Intel, others launch effort to ease PC migration

The obstacles of moving data from an old PC to a new one are familiar frustrations to many consumers and corporate IT support workers. Now, several IT vendors, including IBM Corp., Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp., have formed a new working group to study and promote methods of improving the PC data-migration experience, the companies involved announced Wednesday.

Also part of the PC Migration Work Group are Symantec Corp., file transfer and synchronization software maker Laplink Inc. and five other companies. Chaired by Intel’s ease-of-use initiative manager, Alex Gefrides, the group will focus initially on raising awareness of available migration products and creating guidelines for ISVs (independent software vendors) aimed at easing user migrations.

The group’s founding members are software companies leading the three-year-old migration market, according to Gefrides. While PC makers such as Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Computer Corp. and Gateway Inc. may eventually play a role in the group’s efforts, what’s needed now are technical standards and an awareness among software developers of migration issues, he said. IBM has a portfolio that includes PCs, but is involved in the group because of its software development, Gefrides said.

“When ISVs write an application, they don’t think about the fact that the consumer is going to buy a PC three years from now and need to move all their applications and data to the new PC,” Gefrides said. “We’re trying to standardize, or at least put together some known best practices for writing an application.”

The group is focused on both consumer and corporate data migrations, and it plans to start its efforts with an awareness campaign targeting vendors and retailers, including attendance at gatherings such as industry conferences.

Longer-term goals include creating new tools and processes to shorten the migration time frame.

“You should have this (capability) as part of your out-of-the-box experience. When you get a PC, this should be just part of the regular setup process. That’s our ultimate goal,” Gefrides said.

The PC Migration Work Group officially met for the first time last week, after several months of discussions and preliminary planning. Members plan to meet quarterly, with conference calls as needed. The group is currently developing its charter, and plans to post its first white paper in mid-September to its Web site, at