiris eXpress Migration Toolkit. PC Transplant Pro’s a simple, wizard-based program that scans your computer based upon selections you make, either within the wizard or from a previously saved template. PC Transplant Pro compiles the selected profile and creates a self-executing package, which you can then transfer and run on the new computer. The use of a self-extracting package is convenient, since you don’t need to install PC Transplant Pro on the destination system to load the personality package.

PC Transplant Pro: Profiles
Figure 1. PC Transplant uses a wizard interface to build profiles.

Learning PC Transplant’s advanced features is no problem, thanks to the excellent documentation. It’s so easy that a normal user should be able to create and restore a personality package in minutes with little or no direction. I was most impressed by the release notes for version 2.1. The documentation, including current limitations and troubleshooting solutions for known problems, was very useful and didn’t take hours of reading to extract.

PC Transplant Pro Package Editor
Figure 2. Using PC Transplant Pro 2.1’s package editor, settings can be changed without re-creating the package. (Click image to view larger version.)

PC Transplant Pro captures more than 100 customized settings for Windows 95/98, Me, NT and 2000, as well as settings for more than 50 popular business applications. Settings include active desktop, taskbar, wallpaper, icons, mouse and colors; network settings such as computer name, drive mappings, and folder and directories share assignments; and application settings, including data files, templates, contacts and calendar items (Altiris offers online updates to add more applications as they become available). Additionally, PC Transplant Pro can scan for and transfer any type of file, as well as entire directory structures. It offers advanced features to assist administrators, including the ability to create personality templates, which can automate personality package creation. The process can be executed from the command line, and packages can be password-protected. PC Transplant Pro includes a package-editing tool, which allows you to modify a package directly without having to re-create it. Disk-imaging software is included as part of the PC Transplant Pro package, so you don’t need to purchase additional cloning tools. The one thing missing from PC Transplant Pro is a method of centrally managing the personality packages you create. In a large organization, this could be thousands of files; depending on what’s being saved, these files could be very large. Be aware of this limitation when comparing programs. Overall, PC Transplant Pro’s an easy-to-use tool and makes the transfer of a computer’s unique personality quick and painless.

About the Author

Stewart Cawthray, MCSE, ITIL Service Manager, is an IT management consultant for Hewlett-Packard.

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