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How to transfer data from your old computer to Windows 8

By on October 25, 2012 | Last Updated: December 11, 2012 | Read 270,403 times.
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When you purchase a new computer, one of the most daunting tasks is figuring out how to transfer the data from your old computer to your new one. Windows comes with a feature called Windows Easy Transfer that makes this process a lot easier. The best and fastest way to do this is via an external USB hard drive. External hard drives cost around $50 dollars for 500GB drives, which will be suitable for most people. If you do not wish to spend the money on the new hard drive, then you can use a network to transfer the files, but that gets to be a little tricky. For the purpose of this guide we will be using an external hard drive.

Note: Windows Easy Transfer will only transfer data such as your Desktop contents, Pictures, Videos, Documents, etc. It will not be able to transfer programs that will be in a working state on the new computer. Any programs that you wish to use on the new Windows 8 computer must be reinstalled.

If your old computer is using Windows 7, then you have Windows Easy Transfer already installed on your computer. If your old computer is using Windows XP or Windows Vista, though, you first need to download and install Windows Easy Transfer before we begin. You can download Windows Easty Transfer for XP and Vista from the following links:

Windows Easy Transfer for XP

Windows Easy Transfer for Vista

This tutorial will first guide you through the steps that you need to perform on the old computer. This will entail saving your existing data onto the external hard drive. The second part of the tutorial will then discuss what you need to do to import your old data to the Windows 8 computer.

 

Steps to do on the old computer:

 

First connect the external drive to your old computer. Then, if you are using Windows XP or Windows Vista you must first download and install Windows Easy Transfer onto your computer. Once the program is installed, it will automatically start. If you are using Windows 7, click on the Start button and type Windows Easy Transfer and then click on its search result when it appears. Windows Easy Transfer should now be open as shown below.

 

Easy Windows Transfer

 

Click on the Next button and you will be at a screen where you will select how you wish to transfer your data.

 

Select Transfer Method

 

Click on the An external hard disk or USB flash drive and you will now go to a screen where Windows will ask you if this is your new or old computer. Please click on the This is my old computer button.

You will now be at a screen where Windows Easy Transfer is scanning your computer for data. When it has finished it will display a list of all users on the computer and how much data is expected to be transferred.

 

Select Data

 

As we are upgrading to Windows 8, which is very different, you should not transfer any Windows setting. To remove the Windows settings option, click on the Customize link under each user and under Shared Items. This will bring up a small screen similar to the following.

 

Data that will be transferred

 

Remove the check mark next to Windows Settings. If you wish to see what folders will be copied over, you can also click on the Advanced button, which will allow you to browse through the data that will be transferred. If there is data that you do not wish to transfer, simply clear the boxes next to that data by clicking on them. If the box is white, it means that the data will not be transferred. When you are satisfied with your selections, click on the little red X button in the upper right hand corner of the above screen. Then click on the Next button.

You will be brought to a screen where you will be asked for a password to use on your data file. If you wish to use a password to protect your file, enter your password and then click on the Next button.

You will now be prompted for a location where you wish to save your file. You should double-click on the drive letter associated with the external drive that is plugged into your computer. Once you double-click on the drive, click on the Save button.

Windows will now start saving your selected data to the external drive. This may take a while so please be patient.

 

Saving Files

 

When the data is finished saving, Windows Easy Transfer will let you know. Now click on the Next and you will be at the final instruction screen.

 

Finished Saving

 

Click on the Next button and close the screen. Please shutdown your old computer and unplug the external drive. Please proceed with the following steps that you need to perform on your new Windows 8 computer.

 

Steps to do on the new Windows 8 Computer:

Start Windows Easy Transfer by typing Windows Easy Transfer at the Windows Start Screen. When it appears in the search results, click on it. Windows Easy Transfer will now open and you should click on the Next button. You will now be shown a screen where you will be asked how you wish to transfer the data.

 

Select Transfer Method

 

Please click on the An external hard disk or USB flash drive option. At the next screen when it asks if this is new or old computer, please click on the This is my new PC button. Windows Easy Transfer will now show a screen asking if your data is already saved on your external drive.

 

Is the data ready?

 

Make sure your external drive is plugged into the Windows 8 computer and then click on the Yes button. Windows will now open a browse screen and show you all the available drives on your computer. Double-click on the drive where you saved your old data.

 

Select saved data file

 

You should see, as shown in the window above, a file called Windows Easy Transfer - Items from old computer. Left click on this file to select it and then click on the Open button. A new screen will open showing the users data that will be copied to the new Windows 8 computer.

 

What to transfer screen

 

The first thing you should do on this screen is click on the Advanced Options button. This will open a screen showing you the mapping between the old users and new users.

 

Advanced transfer options

 

On the above screen you can specify which account on the new machine the user's data from the old machine should go. If the account names are the same, you should not have to change anything here. If you click on the Map Drive tab, you can also specify which drive on the new machine the data from the drives on the machine should go. When you are satisfied with your settings, click on the Save button.

We will back to the Choose what to transfer screen. Just like we were able to customize what we were saving on the old computer, we can customize what we wish to transfer to the new computer. To do this, click on the Customize option for each and every user or Shared Items. When you are satisfied with what you are transferring click on the Transfer button.

 

Transferring data from old PC

 

When the data has finished transferring you will be shown a new screen with two options. These options are:

See what was transferred

When you click on this option, Windows Easy Transfer will display a report of all the data and items that were transferred to your new Windows 8 computer.

See a list of apps you might want to install on your new PC

When you click on this option, Windows Easy Transfer will display a report of the applications that were installed on your old computer. You can then use this list to determine if you wish to install any of them again on your new computer.

When you are ready you can then click on the Close button to close Windows Easy Transfer. Your data has now been successfully transferred to your new Windows 8 computer.

 

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