Moving all your music, videos, documents and more to a new PC can take a lot of effort. We explain the easiest method
Q I have a Windows XP PC and I use Acronis True Image Home 2011 to perform regular, full backups of the C drive. I am about to change to a Windows 7 laptop and I wondered if there was a way I can use Acronis to transfer all my settings and programs, or does everything need to be re-installed?
A While Acronis True Image Home 2011 is a useful and powerful tool, it has not really been designed for the purpose you are suggesting. It is great program to use for backing up the contents of a hard disk and restoring it when necessary, but you will need to look elsewhere to move programs and customisations.
One option that will be available to you free of charge when you get your new laptop is Windows Easy Transfer – the only extra thing you will need is an external USB hard disk, memory key or transfer cable. You will find this handy utility in the Start menu. Launch it and click Next followed by, for example, the ‘An external hard disk or USB flash drive’ option. Click the ‘This is my new computer’ link, and then click No to indicate that you have not yet collected data from your old computer. Click ‘I need to install it now’, plug in the USB drive and then select ‘USB flash drive’.
Leave the program running on the Windows 7 PC and connect the USB drive to the Windows XP computer. Navigate the drive’s contents using Windows Explorer and double-click the migwiz.exe file in the x86 folder. Click Next, followed by the ‘An external hard disk or USB flash drive’ and then click ‘This is my old computer’. The utility will scan the computer and offer you the chance to select which files and settings you would like to transfer; these can be saved to the USB drive.
Return to the Windows 7 computer and this time click Yes to indicate that you have already collected data from the old PC. Select the drive and follow the on-screen instructions displayed by the wizard to copy the data into place.
However, Windows Easy Transfer will not move applications, so a different program is needed. There are plenty of commercial tools that can do this job for you (PC Mover, for example, costs £20) but, unless there are a large number of applications to move, you may be better off manually installing the software on to the new computer.
This is often the better option anyway, as you can be ruthless about what stays and what goes – and Windows always enjoys a fresh start.
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