Data transfer software business Laplink, claim the move from Windows XP to Windows 8 will be difficult, with one in two users moving to Windows 8 expected to have problems.

The latest version of Windows is just around the corner and many businesses are considering moving from their current operating system to Windows 8. However the radical changes in design and the new Metro apps in Windows 8 means the transition may not be as simple as in previous upgrades.

Thomas Koll, Laplink's CEO said "We expect users of Windows 7 will be able to upgrade to the same 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 8, but most other situations are likely to be difficult," Adding, "For Windows XP users, upgrading to Windows 8 will be a nightmare and almost impossible which is still about half of all PCs. Windows Vista users will have limited options and will likely lose all their applications."

Koll's assertion was backed up by our own experiences at TechRadar. While the early Consumer Preview of Windows 8 moved apps from Windows 7 to Windows 8 seamlessly, the later Release Candidate had no built-in transfer options, which lead to many hours spent re-installing apps.

To help businesses make the transition easier Laplink have pre-announced their PCmover file transfer software for Windows 8, which Koll describes as the "only software available that will support all upgrade scenarios to Windows 8, regardless of the old operating system and regardless of performing an in-place upgrade or migrating to a new PC".

The new version of PCmover for Windows 8 promises to have more features than ever before and be even easier to use, and the good news for anyone who needs to buy PCmover now is that if you buy the current version, Laplink promise to provide the new Windows 8 version for free when it arrives.

Laplink forecasts there will be 125 million users of Windows 8 in North America alone within 18 months of its release, which will easily be the largest migration ever to a new operating system.