Windows Easy Transfer
Planning an upgrade or building a new PC?
Need to transfer your files and settings from your old PC to your new one the simple way?
With ‘Windows Easy Transfer’ this daunting task can be greatly simplified and you’ll find that you won’t need to spend lots of time scratching around searching for all your files and data whilst collecting them up for transfer when rebuilding or migrating to your new PC.
Windows Easy Transfer allows you to easily copy across all of your documents, photos, videos, mp3s, settings, user accounts, browser favorites, email etc. from your old PC to your new PC.
New and Improved!
Previous versions had a reputation for poor reliability and usability.
With the advent of Microsoft Windows 7, an updated version of Easy Transfer has arrived and everything is just so much more intuitive and reliable with a handy file explorer to allow you to find and select your files far more easily.
Upgrading from Windows XP or Vista
If you are upgrading from Windows Vista to Microsoft Windows 7 then you already have Easy Transfer available to you from within your current operating system.
If you are presently using Microsoft Windows XP then you can access directly from your new Windows 7 installation disk.
Windows Easy Transfer with Vista
So, to access from Vista just go to the ‘Start’ button menu > ‘All Programs’ > ‘Accessories’ > ‘System Tools’ and you will find ‘Windows Easy Transfer’ listed in the menu.
If you cannot find Easy Transfer listed here or you wish to ensure that you are using the latest version then you will first need to determine whether or not you are running Windows Vista (whichever edition you have installed) with the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version.
The basic difference here being how your CPU handles your data and the amount of memory it can address.
You don’t need to know about this but you do need to determine which version of Windows Vista you are running as there are two versions of Windows Easy Transfer available for Vista and they are not interchangeable.
So, go to ‘Start’ button menu > ‘Computer’ > ‘System Properties’ and listed here under ‘System’ > ‘System Type’ should be either ’32-bit Operating System’ or 64-bit Operating System’.
To download the 32- bit version of Easy Transfer for Windows Vista go here: Windows Vista Easy Transfer 32-bit version
To download the 64-bit version of Easy Transfer for Windows Vista go here: Windows Vista Easy Transfer 64-bit version
Windows Easy Transfer with XP
With a Windows XP installation (Service Pack 2 and 3 update versions only) you also need to download the appropriate version of Windows Easy Transfer – 32-bit or 64-bit.
Again, to find out which version of Windows XP you are running go to:
‘Start’ > ‘Control Panel > ‘Performance and Maintenance’ > ‘System’
or if you have it set up for Classic View then go to:
‘Start’ > ‘Control Panel > ‘System’
You will now be presented with a ‘System Properties’ window and under the ‘General’ tab will be listed details of the operating ‘System:’
If you simply see ‘Microsoft Windows XP Professional Version [year]’ then you can safely assume that you are running the 32-bit version
If you see ‘Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Version [year]’ this means that you are running the 64-bit version.
To download the 32- bit version of Easy Transfer for Windows XP go here: Windows XP Easy Transfer 32-bit version
To download the 64-bit version of Easy Transfer for Windows XP go here: Windows XP Easy Transfer 64-bit version
64-bit to 32-bit version
Please note that you cannot transfer files from a 64-bit version of Windows to a 32-bit version – you will have to copy your files and data manually or by performing a ‘Backup and Restore’.
Saving Your Data
In order to use Windows Easy Transfer you are going to need to decide upon where you will be storing your files and settings prior to reloading them onto your new PC.
Small amounts of data can easily be accommodated on a USB flash drive – these are commonly available now in 8GB and higher.
If you require a lot more space then your best option is probably an external backup drive such as a USB hard disk or, if you have one, a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device attached to your home network.
Another method provided by Microsoft for performing a transfer if you are not simply rebuilding your old PC is to use the USB Easy Transfer Cable.
This makes a connection between a USB port on your old PC and another USB port on your new PC.
Note that this is a special USB to USB bridging cable and a standard USB cable cannot be used for performing a transfer using this method.
You can get these from most good PC retailers or online stores.Before deciding where to store all of the data you will need to determine exactly what you wish to transfer.
Selecting Your Files and Data
The Windows Easy Transfer wizard will scan your PC and list the files and settings that are available for transfer and will present this in a format that allows you to simply tick which items you wish to select such as My Documents, Desktop, My Favorites etc.
Note: - you can click on the advanced tab if you wish to transfer a whole User Account from your old PC or to map an entire drive from Windows XP.
Once this is completed and you are sure that you have selected everything you need you can select ‘Next’ and you will be asked if you wish to password protect your backup.
This isn’t actually necessary unless you feel that you are concerned about the security of your data.
Following this you will be asked to name your backup – give it something descriptive like ‘Old PC Backup’ and select the destination for where you are saving your data.
Off we go now!
Start the transfer and off it goes – this is going to take a little while by the way so be prepared for a wait!
This all depends upon how much data you are transferring – could be 15 minutes or less, could be several hours!
Eventually you will get a window pop up stating ‘Your transfer is complete’ and you will be able to see what was transferred.
If there is anything missing back this up manually yourself to another folder on your backup drive and remember that you will need to manually reinstall these files later to your new PC after you have reinstalled the main file backup with Windows Easy Transfer.
Reinstalling on your new PC
Now you can install Windows 7 to your new or current PC prior to reinstalling your data back-up.
To reinstall this data simply run Easy Transfer from within Microsoft Windows 7 by going to the ‘Start’ button menu > ‘All Programs’ > ‘Accessories’ > ‘System Tools’ and then clicking on ‘Windows Easy Transfer’.
From the ‘Welcome’ page you can select which method of transfer you are using and the backup medium then tell Windows Easy Transfer that this is your new PC.
You will then be asked if your files have already been saved to an external drive.
Ensure the drive is connected and then click ‘Yes’.
Select the storage type, browse to your backup file ‘Old PC Backup’ or whatever you have named it and select it.
Windows 7 will now present you with a window from where you can ‘Choose what to restore’.
Click on ‘Transfer’ to begin and after a long wait you will be presented with a confirmation window telling you that your transfer is complete.
You will now be able to ‘See what was transferred’.
Don’t forget to replace any files or folders that you had to copy manually.
Windows Easy Transfer - Wrapping up
Please note that Windows Easy Transfer does not allow you to copy or transfer programs between PCs.
Music files protected by Digital Rights can be transferred but you may need to re-obtain rights in order to play these again on your new PC and sometimes they are limited to the number of times you can restore your rights or the number of PCs that you can use the songs on.
The ‘Files and Settings Transfer Wizard’ was the previous method used by Windows XP to transfer files and settings between PCs.Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7 do not support this method and you should install Windows Easy Transfer for Windows XP first before proceeding with transferring your data between Windows XP and Windows Vista or Windows 7.
Similarly, Windows Easy Transfer does not support transferring of data using parallel or serial cables as a direct cable connection which was originally supported in Windows XP Files and Settings Transfer Wizard.
Note that the new improved version that arrived with the advent of Windows 7 supports multiple user profiles on a single PC and you will be able to copy across multiple family members’ user accounts or not as required.
This can be handy when say junior gets his own PC and you wish to copy across his user account to the new PC.
The Windows 7 version also incorporates a ‘Reports’ feature such that after completion of a transfer you can view a report detailing everything that was copied across to your new machine complete with a listing of all of your programs that were installed on your old PC!
Return from Windows Easy Transfer to PC Tips and Tricks homepgae