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PC Personality Clone: It's Ethical, It Works, But Is It Enough?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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October 20, 2006 11:15:19 AM

PC Personality Clone makes perfectly legal copies of parts of a Windows computer to another Windows computer. However, it may not do everything you expect.
October 20, 2006 2:06:06 PM

This was a "terrible" article.

It never states what this product does!
It says it does not copy applications, registry keys, etc.. etc....

From what I can tell it copies a "User Profile" from one PC to the other.
Is this all it does? Does it do more? Is this what it really does?

If all it does is copy a user profile, then an article on how to transfer profiles should have been written. If it does more than this, the article should have provide a little discussion on what this may be.

This looks like an "Infomercial".
Was this just paid advertising because there is certainly no techinical information or analysis in this story.
October 20, 2006 2:26:25 PM

Sounds like a pretty limited program. Even Aloha Bob's products transfer programs.
Related resources
October 20, 2006 2:45:50 PM

Of course it was a terrible article... it was written by Barry Gerber, author of the "who designed this crap" series, and someone who has no business writing for a hardware site since he is blatantly non-technical.

That said... I didn't even realize he was the author (don't usually check) until I had looked at the ONE PAGE WRITEUP on this product, realized it was basically just a poorly written one-page news release, and thought "who wrote this crap".

Oh, it is the guy that always asks "who designed this crap". well, the answer to both my question and yours is people like you Barry. Please spare the audience and cease writing for Toms Hardware until you are able to actually write a well thought-out, detailed, and reasonably technical article.
October 20, 2006 2:47:26 PM

Sorry... I just realized the enormity of this...

THERE ARE ONLY TWO PARAGRAPHS!!!

What on earth? What editor would EVER post that? That isn't even worthy of a news release... boy. It is sad watching Toms Hardware slide further and further into oblivion.
October 20, 2006 4:20:31 PM

Better off buying a copy of ghost
October 20, 2006 6:06:35 PM

Granted the "article" was not the best that Tom's ever had, but what about the product being reviewed? From what I could tell, all it does is transfer user files and setting from one computer to another; and for only $65! Wow!

Excuse me, couldn't you do the same thing with XP's File and Settings Transfer Wizard using a $15 flash drive? Plus you wouldn't have to buy a new transfer license for every source PC.

Now the custom USB cable which allows you to see the other computer's hard drive could come in handy in those situations when a network (or crossover) isn't available, but no way in he!! am I paying $65 for it.
October 20, 2006 6:13:56 PM

Quote:
Please track through all the slides, because everything you need to know about this product is included in them.
I beg to differ, the slides were helpful, but not sufficient.

So basically it's a USB cable that connects one computer to another. If I want to transfer files I do it for free using something called a "Local Area Network".
October 20, 2006 6:55:46 PM

Quote:
Please track through all the slides, because everything you need to know about this product is included in them.
I beg to differ, the slides were helpful, but not sufficient.

So basically it's a USB cable that connects one computer to another. If I want to transfer files I do it for free using something called a "Local Area Network".

Not only that, but relying on picture slides, each with a short sentence included, for the body of an article is just lazy journalism.
October 20, 2006 6:59:48 PM

Quote:
Granted the "article" was not the best that Tom's ever had, but what about the product being reviewed? From what I could tell, all it does is transfer user files and setting from one computer to another; and for only $65! Wow!

Excuse me, couldn't you do the same thing with XP's File and Settings Transfer Wizard using a $15 flash drive? Plus you wouldn't have to buy a new transfer license for every source PC.

Now the custom USB cable which allows you to see the other computer's hard drive could come in handy in those situations when a network (or crossover) isn't available, but no way in he!! am I paying $65 for it.


Yes, part of the problem may be the product but why review a product if it
has no features. Support.Micrsoft.com will tell you how to copy a profile. Either this product does nothing else and Toms should not be writing about it since it serves no purpose except to waste the money of Tom's readers or it does serve another purpose that was not revealed.

Either the product should not have been written about or if it does have a function, it was not revealed.

Sadly some readers may not be technical enough to know that it does not really add any use.
October 20, 2006 7:28:08 PM

Quote:
Yes, part of the problem may be the product but why review a product if it
has no features. Support.Micrsoft.com will tell you how to copy a profile. Either this product does nothing else and Toms should not be writing about it since it serves no purpose except to waste the money of Tom's readers or it does serve another purpose that was not revealed.

Either the product should not have been written about or if it does have a function, it was not revealed.

Sadly some readers may not be technical enough to know that it does not really add any use.


I'm not disputing that the review was total cr@p, it's just that all the other posters at the time were focusing on the review itself and not on the product being reviewed, which itself is cr@p. When a reviewer is forced (or chooses) to review a product as useless as this, he should state in the review that it's useless and that there are other cheaper and better alternatives.
October 21, 2006 4:48:04 PM

Quote:
I'm not disputing that the review was total cr@p, it's just that all the other posters at the time were focusing on the review itself and not on the product being reviewed, which itself is cr@p. When a reviewer is forced (or chooses) to review a product as useless as this, he should state in the review that it's useless and that there are other cheaper and better alternatives.


Agreed vanka

I'm just wondering if i missed something in the whole point of a review. Tech info, comparissons, what about transfer rates on this PoS, writers thoughts on usefulness of said product. I'd choked up bile that tasted better than the poor writing and review i just read here.

All in all the review led me to think toms got paid to tell people about a product, as was mentioned before *infomercial*

i use fairly robust ad/pop up blocking software so i dont have to look at garbage, maybe we need some "Tomshardware Content" blocker software as well so our time is not wasted.

yes i am being harsh and toms is about to loose me as a reader this crap is a trend and i cant be the only one feeling the same way.
October 21, 2006 8:07:49 PM

Quote:
Better off buying a copy of ghost


My sentiments too.
October 22, 2006 12:53:12 AM

Not that I have ever used it but don't many of these types of products do the same thing as the "Files and Settings Transfer Wizard" built into XP??
I don't really see the need, in the more than 15 years I have been working on computers I have always preferred to do a clean install and set things and move things myself (for business & home) it isn't that hard unless you have a bunch of illegally obtained software that you don't have disks for!

Does XP Wizard suck?
October 22, 2006 2:14:37 AM

Well there can be lots of reasons.

SID transfers so you can replace one PC with another and keep it various network managed apps assigned.

There can be lots of custom info in Profiles that are quite an issue to recreate.

However, I dont know if this software transfers SIDS, Accounts, how it handles encryped files/data, etc., etc., etc..

All I know is it copies "some parts of Windows". :roll:

Well, it will copy over a desktop wallpaper setting for sure :>
October 22, 2006 4:38:26 PM

For $50 I can buy a copy of Symantec Backup Exec or Acronis TrueImage, both of which have bootdisc environments which can fully retarget a system volume to new hardware by automatically cropping out the the drivers and replacing them with a preselected list on file, and a few other tricks so windows doesnt freak out when it starts up on totally different hardware, and have all my applications and windows itself running on a completely new machine.

Add about 5 more minutes of a few driver updates and a couple of reboots to get the kinks out and youre done.
October 22, 2006 5:10:02 PM

This is another of those products aimed at the uninformed individual. Anyone with a little more than a basic understanding of Windows will know this product is worthless. By the time I went through all the registration/authentication procedures I could have copied the files over on a flash drive. Why such a heavy handed protection scheme on such a trivial product?
October 22, 2006 7:54:59 PM

First and foremost, that product seems to be a complete waste.

Second, I dont know the authors history but if there is any chance he reads these posts please please understand you are not clever. The entire PC Cloning/Living Entity Cloning and Ethics "thing" you thought you were working, did not work. So never ever author another article in which there is so little actual content and such a large use of a poorly thought out gimmic again. I want my 5 minutes back for that slideshow. You sould have added 3 more sentences to the main "article" and not needed the slide show.
October 23, 2006 12:46:16 PM

One thing no one's mentioned... you have to go through to the seventh (out of 12) image before you get through all the "activation code" stuff. That's a sad and telling thing.

Apart from that, as others have said, first, this seems a useless product, additionally crippled with endless activation code hurdles. Second, the idea of having to read through the slideshow to find out what this thing does... well... that's ridiculous, and, frankly, comes off as arrogant.

I don't blame the author (who was probably stuck having to review this software); I do blame the editor. To tell us that... then have the negligible content and fluff that is the slideshow concerning a junky product... that suggests to the readers that the editor thinks our time is of little value.

Sorry to be harsh; this is a great site, and I'm sure the editor and author have done great work. This was a departure.
October 23, 2006 1:41:48 PM

The rather ironic thing about talk of 'ethical' copying of systems and suggesting, by both the ariticle writer and posters here, is that you are not allowed by the Ghost license to copy/clone a drive to use in ANOTHER system.

I'm not saying it does not work, just that the license has a very specific clause on this. So to be within the limits of the product license you can only clone to a drive that you are replacing/installing in the system that has Ghost installed on it.

This is actually a change that showed up a couple of versions ago. Not all cloning software has this limit.
October 23, 2006 8:31:17 PM

Hey, I know these guy's at SaberData-

I agree the article lacks some important details, the main point is that this product is designed to be plug and play and has the driver software in flash memory so you don't need to install anything.

Also, there seems to be a misunderstanding about what it does. It clones from one OS to another OS (different type or revision) or to different hardware. So it's different from an image restore (ghost).

It's really for consumers who can't get PC's to talk together and know nothing about how to move user accounts, emails, network settings and stuff like that. And, also for people who know about computers but don't want to waste moving all the stuff over. Maybe not for pro's who work this stuff every day.

As for application migration, the registry merge stuff from alohabob (bought by microsoft & taken off the market) is very dangerous in that all the bad DLL's and applications you don't want get copied so you may end up slowing down a clean PC or causing some funky stuff to happen.

Anybody that's ever tried the Microsoft wizard may have some sore points about it. Some of which are moving out of Win98 to XP and systems that have multiple accounts.

There was a very technical review of the PC Personality Clone product features by Mike Maxwell (www.pctechweekly.com) or take a listen at www.saberdata.com
October 24, 2006 4:58:29 PM

straight from Saber Data...

Effortlessly move all your
Contacts and Address Books
Email & Account settings
Calendars and Appointments
Pictures, Music & Video's
Favorites and Bookmarks
Internet Connection Settings
Printer, Network and Wireless settings
Microsoft Office Settings and Templates
Favorite Background & Display Settings
Shortcuts and Task Manager Settings
Hundreds of Applications Settings...
And Much..Much More!

some one please, anyone??, why do you need to pay for more activation codes to transfer more info from other computers...
October 24, 2006 6:26:03 PM

As I understand it, it takes some pretty hefty scripts to get application settings to work between different operating systems. It could take a while to figure out what revisions needed what files in what directories. If application file extensions changed names or, if user data and template file extensions or names change from Win98 to WinXP. Sure, it can be done by hand, or I guess you can write or search for scripts to do it but I would rather just pay the $69 bucks and have a martini by the pool instead!

So why are application scripts even necessary?? Here is why; have you ever upgraded an application to a new version (Office 2000-Office 2003) just to find out that your tool bars and templates got all messed up and you can find anything that used to work. I know, I've spent hours finding stuff that got moved! I hate wasting time like that. Most of the time Microsoft has hidden it or consolidated to a new function? So by using scripts that put everything back the way I like it I don't get as frustrated.
October 24, 2006 8:47:06 PM

This product, however, will not handle those issue.
You will still need a drink. Maybe two.

This simply copies your profile information.
Even this is not guarenteed if you use things such as EFS or other security measures.

It does not handle the application issues.

This is clearly pointed out in the article among the things it does not handle. In fact it is beyond a resonable scope to have the prodcut reconfigure settings from O2K to OK23 if those settings were not designed by MS to be shared and compatible.

What it will do is copy the information in the %user_profile% director and much of the info in the user.dat file in your profile.

Howerver, if it does not transfer alot of other low level security information, much encrypted data in your profile will not be accessible.

It would copy your O2K3 settings to another PC with O2K3. It would not translate O2K settings to O2K3 settings on another machine. O2K3, however, may read some of the O2K settings and use thos.
(Note: Most of those settings are not stored in the same location.)
October 24, 2006 10:07:14 PM

Just for the fun of it I made a call to SaberData and asked that question.

They gave (emailed) me the example for the Palm Desktop Organizer application settings migration scripts between two computers with different OS's;
Here is a short excerpt
1) Check for version key's (Palm Desktop 3.1 vs. 4.0 etc)
2) Check for earlier versions prior to 3.0.x if true do #3 & #4
3) Read/store/Apply General Settings kept in the Registry
4) Read/Store/Apply General per user settings kept in Users application folders
5) Check for Version 4.1.4 if true
6) If true install Directory as Palm version dependent
7) etc..

I think you get the idea. The email they sent me goes on but it looks to me like the scripts are very comprehensive. I wouldn't want to figure all this version stuff out myself. But I would expect my Palm directories to look and work the same.

And yes, your right, it's about time to have those drinks.
!