Moving disks, folders and files with Windows Easy Transfer

Windows Easy Transfer makes the chores of moving all your belongings to a new computer much easier. It does not move applications, but does copy much of the rest to the new machine. Using it provided me with some interesting surprises.

A bit of background: My old laptop computer has served for more than half a decade. It started out as a Windows XP machine that I used for developing software at clients’ sites. So a great deal of development software came and went. After my retirement, it became my primary computer as older gear was retired or died. Twice the operating system was replaced. The hard drive had been partitioned and various operating systems installed and removed. Now it runs Vista Ultimate, but poorly. The disk is full and does not have enough free space to upgrade to Windows 7. Hence my move to a new computer.

computer-01The Windows Easy Transfer application, “ET”, was much help. As I mentioned, there were surprises. In this post my topic is files, folders and disk drives. Here is a view of Windows Explorer of a clean, new Windows 7 machine.

This machine has but one hard drive, “Local Disk (C:)”. There are only four folders, “Program files”, “Program Files (x86)” – this is a 64-bit computer, hence the extra program folder for 32-bit applications, “Users”, and “Windows”. Windows Easy Transfer only touches the “Users” folder, the others are operating system and applications which are not affected in the move.

imageThe primary folders containing user data are in the “user” folder and segregated by users of the machine. These are “My Documents”, “My Music”, “My Pictures”, and others like “Desktop” and “Favorites”. The contents of these are copied by “ET”.

In addition “ET” copies files and folders residing on the old “C:” drive other than the system folders. It places them into the “C:” drive on the new machine. If there are partitions, “drives”, on the old machine the folders in those partitions are also copied over to the “C:” drive on the new computer. At least that is what happened in  my move, it it resulted in a royal mess!

My advice is, and I hope I will remember to follow this the next time, to create a new folder on each drive and move all the contents of the drive into that folder. With a name like “My old drive E” the stuff can be more easily recognized and then put into an appropriate location on the new computer.

There was a lot of detritus on my old computer, all of which was copied to the new machine. An old Windows XP “Start Menu” folder (neither Vista nor Windows 7 uses that), with an old link to start a program that ceased to exist five years ago, was placed into my C: drive. Even an old “autoexec.bat” file came over.  Neither “Disk Cleanup”, nor “CCleaner” on the old (or new) computer got rid of this unneeded garbage. I am still picking out the trash. So, beware, do a manual inspection and cleanup of your old computer before using “ET”.

imageOne pleasant surprise was “God Mode”. On my old machine I have a folder with a special name that provides access to the tools in control panel, but in one easily scrolled list (Windows Explorer can sort and display the list in a variety of ways). I have a desktop shortcut to this folder – which was also copied over – and as the folder was also copied, this icon actually works properly on the new machine.

If you are interested in this you can search the Internet for “God Mode”. You will find that you need to create a new folder on your boot drive (C:) and rename it to:
GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} The first part, here “GodMode”, can actually be anything, but the rest, including the period, must be as shown here. Then create s shortcut to this folder. When clicked, Windows Explorer opens with a display like this:


On my computer the list of tools is 278 items long. If you are a geek, you need this. If you are not, you definitely don’t need it.

There were some items that “ET” did not copy over, I will discuss some of those in another post.

Also see:

Moving to a new computer using 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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