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by Don

Are you one of the lucky one’s getting a new computer for the holidays? Are you treating yourself? If so you need to decide what is needed to get the new machine up and rolling.

1. Do not just move files across wholesale! Some techs suggest in fact that you do. They suggest that you use the Apple service or Windows Easy Transfer to just move all of your files from an old computer to a new computer. This is not the best solution. It just means that you lost a great “disk cleaning” opportunity.

2. You need to decide if you are keeping your old computer. In most cases it makes sense to keep it in the basement on a dry shelf with a cord to it and fire it up when you need a file. If you are going to sell it, you will get very little for it and worse yet, may be handing over confidential information, even if you attempt to wipe the drive.

3. If you cannot keep the old computer handy, then consider getting an external drive and make a complete back-up and test it before getting rid of the old computer.

4. It is easy to move files back and forth with a simple network cable ($20 bucks or less if you don’t already have one), or these days with a usb thumb drive which have become very cheap!

5. No matter what you do, go buy archive quality cd’s or dvd’s and burn copies of your photos, critical documents and videos. A hard drive failure could be catastrophic otherwise. Also consider putting photos on snapfish or the equivalent.

4 Responses to “Transferring Your Files From Your Old Computer to a New Computer”

  1. Gary Says:

    Don, your timing is impeccable. I bought a new PC last Wednesday (with Vista) and was pondering the best way to transfer 80GB of data from my old XP machine. I don’t like to use the various “file and transfer wizard” programs, preferring the opportunity to leave the “junk” behind (usually the settings) and only transfer the files that I want.

    I didn’t spring for the special USB cable that MS sells for this purpose, since that would be a one-off and then never needed again. I already have a box of redundant cords and cards, and didn’t need more for it.

    My plan was to pull the hard drive out of my old PC and put it in the new PC as an additional drive, and then simply copy across the files that I wanted. But when I popped open both machines I see that this won’t work because the ribbon cable (not sure it’s proper name) used in the old PC has seemingly been made redundant by some new slim cable in the new PC with different plugs.

    That left me with home networking, which I was avoiding after reading some forum posts suggesting that networking Vista and XP was difficult. But with nothing left to try and little to lose I gave it a try, and could not have been more surprised by what I found:

    1. I installed the Microsoft Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) Responder (KB922120) on the XP machine after reading somewhere that it was required for the XP machine to see the Vista machine. Not sure if it were needed, but used it anyway.

    2. I plugged the two PCs together with a cross-over cable into the network cards.

    3. Vista then prompted me to configure file sharing, while the McAfee firewall on the Vista machine had me validate that the new network was approved.

    4. The Zone Alarm firewall on the XP machine didn’t blink.

    5. Windows Explorer on both PCs happily showed one another (Network icon).

    I was very pleasantly surprised at how easy this was after preparing myself for the worse (and wondering if I was gonna have to ask Franki and Don for help!). A couple of hours later and all the data was across, and now I’m about to put the old PC on a “dry shelf in the basement”.


  2. Don Says:

    Congrats on the new machine Gary! Yes plugging them straight together works well in most cases as you found. Another great thing is a router. We have a home network built through one and it works great. Ours happens to be wireless and of course you can hard wire some machines to them as well.

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