Wednesday, August 5, 2009

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Transfer Data Between PCs With Windows Easy Transfer

In the olden days, we actually rather dreaded buying a new computer. It was a hassle to set it up and get it just right. It took days, if not weeks. You had to call your Internet service provider (ISP) and ask for the settings to connect to the Internet. 
And then you had to call them back when you couldn't figure out how to do it yourself. You had to call them again because you could send an e-mail but not receive one. 


You had to export and then import Microsoft Internet Explorer Favorites, create new user accounts, somehow bring over the address book and e-mail messages, and one way or another copy all your personal data. No more. Windows Easy Transfer, which comes with Windows Vista, lets you to transfer all of this and more with no problem at all (and no calling your ISP).
Note: The old computer must be running Windows XP or Windows Vista to use Windows Easy Transfer.
Clean Up the Old Computer
Before you move to a new home, you put the trash out on the curb. You don't carry it with you and find a place for it in your new home. You do the same with furniture you don't want as well as items that are damaged. You should do the same with the data you transfer. Just as with moving houses, you should first clean up and get rid of everything you no longer need or want so you don't clutter up your new PC with it.
To get rid of the junk on your old PC, do all of the following:
  • Delete (or backup) pictures, videos, music, data, and other media you no longer want.
  • Delete (or back up to CD or DVD) old work documents, spreadsheets, grocery lists, to-do lists, and other unnecessary personal files.
  • Clean up Microsoft Outlook Express (or Microsoft Office Outlook) by deleting unwanted saved e-mail and e-mail folders you created but no longer need, the items in Sent Items, and the items in Deleted Items. Be extremely vigilant about e-mails that contain attachments.
  • Clean up Internet Explorer. Delete Favorites you no longer access, and organize what's left. Click File, Export to export and save cookies (Windows Easy Transfer doesn't get those). Delete temporary files.
  • Use Disk Cleanup to get rid of other unwanted files.
  • Restart the computer, and then empty the Recycle Bin.
Tip: Make sure you have the product activation codes for any software you own, as well as the CDs. If you downloaded software and don't have a CD, burn the program files to a CD before wiping the hard drive clean. 

Start Windows Easy Transfer on the New Computer
You could be in one of two situations. Either you have two computers, an old PC and a new one (yay!), or you have one older PC you want to upgrade to Windows Vista with a clean installation. (If you upgrade a computer to Windows Vista without performing a clean installation, you won't have to do any of this, because all your files and settings will remain intact.) Here, we're assuming you have two computersan old one and a new one.
Tip:  If you have only one computer, read the instructions here, and then read the "What If the Old Computer and New Computer Are the Same Computer?" which is the last para in this post. You can still use Windows Easy Transfer; the process is just a bit different.
To start the process of transferring files and settings from your old PC your new PC, follow these steps:
1. On the new PC, click Start, and in the Start Search box type Windows Easy Transfer.
2. Click Windows Easy Transfer, listed under Programs, to open it, as shown in Figure.
Figure: Windows Easy Transfer can help you transfer just about everything.
3. Click Next to start Windows Easy Transfer.
4. Select Start A New Transfer.
5. Click My New Computer.
6. If you have an Easy Transfer cable, select Yes, I Have An Easy Transfer Cable, and follow the directions on the following screen to connect it. If you do not have an Easy Transfer cable, select No, Show Me More Options. An Easy Transfer cable connects two computers by using their universal serial bus (USB) ports.
7. Windows Easy Transfer needs to be installed on the old computer. When prompted, select from the following:
  • Yes, I Installed It
  • Yes, My Old Computer Is Running Windows Vista
  • No, I Need To Install It Now
8. If you chose one of the first two options in the previous step, skip to step 9. If you chose the third option, select one of the following to install Windows Easy Transfer on your old computer (you'll see instructions for how to do this after you make your choice):
  • CD
  • USB Flash Drive
  • External Hard Disk Or Shared Network Folder
  • Windows Installation Disk Or Windows Easy Transfer CD
9. Select Yes or No when asked whether your computer is connected to a network. If you select Yes, you can save the transfer information to a network drive. If you select No, you'll next need to select from CD, DVD, or Removable Media.
10. When asked whether you have a Windows Easy Transfer key, select No, I Need A Key. Write down the key. 

Continue Windows Easy Transfer on the Old Computer
Make your way to the old computer, key in hand. Start Windows Easy Transfer on the old computer, and then follow these steps:
1. Click Start, and in the Start Search box type Windows Easy Transfer. (Alternately, you can insert the Windows Vista CD or start Windows Easy Transfer in any alternate way you chose earlier, including from a network drive.)
2. Click Next to start Windows Easy Transfer.
3. Select Start A New Transfer.
4. Click My Old Computer.
5. If you have an Easy Transfer cable, select Yes, I Have An Easy Transfer Cable, and follow the directions on the following screen to connect it. If you do not have an Easy Transfer cable, select No, Show Me More Options.
What happens next includes too many scenarios to detail. It's not hard, though; you have to merely choose where you're going to save the data to transfer. It may be that you select a network drive, burn a CD or DVD, or use an external drive. Whichever you choose, you'll have to browse to a location to save the information. Remember, it has to be a location both computers can connect to and access. We prefer a network drive or external drive, a place that both computers have access to already.
Once you're prompted to save your data, you're almost done. You need to select only what you want to transfer. Select from the following:
  • All User Accounts, Files, And Settings
  • My User Account, Files, And Settings
  • Advanced Options
If you select either of the first two, you're just about set. Select the first if you have multiple users and accounts or the second if it's all about you. However, we suggest selecting Advanced Options. With this option, you get to pick what you want to transfer and what you don't. 

To complete the process, follow these steps:
1. In the Advanced Options dialog box, select the files, folders, and settings to transfer. Remember to get all your personal data; you may have to browse to find it all. Click Next.
2. Type a user name for the new computer. Click Next.
3. Wait, and do not use either computer until the transfer is complete.
4. Click Close on both computers. 

What If the Old Computer and New Computer Are the Same Computer?
If you did not purchase a new computer but instead want to do a clean installation of an older Windows XP computer by using a Windows Vista CD, you can still use Windows Easy Transfer. You'll work through the process as detailed in the previous section, with a few minor changes.
You'll still start Windows Easy Transfer on your single computer (by using the Windows Vista CD), select a new transfer as detailed, and then, instead of selecting My New Computer as shown in step 5, select My Old Computer.
Work through the process. Once you've chosen which files and settings to transfer and you've saved the data to an external drive, you'll then install Windows Vista on the PC and run Windows Easy Transfer again. After installing Windows Vista, you'll select Continue A Transfer In Progress and, when prompted, browse to the location of the saved file.
Locate Transferred Data
You'll find the transferred data where you expect to find it. You'll find your documents in the Documents folder, your pictures in the Pictures folder, and your music in the Music folder. Just as you would not expect the moving helpers to put the bedroom suite in the kitchen or the washer and dryer in the foyer, you would not expect Windows Easy Transfer to put your data in the wrong area!

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About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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