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Friday, January 21, 2011

Move Files to New Computer with Windows Easy Transfer

Upgrading to a new computer is easier than ever before using Windows Easy Transfer. This feature of Windows transfers your files, settings, and user account information from your old machine to the new one.

It works with an Easy Transfer Cable, over a Network, or an external storage device like a flash drive or hard drive.

There are two methods for transferring files from an old machine (Windows XP) to a new machine (Windows 7):

  • Using the Easy Transfer Wizard to install the software in Windows XP.
  • Downloading the Easy Transfer Wizard from Microsoft’s website.

This guide shows how to transfer information from an old Windows XP computer to a new Windows 7 machine using a flash drive.


  1. On the NEW COMPUTER Click on Start and type "easy transfer" without the quotes in the search bar. Choose the Windows Easy Transfer option as highlighted in this example to bring up the Windows Easy Transfer wizard.



  2. The Welcome screen shows information regarding the wizard and what can be transferred. Click on Next to begin the transfer wizard.


  3. Choose An External Hard Disk or USB Flash Drive and have a flash drive ready.
    Consider how much space is being used on your old computer.
    Make sure that the flash drive or external hard drive has enough free space to hold your information.


  4. Choose This Is My New Computer as files will be transferred to this computer.


  5. Choose No here to create the installation files on the flash drive.
    If you chose to download the installation files, you can skip to step 11.


  6. Choose I Need To Install It Now so that you can create an installation file on your flash drive.


  7. Plug in the flash drive and choose USB flash drive so that it will create the installation media.


  8. Select the flash drive from the list. Note that the name and letter might vary. It will often be named after the manufacturer of the flash drive. Example: usbflash (E:)


  9. Wait a moment as the program copies the installation files to the flash drive. This process should only take a minute.



  10. Click on Next, remove the flash drive and leave the window open.
    To prevent data loss, it's recommended to remove your flash drive by opening Computer, right clicking on the drive and choosing Eject, then unplugging the flash drive.

  11. At this point in the process it is time to move over to the Windows XP computer, the Old Machine. When you plug the drive in you may see a screen similar to this. Install Easy Transfer on the old PC.
  12. If it does not start, you may have to open it manually. To do this click on Start, then click on My Computer and then double-click on the flash drive.



  13. Windows Easy Transfer will install on the Windows XP computer and prepare to run. This process should only take a couple of minutes to complete.


  14. Next, the program will scan the system to find out what can be transferred.
    Depending on the amount of data and settings, this process may take a few minutes. The program will check all the account settings as well as shared directories for files and settings to transfer.


  15. Select the users to copy and click on Next. Make sure the flash drive is large enough to store the transfer file.

    Note the bottom right corner of the screen where it says "Easy Transfer file size: 2.5GB" in the above example. In your case, it may be more or less. Make sure your flash drive has enough free space to hold that data.

    You can check how much free space is available by clicking on Start, then opening My Computer, right clicking on the flash drive and choosing Properties.


  16. If desired, create a password to secure the transfer data, and then click on Start.
    A password is used to secure the transfer information, just in case the flash drive is lost or stolen. Keep this password handy or you will have to restart the whole process.




  17. Select the flash drive and save the file to the drive.
    Saving the file may take some time based on the amount of data transferred. Be patient as it transfers the files on to your flash drive.


  18. Click on Next, then click on Close and remove the flash drive.
    To prevent data loss, it is recommended to remove your flash drive by opening Computer, right clicking on the drive and choosing Eject, then unplugging the flash drive.


Now it's time to move back to the Windows 7 computer, the New Machine. Plug the flash drive in to the new computer and choose Yes.

If this window is no longer on your screen, repeat steps 1-5 and then jump back to this point.




  1. Select the flash drive and choose the transfer file saved on the old machine.
  2. At step 16, the files were saved on to the flash drive. Open those files in this window.
  3. If you created a password to protect your file earlier, enter it here.


  4. Check the user files and settings to transfer to the new computer, and then click Transfer. In most cases, you will want to have everything checked.


  5. Wait as the items transfer. This process could take several minutes or more, depending on the amount of information.


  6. The transfer is complete. Click on Close, the computer will restart. At this point, all of the files and settings you chose have been transferred.

  7. Click See what was transferred to get a report on the files and settings that were moved from the old computer. Click See a list of programs you might want to install on your new computer to get a report on the applications that would need to be installed in order to work correctly. Shortcuts that were on the old computer desktop may not work correctly until the application that they are associated with are installed on the new computer.

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