If you've had your PC a long time, the prospect of switching all your files, folders and data seamlessly and safely may be daunting. We show you how easy it is
Many people hang on to their PCs for years, perhaps upgrading here and there and staying on top of any maintenance issues to ensure it continues to run as well as possible. However, there comes a point when nothing more can be done to revive an ageing computer – so it’s time for a new one.
Your shiny new PC will be faster and better in all sorts of ways, but switching to a new computer does leave you with the problem of how to transfer all the important stuff from the old PC to the new one – the innumerable files and folders that store your digital photos, music tracks, videos and who knows what else.
Fortunately, this really isn’t as difficult or irksome as you might imagine. However, there are several different options available, depending on how much data needs to be transferred.
They’re all fairly straightforward, but choosing the right method will smooth the process. In this article we’ll explore a selection of the quickest and easiest options for transferring data from an old to a new Windows PC.
Sensible advice for any PC user is to take regular backups of important files and data, preferably on to an external hard disk. If you’re already doing that then transferring your files on to a new PC is a piece of cake: simply disconnect the hard disk from the old computer, plug it in to the new one and just copy the files on to the new computer.
It might take a little while, depending on how much data is stored on the hard disk, but this is certainly one of the easiest options for transferring data between any two computers. It’s also possible to take the hard disk from your old computer and attach it to a new one (see below under the heading Caddy Shack for more details).
Not everyone heeds that counsel though, so the transfer process may need to begin from scratch. Of course, one option would to burn files on to one or more CDs or DVDs and then copy them across by inserting the media into a new PC’s drive.
However, CDs and DVDs are a lot slower than hard disks, so this option could take quite a while – especially if you have dozens of gigabytes’ worth of music, photos and videos that need to be transferred.
Alternatively, if you have just a few important files or photos then it may be feasible to do it all with a plug-in USB memory key; these are very cheap nowadays (Dabs.com, for example, offers a 16GB model for £12), so could be a cheap-and-cheerful option for people who don’t have huge amounts of data to shift.
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