How to Transfer Files to Your New Computer

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Transferring files from PC to PC can be done quickly and safely without losing any data in the process.

There’s nothing like getting a new, reliable computer that lets you complete tasks, run new applications, and play games at breakneck speeds. However, nothing is more of a pain when you have to move all your music, pictures, documents, and other files from your old computer to your new one.

Luckily you don’t have to beg and bribe your friends to help with this move. There are many ways to share files and transfer programs from an old computer to a new computer while keeping data safe, easy, and safe.

The DIY Approach: Manually Transferring Files

If you’re more of a hands-on thing, one of the easiest ways to get a new computer preloaded with all your files is to move them manually. There are several ways to do this.

First, plug your old computer into a USB flash drive or external hard drive, which usually costs $30 to several hundred dollars, depending on the storage capacity, speed, and functionality you need. Simply copy your files to the external drive, eject the storage device, plug the storage device into the new computer, and then reverse the process to load the files onto the new computer. Tip: Some computers have an eSATA port that is specifically designed for external hard drives and moves data faster than USB ports.

If you don’t want to buy an external hard drive, you can also move and save your files to the cloud—using an Internet-based storage service, such as Microsoft OneDrive*, Google Drive*, or Dropbox*. You can also drop and drag files from your old computer to the cloud service, then drag and drop files on your new computer. These services are often free for a small amount of storage, then incur a monthly subscription fee as your storage increases.

Speeding Things Up: Using Transfer Cables

If you find using the cloud time-consuming, or if you’d like to avoid a monthly subscription to a cloud service, an alternative option is to move your files with a transfer cable. The cable plugs into the port on your new computer and your old computer. Typically, the cable comes with software that automates file transfers when upgrading from an old Windows* 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, or XP computer to a new computer. Transfer cables work faster than external hard drives because the old computer connects directly to the new computer while eliminating an intermediary (external drive).

Use Transfer (PC): Using All-All-In-One Software

Earlier versions of Windows provided a service called Easy Transfer* that allowed users to move files between computers easily. Unfortunately, this application was removed in Windows* 10. But don’t worry: Microsoft partnered with vendor Laplink PC Mover* to duplicate the functionality offered by Easy Transfer. This vendor’s PCMover Express* transfers data and settings from a computer running Windows* XP to a computer running Windows* 8.1 or later. The service costs around $15. PC Mover Professional costs more, but it also allows you to move your applications around. If there’s a problem, both services offer 24-7 assistance.

This approach costs money, but it will automate the process and can guide you in making sure you don’t overlook files that may be located in unfamiliar places on your old computer.
Multiple Operating Systems: Transfer Files from Mac to PC or PC to Mac

You can manually transfer files between a Mac and a PC the same way you transfer them between a PC and an external drive, cloud service, or home network. Or you can let your computer do the work of your personal assistant for moving and sharing files: Mac OS X Lion and later operating systems provide a nifty tool called Migration Assistant that transfers your contacts, calendar, email accounts, and more from your PC and stores your files. this file in the appropriate place on your new Mac.

Cleanup: Keeping Your Old Data Out of the Wrong Hands

After transferring files, you should put away your old computer for at least a few weeks in case you miss any files. However, if you are selling, disposing of, or giving away your old computer, make sure all your personal data and information are deleted. Just transferring files is not enough. Even deleting files or reformatting disks can still allow hackers to steal information they shouldn’t have, like your account information or old emails. Fortunately, free data destruction programs, such as Darik’s Boot And Nuke (DBAN), can wipe everything on your old computer to ensure that no traces (data) are left behind.

Stay Protected: Back Up Your New Device

Now that you’re used to moving files from your old PC, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a continuous backup system in case you ever have to restore these files again. Windows* 8 and above provides a handy feature called, File History which allows you to automatically and regularly back up your files to an external hard drive. This feature ensures that your data will not become history if the worst happens.

If you have a Mac, you have a variety of options and platforms for backing up, from iCloud to programs like Time Machine, depending on the version of OS X you’re running.

Remember: While there are many easy ways to move and share data, you can only move data that you can access, so make sure your documents, photos, and other valuable data are protected even if your computer is lost or damaged. It’s easy to do it automatically, and it ensures your next (computer) move will go smoothly.

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