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.
Belkin Easy Transfer Cable for Windows Vista
Gigabit ethernet needs stuffing with to be useful
Gigabit ethernet won't actually help much, although GbE does have the nice property of allowing a standard patch cable to be used to interlink the two interfaces (in fact a typical 10Base-T/100Base-TX crossover cable won't work for 1000Base-T).
The reason GbE isn't as useful as you'd hope is that the TCP buffers in Windows Xp are pitifully small at 12KB, which is adequate for dialup or a 10Base-T LAN but nothing faster or further away. When Xp came out they wanted to make it use as little kernel memory as possible, and they certainly wouldn't have been happy about the 4MB or more needed to keep a then-exotic GbE network interface card supplied with TCP data.
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center have a good guide to tuning operating systems for network throughput. See http://www.psc.edu/networking/projects/tcptune/
Naturally the change on Microsoft operating systems varies by service pack and requires registry devilry and a reboot.
Why not just use firewire?
like Mac users have been doing for years. Standard cable and supererior transfer rate to USBs "480 Mb/s" which is actually unachievable.
100Mb/s or 480Mb/s.. I'm thinking ethernet isn't faster unless you're on gigabit. And a bridged USB cable ought to be native to XP or Vista.. don't see how MS could 'license' or 'drm' this. Sounds FUD to me.
ethernet seems much faster
great idea, but in practice an ethernet seems much faster and for simplicity, a cross-over cable works well. granted that required more of an knowledge of an inner workings. however, I'd still use a cross-over cable. it's just simpler, and I've got one at home
Personally, I'm with the BOFH
How splendid! Does it also painlessly transfer all your old spamming & DDOSing viruses and trojans from your shagged-out old PC to your soon-to-be not-so-shiny new Vista box?
Personally, I'm with the BOFH when it comes to Vista: "Nah, I just turned on all the flashy crap in XP, changed the background image, took some memory out of my box and clocked down the CPU. Then broke Media player. Works like a charm."