Belkin Easy Transfer Cable for Windows Vista
Does exactly what it says on the box
If you know which files you want to transfer, then you can choose Advanced Options and manually specify what you want to copy over. Finally, it's simply a matter of setting it running and leaving it to get on with it.
By default, Easy Transfer copies over your My Documents folders, email messages and settings, program settings and user accounts. It doesn't actually transfer programs, though, so you'll need to install them on the new PC first before moving over your old settings.
The cable supports USB 2.0, so providing your XP machine isn't too old you shouldn't be hanging around too long waiting for everything to copy over.
In terms of performance, we tested it between two USB 2.0-equipped laptops, one running the final version of Vista and the other running XP SP2.
When it comes to transferring files, we found it was a lot quicker with large files than with lots of small ones. Copying over a single 1GB file took just three minutes 54 seconds, which isn't too bad at all.
However, copying over 8,192 small 128KB files, amounting to 1GB in total, took much longer: 11 minutes 22 seconds, nearly three times as long. Given that you're likely to have many more small files than big ones, if you want to transfer the best part of 30GB then it's likely to be an overnight job.
Manually shuffling your digital bits from one PC to another is a laborious task, so anything that makes the process a little easier is to be welcomed - and it doesn't get much simpler than this. If you'd rather get on with using your new PC instead of messing around copying everything over then it's a great help.