How to Transfer Applications From Laptop to Laptop

Updated April 17, 2017

You can transfer application files from an old laptop to a new one or from a work laptop to a home one, or you can share files with a friend. Simply use an external hard drive or a flash drive to copy and transfer application files and programs from one laptop to another. First locate the correct application file and then simply copy it to the device. The size of the external hard drive or flash drive must be large enough to accommodate the size of the program files you want to transfer.

Power on the laptop from which you want to transfer applications. Click "Start" and "Computer." Double-click the "OS:C" drive under "Hard Disk Drives." A list of your hard-drive contents will appear.

Double-click the "Program Files" folder to open it. Click on the application folder you want to transfer.

Click "Organize" and click "Folder and Search Options." Click the "View" tab in the "Folder Options" dialogue box and uncheck the "Hide Extensions for Known File Types" box. Click "OK."

Connect the external hard drive or flash drive to your computer's USB port using a USB cable, if applicable. The computer will recognise the device. In the "Autoplay" dialogue box, click "Open Folder to View Files."

Click the ".exe" executable file of the application in the "Program Files" window. It will have the name of the application on it, such as "PROGRAM.exe."

Click on the "PROGRAM.exe" file and drag it to the open folder for the external hard drive or flash drive. The file will copy to the device. Repeat this step with other application ".exe" files in "Program Files," if applicable.

Close the external device window. Click the icon in the "System Tray" and click "Eject." Remove the external hard drive or flash drive from the laptop. Connect it to the second laptop as outlined in Step 4.

Click "Start" on the second laptop. Click "Documents" to open the "Documents" window. Click on the "PROGRAM.exe" files on the external device and drag them to the "Documents" window. Wait for the files to copy.

Double-click on the "PROGRAM.exe" files to download and install the applications.


Copy only the main "PROGRAM.exe" file to the external hard drive or flash drive. The other application files are created after the ".exe" file is installed.


Do not transfer copy-protected files.

Things You'll Need

  • External hard drive or flash drive
  • External hard drive USB cable (optional)
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About the Author

Meg North has written professionally since 2008 as an online copywriter for the Sturbridge Yankee Workshop. She also published a short story in "The Maine Scholar." North has a Bachelor of Arts in media writing from the University of Southern Maine.