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How to Move Files from an Old Computer to a New One

Audio Transcript

There are a number of methods for moving files from an old Windows XP computer to a new computer running Windows Vista.

Insert Windows Vistas installation DVD into your older Windows XP pc's DVD drive. At the opening screen, choose transfer files and settings from another computer. Click the next button. The easy transfer program offers three options:

  • You can transfer using a transfer cable

  • You can transfer directly over a network

  • Or you can use a CD, DVD, external hard disc or USB flash drive

Click the third option and choose CD. Insert a blank CD or DVD into your recordable CD/DVD drive. You may need to remove the Vista DVD if you only have one drive. After you insert the blank disc, click next. Choose which accounts and information to transfer to the new Vista PC.

All user accounts, files, and settings: the best and simplest option for families moving to a newer PC. This option transfers information from every user account to the new PC.

My user account, files and settings: this choice copies only information from your own user account. This option works well if you shared a PC with others but now want to move your information to your new laptop or PC.

Or advanced options: this option lets you pick and choose exactly which files and settings to move.

Choose an option that is best suited for you. The program lists all your selected files and settings. Note the size of your transfer listed above the transfer button. Review your transfer size to know how much media you will need to transfer your data. Your CDs hold 700 MB and DVDs hold about 4 ½ GB. Click transfer.

When using CDs or DVDs, your new Vista PC will request a disc by number. As you create each disc, write a number; CD1, CD2, CD3 ect. on it's printed side with at felt pen. When finished, take all the discs to your new Vista PC and open Windows easy transfer by going to Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools and Windows Easy Transfer. Click the next button and click continue a transfer in progress.

Vista asks whether you're transferring the files through a network choose "no, I've copied files and settings to a CD and then choose CD on this screen." Choose the location of the disc or drive containing the files and click next. Vista needs to know where to put the incoming user account information. The window lists the names of the incoming user accounts on the left and the PC's existing users accounts on the right. That leaves you three possible scenarios.

  • Option one, same user account names. If you've used the same user account names on both your old and new PCS, this step is easy. Vista automatically lines up the accounts on the two PCS, so that they go to the right places.

  • Option two, different user account names. If some or all account names are different on both PCs, tell Vista which information goes into which account. Use the drop down menus to match up the old PCs user account name with the new user account names on the new PC.

  • Option three, new user account names. To transfer a user accounts files to a brand new account, simply click in the box and type in the new user name. The easy transfer program creates that new account on your new Vista PC. Then click next.

If you had more than one data drive on you old computer, you may be prompted to select destination drives on your new computer. Click next. Review your selected files and depending on your transfer option, click next or transfer. Vista begins copying your chosen information into your new PC, creating new accounts as needed.

It's worth noting that the other methods for transferring data from an old PC to a new one can be quicker than this method, but require additional hardware or a network connection that you may not have. As long as you have a CD or DVD burner for your old Windows XP PC, you should be able to transfer your files to a new Windows Vista machine with no problem. When the transfer is complete, click close, then click yes to log off. Then log back on to access your transferred files.

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