Help me make the switch!
March 6, 2008 7:20 AM   Subscribe

I finally made the switch! Help me transfer my files from my Toshiba laptop to my shiny new MacBook!

I'm not extremely technically savvy, but I am a good with instructions. Can anyone give me advice on how to transfer my files from my Toshiba laptop to my new MacBook? This is my first Mac so I'm still figuring everything out and don't know exactly how to go about doing this. Would a USB drive work?

My files are pretty much just pictures, digital movie clips, music, and a few word documents.

Thanks in advance, I apologize if this has been asked... I looked but it seemed like most of the previous posts were regarding macbook to macbook transfers.
posted by nataliecay to Technology (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, the easiest way is to us a USB drive if you have one. If you don't, the next easiest way is to set up windows file sharing on the mac, connect to it with your windows machines and copy the files to the mac.
posted by nightwood at 7:27 AM on March 6, 2008

Apple has a pretty good guide on how to hook stuff up. You can also make an appointment at an apple store to have them do it for you (you bring your windows machine), but I think that costs money now.
posted by neustile at 7:28 AM on March 6, 2008

the above posts are good, and i'm just adding mine because its possibly the EASIEST one there is:
use email :) just attach your files and mail them to yourself so you can download them while on the mac
posted by Jack Feschuk at 7:39 AM on March 6, 2008

If you set up shared folders on your windows machine and they are on the same network this is easily accomplished:

On the mac go to Go > Connect to Server (cmd K)
+ type in smb://192.168.X.X (whatever the ip of the pc is)
+ enter your username/pass as usual (as if you were logging into the windows machine)
+ voila, you should have full speed copying.
posted by derbs

More details and info on Firewire and other xfer methods here. This worked the best for me though, accounting for well over 50 gigs that needed to be moved.
posted by prostyle at 7:46 AM on March 6, 2008

It may be worth your while to invest in a (FAT-formatted) external HD -- you can buy an old HD pretty cheap, and an external case (USB 2.0-compatible); format the external drive as FAT, and then dump everything you want from your Toshiba onto that. The Mac can read/write FAT-formatted external drives, and you'll be getting a convenient backup for your old PC stuff in the bargain.
posted by Shepherd at 7:53 AM on March 6, 2008

As Nightwood says, the easiest way is to use a third device, even if that seems counterintuitive. A small portable hard drive or USB drive, even a $20 thumb drive from the Office Mart, will mount on both computers in turn and you can selectively drag things back and forth, like carrying buckets of water, until you're done. You don't need a very big one, just something as large as your largest SINGLE FILE.

Or if the PC has a CD or DVD-burner, you can also burn a few discs on one, mount them on the other, etc.

In either case, the Mac will read the PC formatted thumb drive or hard drive or USB stick and you can drag things back off of it.

Doing a transfer directly, computer to computer via networking, is probably not a good plan if you are indeed "not very technically savvy" as stated. It's also not very fast.
posted by rokusan at 7:54 AM on March 6, 2008

If you got your macbook from the apple store, they should've told you that you get STANDARD data transfer with your purchase from a mac or pc (as long as your old computer still turns on and runs).

STANDARD data transfer means that you put everything you want transfered in a folder on the desktop and label it "files to be transfered" and they (an apple genius) transfer that folder to the desktop of your macbook.

COMPLETE transfer (is only included with a one-to-one or pro-care membership which are $99/year each), is when they migrate all your data to your new macbook. Meaning that all your files go into the appropriate places on the new computer.

disclaimer **and yes I currently work at an apple store.**
posted by eatcake at 8:27 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you've been using Outlook Express/Outlook/Thunderbird (or similar) for email you need not lose all that valuable information tied up in your archives. You can import the lot - addresses, sent, received into So many people just abandon email when they re-install XP or switch computer without realising they needn't. Mefi mail me for help if needed.
posted by dance at 9:10 AM on March 6, 2008

Do you have an iPod? You can use that as an external drive. We just made the switch using those instructions.
posted by xsquared-1 at 1:28 PM on March 6, 2008

I did this (more or less) recently and by far the best bet was the external hard drive. See if you can borrow a nice big one from a friend so you can do the whole thing in one fell swoop. Doing it over my home's wireless network was painfully slow. Using the hard drive cut the time *hugely*.
posted by MadamM at 4:02 PM on March 6, 2008

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