[HOWTO] Move Your Files To A New PC
So, you bought that new PC - congratulations! Now that it’s out of the box and set up, it’s time for you to move into it and make it your own. That means transferring to the new machine your personal data files, customized settings, and the applications that you have come to depend on. Here are several ways to move files and programs to a new PC…
Transferring Files From Your Old Computer
There is an important divide between PC transfer programs. It’s pretty easy to move data files and even settings stored in the Windows registry. There are plenty of free utilities out there that will do this job; in fact, one is baked into Windows 7 and above. But it’s a lot trickier to move applications, such as Microsoft Office, games, or other installed programs from one hard drive to another. Utilities that move apps often cost money.
Windows Easy Transfer is the free data-moving utility built into Windows 7 and 8. (but not Windows 10). Just typing “Windows Easy” into the search box on the Start menu will find this utility; then click on its name in the results list to launch it.
You’ll have the option to transfer files over an Easy Transfer cable, a special USB cable made by several vendors. Belkin’s Easy Transfer cable goes for $28 on Amazon. You can also transfer files over a network. But for migrating all your data to a new PC, you should use an external storage drive or USB thumb drive of suitable capacity.
Selecting the external storage option tells Easy Transfer to create one file on the external device that contains all of your data and settings, as opposed to copying files individually across a cable or network. After the Easy Transfer file is created, you can use Easy Transfer to copy everything from that file to its proper place on the new PC. One drawback to Easy Transfer is that it will only copy browser settings and bookmarks from Internet Explorer. If you use another browser, such as Google Chrome or Firefox, you're out of luck.
PCTransfer from iOBIT is a free program from the makers of Advanced SystemCare. Like Easy Transfer, PCTransfer will move only data files and settings, not applications. Also, it does not support transfers over cable or network; only the external drive option is available. And unlike Microsoft's Easy Transfer, PCTransfer will copy browser settings and bookmarks from Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
Laplink PCMover and Other Options
Windows 10 does not have a native file transfer program like Easy Transfer, Instead, Microsoft has partnered with Laplink to include with Windows 10 a basic version of Laplink PCMover. The free Win 10 version moves only data and settings. The paid versions move applications, too. Prices range from $20 to $60 depending on how many user accounts and PCs you need to migrate. I've used paid versions of Laplink PCMover twice, and found it did an excellent job of moving my files, settings and programs from an older Windows system to a new computer.
The EaseUS Todo PCTrans Pro migration app gets high marks from users for simplicity and reliability. It migrates data, settings, and most applications. Don’t bother downloading the free “trial” version. It won’t transfer any of the files you select. A two-seat license costs $50 while the unlimited enterprise version is $300.
Zinstall is a migration tool that some readers have mentioned to me. But you may want to avoid it after reading this Cnet forum thread. A company that threatens to sue a customer because he asked for a refund is not on my list of business partners.
The tool you choose depends on how many programs you have installed on the old computer, how important they are to you, and whether or not you have the installation media (and license keys) for them. If you've installed a program from a CD, chances are good you still have that disc, and the license or activation key.
But when programs are downloaded from the Internet, quite often the "installer" file is discarded after the program is up and running. Likewise, if you purchased a downloadable program, you may have deleted the email containing your proof of purchase and activation key. Of course it's possible to download the program again (OldVersion.com may help here) and contact the vendor to see if they will re-issue your activation key. But all that can take many hours or days to complete.
Some users prefer a "clean" approach to a new computer, in which they copy only their personal files from a backup, and install software as needed. Others may opt to keep NOTHING on the new computer, and restore everything to the new PC from a backup image taken on the old computer. It's good to have choices.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 11 Nov 2016
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [HOWTO] Move Your Files To A New PC (Posted: 11 Nov 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved