Why have to start from scratch when buying a new PC, if you can easily transfer existing data to a new PC?
Transferring data is quite an everyday thing when it comes time to replace your PC or loyal mobile companion with the latest game. On mobile devices, the process is much easier than on computers, as the amount of data is smaller, and at the same time, smartphones have pre-built features for easy data transfer.
For desktop and laptop computers, there are also quite a few ways and features to easily transfer data from an old device to a new one. Let’s take a look at them.
Use OneDrive to transfer data
OneDrive cloud service is on the list of easy ways to backup and transfer data. If you have a Microsoft account, 5 GB of storage is available by default. OneDrive is built right into Windows, which makes sense to use it.
However, 5 GB is too little for the amounts of data we store today on computers. Microsoft offers packages where understandably more space is available. For 100 GB of space you will have to deduct 2 euros per month, for 1 TB you will have to subscribe to an annual Microsoft 365 Personal subscription of 69 euros, which also includes access to all popular Office programs and Skype. There’s also the ultimate Microsoft 365 Family package, which for 99€ per year gives you a total of 6TB of storage (1TB per person), and access to Office and Skype software. Moving files and folders between computers is very easy with OneDrive. All you need is an internet connection and patience because the process will take some time to complete its work.
External hard drives and data transfer
More and more users are using external solutions to securely store data (NAS, external hard drives…), especially laptop owners who have limited storage space upgrades. An external hard drive allows you to easily copy data, and it can also act as a backup storage in case of data loss. You will usually need to perform the process manually, but there are also quite a few free and paid programs available that will speed up the entire copying process.
Simply connect an external hard drive to your old computer, select the required files and folders, copy them to your hard drive, connect it to your new computer, and repeat the process. You can only use an external hard drive to download files and folders, as this will prevent you from downloading Windows settings and applications. Make sure the data is copied to a healthy hard drive. You can find out how to check it here.
Alternatively, you can clone entire Windows to an external hard drive (more on this below).
Use a data cable to transfer data
If storage in the cloud or on a physical disk is not for you, a relatively inexpensive and very easy option is available. You can get a Windows portable cable for a few dozen euros from all the top stock retailers. It mostly consists of two USB-A 3.0 male ports that plug into both devices. Once connected, the included software will guide you through transferring files, settings, user accounts, and folders.
Older computers don’t have USB 3.0 ports, so you’ll need to look for a USB 2.0 data cable in that case.
Use PCmover to transfer data
A decade ago, in the era of Windows 7 and 8, Microsoft introduced a service called Easy Transfer, which allowed users to transfer files and settings between computers using a USB data cable, DVD, external hard drive, or network.
With the advent of Windows 10, Microsoft discontinued support for the software, but they haven’t given up on the idea completely. They have teamed up with Laplink PCmover and created similar software, which unfortunately is no longer free. Express version allows you to manually select the folders, profiles, files and settings you want to download, just connect both computers to the Internet. PCmover will try to perform an identical layout, but deviations may occur, especially if you are moving from an older operating system. This version does not fully support app data transfer, so you will need to upgrade your license to Professional.
Hard Disk Clone
Disk cloning is a computer trick that creates an exact copy of an old hard drive on a new, external, or internal drive. You can choose from many cloning tools. Some require payment or a monthly subscription for their advanced features, and free versions are always available online. EaseUS Todo Backup, Macrium Reflect, AOMEI Backupper, Clonezilla… These are just a few examples of free disk cloning programs, some of which also include paid versions.
End for Home Group, use Nearby Sharing
In April 2018, the Windows 10 update removed the HomeGroup feature from all systems. It has been replaced by Nearby Sharing, which uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to transfer files between nearby computers. To get started, you must first turn on the feature in Settings > System > Experiment and Sharing.
Close partitioning is convenient for transferring files to a new computer, but it does not work in the same way as disk cloning, where you can create a mirror image of the entire operating system with all data included.
Flip Transfer web app allows you to quickly transfer smaller files
If you do not want to copy or clone a large number of files or your entire Windows 10/11 system and want to copy only a few files, the easiest way to do so is with the Flip Transfer web application, which allows you to quickly transfer up to 50 files between Computers (file smaller than 250 MB). The service is free. Visit the Flip Transfer website in your browser of choice, drag and drop the files you want, then transfer them to your new computer using your unique FLIP-ID code.
Again, copying isn’t as much as cloning, but it’s still a useful app if you want to download some files quickly. Just make sure you download the files within 24 hours, as the data will be deleted from Flip Transfer servers after one day.