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How to get your data from Windows XP to a new PC

Alex Castle | April 8, 2014
With the Windows end-of-service deadline finally upon us, a lot of holdouts are hurriedly making the upgrade to Windows 7 or 8. Moving all your important files from Windows XP to your new computer may sound like just one more hassle.

Beyond that, free cloud services tend to offer small 5GB to 10GB storage limits, which may not be enough storage to handle all the data you want to transfer. Paying for additional cloud storage can overcome that hurdle, however. You can even piece together 50GB to 100GB of free cloud storage, if you don't mind creating accounts with several companies and putting in a little sweat equity.

A cloud service also requires that you manually pick the files to move over. If you're not comfortable deciding which files to transfer, you might find one of the following two automatic file-transfer applications helpful.

Option 3: Windows Easy Transfer Tool

Now onto the more automated options.

Windows 7 and 8 come with a built-in tool for transferring user data from one Windows PC to another, called the Windows Easy Transfer tool. This application basically does what we described in the previous section — transferring the contents of the Users folder — for you, and also transfers over your user accounts and settings, unlike the previous options. It's included in Windows 8 and 7, but you'll have to download it for the Windows XP computer.

Once you've downloaded the file and installed it, just run "Windows Easy Transfer Tool for Windows 7" on your Windows XP computer and walk through the steps. Choose "An external hard drive or USB flash drive" when asked where you want to save the data, and then wait while the application scans your system.

You're given the option to password-protect your files, if you like, then asked where to save the file that contains all the data to be transferred. Choose to save it to your external hard drive, or to a cloud storage service.

On your Windows 7 or 8 computer, just open the Start Menu or Start Screen (respectively) and type "Windows Easy Transfer," then click on the utility application with that name. Click next, then click on the button marked "Yes." This will allow you to navigate to the file you saved on your external hard drive or cloud storage folder. The Easy transfer tool will automatically transfer over documents, bookmarks, and other User data.

Option 4: Laplink PCMover Express

Microsoft is currently offering a free version of Laplink PCMover Express for users transferring from Windows XP. PCMover Express offers basically the same data- and settings-shifting functionality as the Easy Transfer Tool, but instead of storing the files to be transferred on a removable drive, it sends them directly from one computer to the other across a local network using Wi-Fi, ethernet, or USB.

You simply download the program and then install it on both computers. Run it on the XP machine, and select Wi-Fi or Wired Network from the options given. Do the same on the new PC. As long as the two are on the same network, PCMover Express will be able to transfer your documents, user info, and settings  directly from one to the other.

 

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