Now that you bought your new Vista computer you may be wondering how are you going to transfer all your data from the old XP computer to the new Windows Vista computer. Not to worry we have you covered. We will go over the free Windows easy transfer already installed on your computer and a cheap alternative method.

First off the easiest method to transfer files will cost you around 50 bucks. The program is called Laplink PCmover. This program is very simple to use and with the download version you can get started right away. The actually box version will cost 10 dollars more but you also get a hard copy of the software. I tell everyone who is not technically inclined to use this method because of how easy it is. It is also the ONLY way to transfer programs like office over to the new computer with out having to re-install it.  This is the only software suit on the market that will transfer over programs.

( Great news! Laplink contacted us and gave us a $15 dollar off coupon. This coupon was still good the last time we tested it in Aug 2010! Use the code S6ch2 to get the discount CLICK HERE )

The free method is a little more hands on. Windows Easy Transfer lets you decide what files you want to transfer over. This free method will NOT move program files over to your new computer but will transfer over all your files and user settings.

To start the Transfer wizard log into the computer you want to transfer files from and click the windows start button on the bottom left of the screen. Then select “All Programs” “Accessories” “System Tools” “File and Transfer Wizard”

What method should I use?

You will have several options and the right one will very. If you have a network setup then I would use that. If you have a transfer cable then that will work good as well. The other options are burning the data over to discs or copy it to another hard drive.

Easy Transfer Cable

An Easy Transfer Cable is a unique USB cable that allows you to connect two computers together using your USB ports. (most likely you old system has a USB port, but check to be sure). This method is one of the best because of how simple it is. The cost of the EASY TRANSFER CABLE is around $25-50 bucks ( Ebay has IT ). This method will work great transferring files from XP to Vista or XP to XP. For this method you will start the transfer wizard on the new computer. Do not plug the cable in until you are asked to. Just follow the on screen prompts and do what it says. If you end up going this route just purchase Laplink PCmover because you get a transfer cable free with your order. That alone is the cost of the whole software package.


Connect both computers to your network, start Windows Easy Transfer on the new computer (the computer to which you want to transfer files and settings), follow the instructions. If you want to transfer the files over with out copying them (I think the beter way to go) you will need to get the transfer KEY from the new Computer and start the wizard on the old one and type that key in. It is not a bad idea to make a copy and just send all the files over. This may help in the future incase you loose files and no longer have the old system.

DVDs or CD

This option is straight forward. You simply start the transfer wizard on the old system and select DVD/CD. Windows Easy Transfer will let you know how many discs you will need for the transfer. Be sure to check that your media can be used on both machines. For instance does your new computer have DVD/Cd ( 99% of the time it will but never hurts to check). Once all the data is copies over start Windows Easy Transfer on your new computer and just follow the install instructions for transferring from a disc. If you are transferring data from 2000 or XP over to Vista you will not be able to use DVD media.

External hard disk ( Hard drive or USB memory stick

Start Windows Easy Transfer on your new computer (the computer to which you want to transfer files and settings), and then follow the instructions for using a USB flash drive or an external hard disk. During the transfer process, Windows Easy Transfer will estimate how much disk space is needed to transfer your selections. If you use a USB flash drive, try to use one with enough storage space for the entire transfer. If your USB flash drive isn’t large enough to transfer everything at once, you can copy as many files as it will hold, transfer those files to the new computer, and then reconnect the drive to the old computer and repeat the process.

So what do I transfer over?

You have the option of transferring all user accounts, files, and settings to the new computer or transfer your user account, files, and settings only. You can also use an advanced option to transfer specific folders.

“All user accounts, files and setting” This will transfer over all users, files and settings. If you are on a domain you must set that up first. If you do not know what a domain is then you most likely are not on one.

“My user account, files and setting only”. This option will just transfer over your user account info, files and settings not other users.

“Advanced options”. This is the option you want for more advanced features such as only transferring a select number of user’s accounts, files and setting. You will also be able to select the folders you want to transfer over as well as program settings. Be sure and install the programs you want first on the new computer before running the transfer on the new computer. If you do not then the programs setting will not transfer over.

If you read all this and still have questions or are just confused then I strongly urge you to either call a pro or just pay the 50 bucks and get Laplink PCmover.

We should also mention that it is always important to backup your data.  Personally I use Mozy.  It’s an online data backup service.  They have a free 2 gig account or you can pay 5 bucks a month and have unlimitted online storage.  It’s well worth a look.  Check out Mozy Here.

data migration | file transfer software

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