Moving Your Files To A New PC
Great, you got a new PC! Now that it’s out of the box and powered on, it’s time for you to move into it and make it your own. That means moving your personal files, customized settings, and the applications that you have come to depend on, from your old computer to the new one. 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 your documents, photos, data files and even settings stored in the Windows registry. There are several 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. You can copy Windows Easy Transfer from an older computer to a Windows 10 system, or search online and download it. But since it's no longer supported, and it doesn't transfer installed programs, we'll take a pass.
PCTransfer from iOBIT is a free program from the makers of Advanced SystemCare. PCTransfer will move your documents, data files, browser bookmarks, system settings, photos, and Outlook emails to a new Windows system. The web page for this software is a bit sparse on details. It does claim to transfer the data on your PC to a removable hard drive or new PC "with just one click." It doesn't say if transfers via cable or network are possible.
And again, it does not move your applications (installed programs). We're looking for something that will do the whole job, including the transfer of programs. Reinstalling all the software you've got is a tedious job. You'll need to find the installation media, and licenses for any software you've purchsed. So pass, again.
Laplink PCMover and Other Options
Windows 10 does not have a native file transfer program like Easy Transfer. Instead, Microsoft recommends Laplink PCMover for the job. The free Express version moves only data and settings. But PCMover Professional ($30) and PCMover Ultimate ($62) will transfer everything, including your installed programs. The Ultimate version comes with a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Cable for faster transfers. 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 applications. Don’t bother downloading the free “trial” version. It only moves up to 500MB of data, and only 2 applications from one PC to another. A two-seat Pro license costs $50 and has the ability to transfer apps between local disks or from one PC to another. It can also rescue data from a damaged Windows PC.
Zinstall is a data 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 would not be on my list of software partners. It's also quite expensive -- the Zinstall WinWin program costs $119.
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 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.
You may run into an issue if the version you purchased is no longer available from the vendor. OldVersion.com may help here, as they have a vast archive of not-the-latest-version software. WordPerfect 5.1, for example, (circa November 1989), has been downloaded over 7500 times. The OldVersion website is slow, and sometimes you may see an Error 500 or 502 error. Refresh the page and it will eventually get you there.
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 21 Oct 2020
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Moving Your Files To A New PC (Posted: 21 Oct 2020)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved