Transfering data from old to new computer
June 26, 2019 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Greetings MiFis from hot and humid Philadelphia. I'm buying a new machine next week (Hallelujah!!). What is the best method (free would be good) way to transfer profiles,data etc. When I did this 13 years ago, I put everything on a disc and put them in new machine one at a time. That took forever. I googled this and immediately I was in over my head and priced out, one program was $119. All my data is backed up on an external HD. If it matters, going from Win7 to Win10. Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen, for your help.
posted by james33 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
FreeFileSync is an excellent program for bulk file copying, to handle that part of the task.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:21 AM on June 26, 2019

I've done this quite recently for my grandparents (Win7 to Win10, with the added fun of a deeply decrepit Win7 box with a failing hard drive and/or power supply). What worked for us was PC Mover Express and a crossover ethernet cable. Moved about 100GB of data, and every single profile they had in about three hours. Expect the software to be about $50, and a crossover cable to be $5-10.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 10:38 AM on June 26, 2019

Could you use a cloud syncing service like OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box? OneDrive comes with 1TB of data if you pay for Microsoft Office. Dropbox is maybe $12 for a month for 2 TB, and you can cancel when you're done syncing.
posted by Leontine at 1:30 PM on June 26, 2019

Best answer: If you truly have everything on your backup HDD, you should have everything you need to do this for zero cost. Simply plug in the HDD to the new computer, open it up with Explorer, and start copying the files onto you Win10 machine.

However, if you haven't got everything on the external HDD... well, you can still do this for zero cost, using the HDD in the same way.

Unfortunately, Microsoft removed the (free) Easy Transfer Tool from Windows 10... but there are ways around this. I've not used it personally, but there are instructions here on how to get a copy up and running on your Windows 10 machine. It's already installed by default on your Windows 7 machine. Run the tool on the Win 7 PC, using the external HDD as the target. Unplug, connect to the new machine, and run the tool on there, pointing it at the HDD.

Note that this (as with all the suggestions here and in previous posts) will copy your files and program settings, but not the programs themselves. They'll need to be installed to, not copied to, the new machine.

If there are any programs that the Easy Transfer Tool does not grab the required data/profile for, then I'd suggest Google to find the location of said files for said program, and copying them manually, noting where to copy them to on the Windows 10 machine one the program is installed there.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 1:36 PM on June 26, 2019

Best answer: When moving from Win7 to Win10 you do not want to just transfer the whole user profile, they put different things in different places.
There may be a few things that you can still move individually like internet explorer favourites and desktop shortcuts, but other than copying all the data files you generally are better starting Windows 10 from a fresh slate.

I've never heard of "PC Mover", but the reviews on Amazon are not great - the few good ones are from people updating XP to Win 7.
posted by Lanark at 2:11 PM on June 26, 2019

Best answer: You're replacing your prior machine with your new one. Hooray! But if that machine is 13 years old, what you're essentially proposing to do by directly copying all your old stuff to your new machine, pretty much in its entirety, is to take all your old garbage and put it in a brand new garbage can. This will be...suboptimal. I would suggest, much like a physical move of residence, taking a half day and going through all the files on your old machine, and clearing out the old junk you don't need, like apps and files you don't use any more or haven't accessed in more than a couple years, before blindly dumping it onto the new machine.

As for profiles, let your new machine build them from scratch. Don't try to shoehorn a Win7 world into a Win10 machine - they're not quantum leaps apart, but they're different enough that you'd be better served building a profile in the new machine when you first power it up and then moving stuff over selectively from your old machine, rather than assuming that just copying over all the old stuff will work fine.

You could even do this review/purge in the new computer, given that all your data is on an external drive. Walk through the Win10 setup routine that triggers when you first power it up, then once you're at the desktop, plug in the drive, open an Explorer window, and start purging. Only move stuff onto the new computer that you know you'll need; if you're unsure, leave it on the HD (I assume you'll be holding on to that).
posted by pdb at 2:46 PM on June 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

Are they both going to be on the same network? Map one as a drive on the other and copy folders over the network. I'd make a subfolder in the new machine's Documents folder and put everything from the old one in there.
posted by soelo at 3:24 PM on June 26, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the great answers!
I should clarify something: by profiles I meant FireFox and Thunderbird etal profiles. I know enough not to try putting a win7 profile into a win10 machine.

I'm going to look into some of the methods suggested. What I think I'll do is just take my time and go through the files one by one, getting rid of things I no longer need.

Thanks again! You kids are amazing.
posted by james33 at 4:24 AM on June 27, 2019

Firefox will do it for you, just set up or login to a Firefox account. Here's how you get to the Thunderbird stuff. Anything else will be case-by-case.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:49 AM on June 27, 2019

« Older Looking for a play about three friends and a freak...   |   Help me think of movie trilogies that then... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.