If you ever had to switch computer systems, say from a PC running Windows XP to a shiny new one running Windows 8, you may have encountered the situation that you had no way to get your installed applications from the old PC to the new one easily.
We are not talking about operating system upgrades here, but they too may be limited in terms of software that you can migrate to the new system.
Another example is if you have to reinstall your operating system from scratch, for instance if the PC does not boot properly anymore.
Installing all programs that you had installed on the old system on the new one may take some time even if you can remember the full file list and find the appropriate download websites and sources again to do so. Then there are commercial programs that may require you to enter a product key or serial number before they can be used, and retrieving those may also not be the easiest thing in the world.
The idea behind PickMeApp is to provide Windows users with the means to copy installed applications from one PC to another without reinstallation hassles. It works by capturing applications to profiles which you can then deploy again on other computer systems.
The application interface itself looks on first glance like an ftp program of sorts. It displays the installed applications on the left, and the available profiles on the right. A profile is a collection of one or multiple apps that you want to migrate to another system.
It is certainly possible to select all apps installed on your Windows system on the left and create a copy of them in a profile so that you can deploy them on another system when the need arises. You are limited by the available hard drive space though.
All programs that get backed up this way are saved as tap files in the program directory. You can alternatively save them as executable files if you want to run them directly on the target system.
Please note that compatibility rules still apply. While you may be able to import a Windows XP only program to Windows 7, you will notice that it won't run on the newer operating system if it is not compatible with it.
The developers have created a list of supported applications, those that they have tried, which you can use as a guide. The list is outdated though and probably not actively maintained. The developers state that it works with Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, Yahoo Messenger, Picasa and others, and that it is also compatible with Windows 8.
You can use PickMeApp on the new computer directly by transferring all relevant files to it or by burning the data to DVD. Once you run the app you get options to install any previously saved application on the new system.
Here is a video that highlights the process in detail:
You may encounter restrictions while you are using the application. Some noteworthy ones are:
- You cannot transfer applications from a newer version of Windows to an older one, or from a 64-bit platform to a 32-bit platform.
- PickMeApp may pick up some product keys but may miss others.
PickMeApp may help you transfer software from one PC to another. While it may not work with all programs that you run on the source computer system, it may still be used to move the bulk of programs from one PC to the other.