Chaired by Intel's ease-of-use initiative manager, Alex Gefrides, the group will focus initially on raising awareness of available migration products and creating guidelines for independent software vendors aimed at easing user migrations.
Security software maker Symantec and file transfer and synchronisation software maker Laplink will also be members of the working group.
According to Gefrides, while PC makers may eventually play a role in the group's efforts, what is needed now are technical standards and an awareness among software developers of migration issues, he said. While IBM sells PCs, the company is involved in the group because of its software development, Gefrides said.
"When ISVs write an application, they don't think about the fact that the consumer is going to buy a PC three years from now and will need to move all their applications and data to the new PC," Gefrides said. "We're trying to standardise, or at least put together some best practices for writing an application."
The group is focused on both consumer and corporate data migration and it plans to launch an awareness campaign targeting vendors and retailers, including attendance at gatherings such as industry conferences. Longer-term goals include creating new tools and processes to shorten the migration time frame.
"You should have this capability as part of your out-of-the-box experience. When you get a PC, this should be just part of the regular setup process. That's our ultimate goal," Gefrides said.
The PC Migration Work Group officially met for the first time last week, after several months of discussions and preliminary planning. Members plan to meet quarterly, with conference calls as needed. The group is currently developing its charter, and plans to post its first white paper in mid-September to its Web site at www.pc-migration-wg.com.