When you buy a new computer – like I did recently – you’ll want to transfer most of your existing files over to the new computer. A lot of people, who spend their time gathering vacation pictures and family videos, will want to make a big move leaving nearly nothing behind. Others, like myself, only keep the essential stuff; some documents they’re still working on and a few application installations they’ll be needing shortly. No matter how much you plan on taking along, you want to do it quickly. Spend the minimal amount of time before you can cut that old hardware loose. There are a number of ways to do this, and we’re taking a look at five of the ways how to transfer files from one computer to another. Depending on what you’re working with, some might be better than others.
Use An External Storage Media
The standard way of backing up data. These days, everyone has a USB stick, or a at least a computer that can burn CDs and DVDs. An even better alternative are external hard drives which you can connect over USB – these often combine crazy speed with incredible storage.
A duplicate copy requires even less effort, but you’ll be passing up on an excuse to (finally?) categorize your data. Just copy the folders your files are in – Desktop, My Documents, etc. – and you’ll be able to merge them with your new system’s counterparts.
Too lazy to do it manually? You can always use back-up software suites to do the work for you. These are often able to return your file to right location on your new disk, but are especially useful if you plan on doing periodical back-ups (e.g. every two weeks).
Share Over LAN
You can also use your existing home network to transfer your files, given that both of your systems are connected. The speed can vary from ‘incredibly fast’ on a wired network to ‘pretty damn slow’ on a wireless one.
First and foremost, you’ll need to enable the sharing of your hard drive. In Mac OS X, just go to System Preferences -> Sharing, and the rest is pretty obvious. In Windows, the process is quite easy as well. Browse to My Computer -> (right-click) Properties on your hard drive. In the Sharing tab, you’ll need to enable file sharing for the folder. Below is a screenshot of how it looks like on a Windows 7 PC.
Got everything set up? On your new system, you should be able to find the drive shared in ‘Network’. When opening the hard drive, you’ll probably be asked for a password. From there on, you’re free to go. Copy the files and folders as if the network drive is just another folder.
Use an EasyTransfer Cable
Windows Easy Transfer is a new application that comes installed in most newer Microsoft Windows operation system. One way to use the program is with an EasyTransfer cable, a special double “male” USB cable.
Connect the HDD Manually
This is the way I ended up doing it – the geeky way. If you don’t have an external HDD casing, why not make one? By taking out your old hard drive and using the right connections, you’ll quickly have it hooked via USB to your new system. This has a number of advantages – the speed is well enjoyable, you don’t need (much) extra hardware, and you can copy the files straight from point A to B.