Windows Vista provides its own free migration tool in Windows Easy Transfer (WET), and in some areas it's very impressive. It's easy to place the software on a USB drive or CD, say, and take it to your XP PC. Then you can transfer the data back via a network connection, hard drive, CD and more - though not DVD.
WET offers above-average control over the Windows settings you can move, but only a few applications are supported, although the upcoming Easy Transfer Companion should add more. And some options are particularly opaque. Should you check the box to transfer files in 'miscellaneous locations', for example? We've no idea.
But the real problem here is performance. In our tests, WET seemed very slow, and failed three times before it managed a complete migration. That left unwanted shortcuts lying around, and it failed to convert our Outlook Express mailbox. It's fine for favourites, data files, basic Windows and Office settings, just don't expect anything more