After buying a new PC, you are obviously excited about the fresh and sleek hardware, the higher processing speed and every other advanced feature. Unfortunately, all your important files, applications and favurite settings still sit on your old machine. Migrating all the data from the old PC to the new piece of hardware can be a challenge, yet you wouldn’t like to lose any of them. Luckily, there are many ways and tools for transferring data from your one PC to the other.
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Whether you need to migrate your music folder, photos, documents or settings, this post teaches you how to migrate data from your old computer to the new one. You can choose the most suitable method based on the PC platforms, system version and available tools.
Transfer Data from Old to New PC Manually
The following manual methods enable you to copy files from the old PC and paste on your new PC.
Method 1: Using External Storage Media to Migrate Data
This is one of the most popular method of file transfer across PCs. You only need a USB flash disk or an external hard drive.
- Plug the external storage device into the old computer and copy/paste all the files you need from the PC.
- Unplug the flash drive/ external HDD and connect the drive to the new PC and reverse the process; paste the data on the new machine.
- If your new computer has a SATA slot or eSATA port, you can connect the hard drive of the original PC to the target PC.
- The HDD will appear on your target computer so you can transfer items over SATA. This option is faster than USB.
Method 2: Using a Transfer Cable to Migrate Data
Another faster way of moving data to your new computer is using a transfer cable. The cable has two USB 3.0 male connectors, which plugs into both PCs. It also comes with software that automates the process of migrating your settings, user profiles and folders/files.
The only limitation is that you need professional software to transfer apps to the new PC and it does not keep a backup of your files during the transfer.
Sharing Files over LAN/ Wireless Network (Wi-Fi)
In the past Windows users could share resources such as files and printers with users within the same private network. However, Microsoft discontinued the feature from Windows 10 1803 build. The later versions of the OS use different file sharing options, offering the same experience but different settings.
If both of your old and new machine are connected to the same network, you can access a drive of the original PC from the target computer and then copy the files to a local drive. To get started with this method you need to configure the “Network & Sharing” settings.
How to Enable File Sharing Over a Network
- Open the “Control Panel,” go to “Network and Sharing Centre” and then click the “Change advanced sharing…” link.
- Ensure that the network discovery and file/ printer sharing options are turned on.
- Open the File Explorer and on the left sidebar, you will see the connected devices under the “Network” folder.
- To share a file/ folder, right-click it, go to “Properties” and switch to the “Sharing” tab.
- Click the “Share” button and on the next pop-up select the old PC from the list of users. Click the “Add” button to add the user.
- If you expand the network folder and then the original PC, you will see a list of the shared files, which you can access from the target PC.
Transfer Files Using the Windows 10 Share Feature
- Open the Windows 10 Settings app, go to the “System” settings and on the left sidebar menu, click the “Shared experiences” option.
- On the right side panel, click the switch under “Nearby sharing” to enable Windows to share the content of your old PC over a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection.
- Enable the “Nearby sharing” feature on the new PC as well. Now you can easily transfer content from your old machine to the new device using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
- To share an item, open the file explorer and navigate to the folders containing the files you want to transfer.
- Select the files and on the upper left corner of the window, click the share icon.
- This will open the share pop-up and start looking for nearby devices, select the new device on the list and follow the screen instructions to complete the process.
Using Cloud Storage or Web Transfer Methods
This option allows you to migrate your data through the internet. You need to upload the data to cloud storage service and download it on your new PC. Cloud storage services such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox works the best.
- Download and the cloud storage app on your original PC and drop all the data you need to migrate.
- Sign into the same account from the new computer and download the files from the cloud storage.
- On Windows 10 to move a folder/ file to OneDrive, right-click the item and select “Move to OneDrive”.
Your new PC may not be convenient without your valued data stored on the old PC. Fortunately, there are many ways of migrating content from the old to the new computer and your choice can only be limited by what you need to transfer and the tools you have. The above list is not exhaustive; there is a countless third-party PC-to-PC file transfer solution to help you get the work done.