Moving to a new computer using Windows Easy Transfer

My old computer was “getting long in tooth” – after six years it was no longer up to the tasks, disk space had been full for a long time, and then programs stopped repeatedly with ominous “out of memory” messages. Transferring my files and “stuff” to a new machine would be tedious, I knew. That project is only partially complete as I write this post, but I have tales to tell. Some good, some bad, some ugly.

The old machine runs Vista, there was insufficient storage space available to upgrade. The new one has plenty of disk space and runs 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate. I installed Microsoft Office 2010, the Windows Live Essentials, Microsoft Security Essentials, and a number of other programs.

Then I started the move. This is not a “how to” article, that may come after I finish. There are chores that should be done before making a move, I learned the hard way.

imageMy decision to use Microsoft Easy Transfer was an easy one, I had helped friends with moves using this utility and the process went smoothly. The program promises to transfer user accounts, documents, music, pictures, email, internet favorites, videos, “and more”. It does not transfer programs, those have to be installed individually on the new computer, but it should take care of the majority of the chores.

imageWindows Easy Transfer can accomplish the move over a special “Easy Transfer” cable, over a network, or using an external hard drive or USB flash drive. Since I already owned a transfer cable, I selected that option. With the cable connected, I started the utility on both machines. No joy. Another try, still no connection. Then the language in the Windows Easy Transferimage dialog started to make sense.

I had selected “I already installed it on my old computer”. Yes, Vista comes with it, but that does not work for transferring to Windows 7. See the third option in the illustration, it says “My old computer is running Windows 7”.

So I plugged in a USB flash drive on the new computer and allowed “ET” to copy the utility with the “I need to install it now” option. That worked smoothly and the the transfer proceeded.

It is usually desirable to start with the good news and hold the bad until last. The good news is that the files transferred as expected. The desktop background, a custom image on the old machine, was now on the new one as were all the desktop items, icons and shortcuts. When I started Internet Explorer it looked just like the one on the old computer. The favorites bar, all the favorites were there, clicking on “Live Home” (my tab to go to brought up all the accounts from the old machine, complete with remembered passwords. I had installed Roboform, and it too brought up the “passcards”. Neat.

Starting Windows Live Mail brought the first disappointment, no email accounts. Outlook also returned a blank stare. Setting up my accounts took some time. My main “outlook.pst” file had been copied over, but it needed to be “imported” and the accounts needed to be set up again. Live Mail accounts also needed to be set up on the new computer. Then Outlook and Live Mail needed a long time to synchronize and download all the old mail.

How about, Windows Live Writer? I had already seen that all the drafts and recent posts were there in the “My Weblog Posts” folder in Documents. Sorry, it started with “Configure Windows Live Writer”. There was work to be done. So this is the first post from my new computer. I will share more of my experience in future posts, for now, “this is a test”.

Also see:

Moving disks, folders and files with Windows Easy Transfer

Treasures left behind by Windows Easy Transfer


© 2011 Ludwig Keck


About Ludwig

Lending a helping hand where I can. . . My motto: If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
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2 Responses to Moving to a new computer using Windows Easy Transfer

  1. Pingback: Treasures left behind by Windows Easy Transfer | This 'n That

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