Windows Easy Transfer supports transfers using any of the following methods:
USB Easy Transfer Cable: A dedicated, high-speed cable used to transfer your settings from one PC to another. Belkin offers a cable capable of moving 30GB of data an hour and it costs $28.99 at Amazon. In our example below, well upgrade an existing PC, so we wont need the cable.
Network Connection: This works like the USB cable except it runs over your existing Ethernet network.
External Hard Disk or USB Flash Drive: These drives are relatively inexpensive and, ideally, you should already be using these for regular backups. The only requirement is that the drive needs to be large enough to store all of your data. Use an external drive that is at least the same size as your systems hard drive. If you have a 120GB HD then your external drive should be at least 120GB.
Im going to walk you through the process using an external hard drive because its the least complicated, arguably the fastest and by far the safest. That said, Microsoft has complied a very thorough walk through of each option.
You need to do a couple of things before we start the transfer. First, to use Windows Easy Transfer you must have administrative rights on the PC. Next, the version of Easy Transfer built into Windows XP and Windows Vista wont work with Windows 7, so you need to download and install the updated program to your current system.
Windows Easy Transfer is available for both the 32 and 64-bit editions of Windows XP (SP2 and higher) and Windows Vista (SP1 and higher). Just download and install the appropriate one for your system.
With the software now installed, we can begin.
- Connect your external HD to your system
- Launch Windows Easy Transfer by clicking Start/All Programs/Windows Easy Transfer 7. When it starts press Next. On this screen select the transfer method you want to use. Select An external hard drive or USB flash drive.
- When the software asks Which computer are you using now? select This is my old computer. The program will begin scanning your system. When it completes its scan, you can click on the customize link to review or modify the current selections. Once satisfied with your selections, press Next.
- Here you have the option of assigning a password to the transfer file. Press Save to continue.
- Select the location for your transferred files. This would be your external HD. Press Transfer to begin the file creation process. Note: Do not use your computer during the transfer!
- When the process completes you see this message: These files and settings have been saved for your transfer. Click Next. On this screen Windows Easy Transfer displays the file name and location of the Easy Transfer file you just created. The file name should be Windows Easy Transfer Items from old computer.MIG. Click Next, and then click Close.
- Verify that the file saved to your external hard disk, and then disconnect the device from your computer.
At this point go ahead and install Windows 7 onto your system. Ensure that all of your device drivers are functional and run Windows Update. Once thats done, reconnect your external HD to the computer to complete the data transfer process. If you have new Windows 7 system as opposed to an updated one, just connect your external HD to it and proceed.
- Click Start. In the search box, type Easy Transfer. At the top of the list of results click Windows Easy Transfer.
- When it starts press Next and select the transfer method you want to use. As before, select An external hard drive or USB flash drive. On this next screen though, select This is my new computer.
- This screen will now ask Has Windows Easy Transfer already saved your files from your old computer to an external hard disk or USB flash drive? Select Yes and browse to the files saved location. If you assigned the file a password, enter it now and press Next to continue.
- Verify that your accounts are checked and press Transfer to begin the restoration. Once your restoration completes, youll have the option to review the Easy Transfer Reports. These reports provide detailed information on what was transferred to your new system. The report is broken down into two sections; the Transfer report and the Program report. The Transfer report illustrates exactly what was transferred; user accounts, documents, total number of files, original and new file locations, etc. The Program report tells which Vista programs are no longer in Windows 7, applications that could not be identified and most importantly, a list of applications installed on your old system along with links to find and download them.
- Finally, close the application and restart your PC to complete the process.
Ronald Pacchiano is a contributing writer for SmallBusinessComputing.com.
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