Migration from Old Computer to New Computer

(For Geeks Only)
By Joe Callison
14 October 2018

Windows Computers
So you have purchased a new Windows computer and now you are wondering how to move your files, and maybe even your settings and programs, from the old computer to the new one. If you only want to move your user files from the old computer to the new computer, you can either copy the folders containing those files from the old computer to a USB flash drive or external hard drive and then copy them from there to the new computer, or you could set up the computers on your home network to share files and copy them over the network connection.  More on the latter option later. The folders that are the most likely to contain user files are Documents, Downloads, Desktop, Music, Videos and Pictures. These folders will all be located in a folder with the user account name under the Users folder on the local hard drive, which can be found using the Windows File Explorer.

Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers include a program called Windows Easy Transfer, which was developed for Microsoft by Laplink, to move user accounts, user files, settings, email, and browser favorites to a new computer or new Windows installation on the same computer. It is also available as a free download from Microsoft for Windows XP and Vista. For Windows 10, the Windows 7 or 8 version can be copied to the Windows 10 computer as described in the following link. Windows Easy Transfer does not move programs, however you can purchase transfer software from Laplink with more features that does. If Windows Easy Transfer is adequate for your needs, the following link provides all of the information needed to obtain and use it:

If you want to also move programs, there are various versions of PCMover software by Laplink that can do the job. For help in choosing the right version for your needs, see:

The Express version of PCMover is the same as Windows Easy Transfer. The Home version is the lowest cost version that will also move programs, however it only moves information for the current logged in user. If you only have one user account to move, then it is all you need. The Windows Upgrade Assistant is only for moving information to a new Windows installation on the same computer rather than a new computer. The Professional version does everything. The PCMover software is only for use on the computer(s) initially installed on, so it does not pay to purchase more capability than you need. If you have multiple computers to migrate, you can save money buying 2-pack or greater downloads. Before buying a PCMover version, I recommend reading the User Guide for it just to make sure you understand the features and limitations for that version. For example, here is the user guide for the Home version:

Apple Computers
If you want to migrate user information from a Windows PC to an Apple computer, or between two Apple computers, that ability is built into the Apple operating system with an application called Migration Assistant. See the following Apple support link for details:
You can manually migrate only the user files instead by using the menu steps:
Go, Computer, open the MacOS drive location, open the Users folder, and open the user account.
The folders under the user account can then be copied to a USB flash drive or external hard drive and the files copied from there to the same folder locations on the new computer. 

Transferring Files over a Windows Home Network
Windows XP Home used MSHOME as the default home Workgroup name while Windows XP Professional and Vista used WORKGROUP as the default. In order to share resources with each other, they need to be set to the same Workgroup name, which can be anything you want to call it.  Windows 7 and 8 introduced HomeGroup as an alternative, which was initially supported in Windows 10 and then dropped. It is somewhat easier to set up than a Workgroup but does not support Windows XP or Vista networking, so multiple networking setups were required. File sharing between Windows 10 computers is fairly straightforward and explained in the following link:
As you can surmise by now, networking computers for file sharing with different versions of Windows can be very challenging for non-expert computer users. Fortunately, once both the old and new computers are on the same home network, the PCMover software will automatically discover and communicate between computers without any further network setup requirements.

Posted by Joe Callison

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