Understanding the Windows 7 Easy Transfer Feature

The Windows 7 Easy Transfer feature makes transferring settings and data files between two computers easy. You can use the Window7 Easy Transfer feature to send files from one computer to another or even to send files to an external hard drive.

It is important to remember that Windows 7 Easy Transfer doesn't transfer everything from the old computer. Here are the items that Easy Transfer should pick up in a transfer:

  • Data files: Easy transfer looks for files on the desktop and in the Documents folder, the Shared Desktop, and the Shared Documents folder.

    Windows really doesn’t appreciate it when people come up with their own folder naming scheme. If you have documents and data files that are not kept in your Documents folder, don’t expect Easy Transfer to find them without your help.

  • Windows settings: These settings include user, desktop, screen saver, and taskbar options as well as settings for Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer (including your list of Favorites), Outlook Express (from XP), Windows Mail (from Vista), and Windows Live Mail (if you have it installed).

    Windows 7 doesn’t match up exactly with Windows XP or Vista, so the transferred settings might not have any effect.

  • All your Microsoft Office settings: This one includes many of the Registry-based settings for other programs.

Easy Transfer can be a great time saver, but you need to be aware of the following limitations:

  • The two PCs should be connected. The “To” computer needs to be a Windows 7 computer, but the “From” PC can be running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7.

    Although Easy Transfer can send a humongous amount of data from one PC to another, a better method is to make both PCs talk to each other on a network.

  • Easy Transfer doesn’t deal with program files. If you want your old program to work on your new PC, you’ll have to reinstall it.

    Bear in mind that even if you don’t load the old programs on the new PC, the data files for that program will still transfer with Easy Transfer. So you might end up with files that you can't open.

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