How to transfer files from an old computer to a new one

Written by contributing writer Google
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If you have purchased a new computer, moving data from the old PC to a new PC can present quite a challenge. You could just drag individual files or folders to a thumb drive or you could burn them to a CD or DVD. However, the Windows operating system comes with the Windows Easy Transfer utility to make the task of moving files much easier.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Turn on your old computer.

  2. 2

    Click "Start," type "windows easy transfer" in the Search field at the bottom of the Start menu and press "Enter."

  3. 3

    Choose the method you will use to transfer the files. The options are an Easy Transfer cable, a network connection or an external storage device. To use the network option, both computers must be connected to the network.

  4. 4

    Choose which computer you are using -- your old computer with the data you want to move or the new computer where you will be moving the data.

  5. 5

    Windows will scan your computer to determine what can be transferred. Click "Customize" to choose what to and what not to transfer. When you have made your choices, click "Next."

  6. 6

    If you chose to transfer using an external storage device, you will be prompted to enter a password. You can protect the transfer file with a password or you leave the password blank. Click "Save."

    If you chose to transfer using a network connection, you will be given a Windows Easy Transfer key and you can skip to Step 8.

    If you chose to transfer directly through a cable, you will be directed to go to the new computer and open Windows Easy Transfer. You can then follow the on-screen directions for the transfer.

  7. 7

    If you chose to transfer with a external storage device, choose the location of the device where you want to save the file and click "Save."

  8. 8

    From your new computer, launch Windows Easy Transfer and click "Next."

  9. 9

    Choose a transfer option.

  10. 10

    Select "This is My New Computer."

  11. 11

    If you chose to transfer using an external device, connect your external hard drive or plug in your thumb drive. Click "Yes."

    If you chose to transfer over a network, you will be asked if you need to install Windows Easy Transfer on your old computer of if your old computer is running Windows 7. Make the appropriate choice.

  12. 12

    If you are using an external device, navigate to and select the transfer file you saved earlier and click "Open."

    If you are transferring through a network, click "Next," enter the Windows Easy Transfer key and click "Next."

Tips and warnings

  • Windows Easy Transfer will only copy data files, not program files. It also does not remove the files from your old computer.
  • The transfer file can be used as an archive for your data files.

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