Ted from Diamond Bar, CA asks:
My existing computer is running Win XP Home Edition SP3, and I would like to transfer the data from this computer to a new computer running Win7. Is there any successful method for doing this?
Ted, the best way to do this that involves the least amount of effort is to use the Windows Easy Transfer tool. This is already preloaded on your Windows 7 computer, but you will need to download and install a copy of this utility for your Windows XP computer. You can find it here.
The Windows Easy Transfer tool will walk you through the steps needed to transfer your documents, photos, emails, internet favorites and more. In fact, about the only thing you can’t transfer are the programs that are installed on your XP computer. These will need to be installed again on your Windows 7 machine.
To make the physical transfer of data you will need an external hard drive, an easy transfer data cable, or a network that both computers can access. Once you have one of these ready, you can start to make your data transfer. Here’s how you do it.
Open the Windows Easy Transfer tool on your Windows 7 computer. You can find it by clicking Start, and typing easy transfer in the search box.
The welcome screen gives you a summary of what you can expect to transfer and reassures you that you are copying the data from one computer to another, and not deleting anything. So, click Next.
At this point, you need to choose your transfer method. As discussed before, you can use a hard drive, transfer cable, or a network to do this. For the purpose of this tutorial, I will go through the options for a hard drive transfer.
Once you select the hard drive option, (or any other for that matter), you need to tell Windows which computer you are working on. Seeing as we started on the Windows 7 computer, you will click This is my new computer.
The transfer tool will now ask if you have already performed the backup on your XP computer. As we have not yet done this, you will click No.
On the next screen, you will be prompted to install the Windows Easy Transfer tool on your source computer. We did that earlier, so you can click I already installed it on my old computer.
The final screen asks you to go back to your old computer and run the Windows Easy Transfer tool, so don’t click Next, because you need to back up the files on your XP computer first.
On your Windows XP computer, launch the Windows Easy Transfer tool. You do this by clicking Start, then All Programs, and click Windows Easy Transfer for Windows 7.
The first couple of screens are basically identical to what you just went through, so click Next on the welcome menu, and select An external hard drive or USB flash drive as your medium of transfer. Windows will then ask you to choose which computer you are using. Be default this will only have one option as the transfer tool is for moving files from XP to Windows 7. Click This is my old computer.
At this point, the Windows Easy Transfer tool will scan the contents of the hard drive on your XP computer.
When the scan is finished, pay close attention to the results because they include the total size of the data you are transferring. When using a hard drive to transfer your data, you need to make sure that you have enough space for the files you want to move over. Then click Next.
The next menu gives you the option of password protecting your backup file. If you choose to do this, enter a password, and then confirm it by entering it again.
All you need to do now is select the location of the external hard drive that you want to save your XP data to. Click Open on the drive you want to save it to, and then Save to start the backup process.
When the backup is complete, you can unplug your external hard drive from your XP machine, and plug it into your Windows 7 machine. Now, click Next on the menu you still have up on your Windows 7 computer.
On the following screen, click Yes to confirm that you have your data backed up on the external hard drive, plugged in, and ready to transfer.
Now it is just a case of locating the backup file on your external hard drive so that Windows 7 can transfer your data onto your new computer. Select your external drive from the column on the left, click on the Windows Easy Transfer file, and then click Open.
Depending on the size of your data, the actual transfer could take a little while, but once it is done, your files will be safely transferred to your new Windows 7 computer.