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Transfer Information between Two PCs with Windows 8

Windows 8's Easy Transfer works in just a few short steps or a lengthy series of leaps, depending on the method you choose to pipe your old PC’s information into your new PC: cable, network, or portable drive.

Depending on your transfer method and your computer’s configuration, the steps listed here may be slightly different on your own computer. But the program does a pretty good job of walking you through moving your information from your old computer to your new one.

Be sure to sign in to your old and new PCs with an Administrator account; other accounts don’t have the authority to copy files. And remember that you can take your time: You can always return to a previous screen by clicking the blue arrow in the window’s top-left corner.

Before transferring files to or from a tablet or laptop computer, be sure to plug the computer into an outlet. Transferring files requires quite a bit of power, and it might drain your computer’s batteries.

  1. On your Windows 8 PC, start the Windows Easy Transfer program and click Next at the introductory screen.

    To launch the program, right-click a blank part of the Start screen; when the App bar appears along the screen’s bottom, click the All Apps icon to see all your installed apps. Then click Windows Easy Transfer to load the program.

    To load the program manually on a touchscreen tablet, swipe your finger up from the screen’s bottom to bring up the App bar. Tap the App bar’s All Apps icon and when your list of apps appears, tap the words Windows Easy Transfer.

    Clicking the Next button moves the Windows Easy Transfer program past its introductory screen.

  2. Choose how you want to transfer items to your new PC.

    The program offers three options: an Easy Transfer Cable, a network, or an external hard disk/flash drive.

  3. Now you need to choose whether you’re running Windows Easy Transfer on your new PC or on your old PC — choose This Is My New PC.

  4. Depending on your transfer method, choose your appropriate course of action.

    Here’s where the program differs depending on your transfer method:

    • Easy Transfer Cable: The program asks whether you need to install the Windows Easy Transfer program onto your old PC. If your old PC runs Windows XP or Windows Vista, the program walks you through transferring the Windows Easy Transfer program to the older PC using a portable drive.

      Run the Windows Easy Transfer program on both PCs and then connect the Easy Transfer cable between the two PCs’ USB ports. From your Windows 8 PC, select the files you’d like to transfer. When you click the Transfer button, the program copies the files to your Windows 8 PC, finishing the job.

    • A network: The program asks whether you need to install the Windows Easy Transfer program onto your old PC. If your old PC runs Windows XP or Windows Vista, the program walks you through transferring the Windows Easy Transfer program to the older PC using a portable drive.

      From your old computer, run the Windows Easy Transfer program, following the steps and choosing to transfer by network. The program gives you a six-digit key for you to write down.

      Returning to your new PC, enter the same six-digit key, and the two PCs connect through the network. While still on your new PC, select what you’d like to transfer. When you click the Transfer button, the program copies the files to your Windows 8 PC, finishing the job.

    • An external hard disk: When the program asks whether you’ve already copied your old PC’s files to the external hard disk, choose No. The program then asks whether you need to install the Windows Easy Transfer program onto your old PC. If your old PC runs Windows XP or Windows Vista, the program walks you through transferring the Windows Easy Transfer program to the older PC using a portable drive.

      From your old PC, run the Windows Easy Transfer program and plug in the portable drive, if it’s not already plugged in. Follow the program’s introductory steps, choose to transfer by external hard disk, and then select what you’d like to transfer. (Type in an optional password, if asked, for extra security.)

      When the program finishes copying the information to the portable hard drive, unplug the drive from your old PC, and plug it into your new PC. On your new PC, browse to the saved files, click the Transfer button, and the program transfers them to your new PC. (If you entered the optional password, re-enter it before you can transfer the files.)

  5. Finish up.

    The program leaves you with these two options:

    • See What Was Transferred. This rather technical report shows exactly what was transferred.

    • See a List of Apps You Might Want to Install on Your New PC. Another overly technical report tells you what programs were installed on your old PC. You may need to install some of them on your new PC in order to open some of your transferred files.

Unplug your Easy Transfer cable from both PCs, if necessary, and save it for any later emergencies.

If you transferred files using a portable hard drive, keep the drive attached to your new PC and use it with the Windows 8 File History backup program.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.

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