Question : I want to buy a new laptop but don't know how to transfer all the
files on my old desktop computer. How do I move everything?
Answer : Moving all your stuff out of an old hard drive and into a new one
is a rite of passage when buying a replacement computer, and how you go about
it may depend on both the hardware involved and your patience.
There are various ways to move your files and settings, but moving programs
can be tricky. If possible, track down the original installation discs (if the
software is compatible with your new computer) and have them ready for your
One way to move files is to copy to an external hard drive all the files
you want to move, or burn them to a set of discs, and then transfer the files
from the drive or discs onto the new laptop.
In many cases, it is also possible to link the machines with a network
cable (or a FireWire cable, if you are moving between Macs) to create a
mini-network that lets you copy files from the old computer to the new one.
Several programs are made to transfer data. Microsoft includes a Files and
Settings Transfer Wizard in Windows XP that guides you through moving your
files and system settings from an older Windows computer. Many of Apple's
Macintosh G5 computers also come with a program that helps you move files and
settings from older Mac OS X systems.
Third-party software like PC Relocator from Alohabob (www.alohabob.com) and
IntelliMover from Detto Technologies (www.detto.com) also can transfer files
from old to new PCs.
Detto also has a program called Move2Mac that can move files from an old PC
to a new Macintosh.
If all of this sounds too intimidating, the easiest option may be hiring a
computer professional to move your files.
Many stores like Best Buy, Circuit City, Staples and CompUSA offer PC
data-migration and other computer services, even if you didn't purchase the
new machine there.