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How to move files between computers with Windows Easy Transfer

Summary: Information on how to use Windows Easy Transfer to transfer information from your old PC to a new one.

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Article Content


This article provides information about transferring data from an old computer to a new computer using Easy File Transfer. This Windows feature was available on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1. Windows 10 users should use OneDrive to move information from one computer to another.


Transferring data

Windows Easy Transfer allows you to transfer information from one computer to another. This includes 

  • User accounts
  • Files
  • Folders
  • Photos
  • Music
  • Videos
  • Email messages
  • Contacts
  • Windows and Internet settings
  • Internet favorites 

Software programs cannot be transferred with Windows Easy Transfer. Windows Easy Transfer cannot transfer files between a 64-bit version of Windows and a 32-bit version of Windows. Instead, files need to be transferred manually using external storage devices. See below for the different methods of transferring data between computers:

Using a USB Easy Transfer Cable

To use this method, connect the USB Easy Transfer Cable on both computers. Always start Windows Easy Transfer on the new computer first and follow the on-screen instructions. Windows Easy Transfer displays instructions on how to download the Windows Easy Transfer software for older operating systems, and guides you through the transfer process.


Using a home or small business network

With this method, both computers must be connected to the same home or business network. On your new computer, start Windows Easy Transfer and then follow the on-screen instructions. 

SLN288708_en_US__2icon To prevent loss or damaged data, do not start Windows Easy Transfer on your old computer first.

To transfer files directly over a network without copying to and from a network location, a Windows Easy Transfer key is necessary. The key helps protect files and settings when you transfer them over the network.

Using a USB flash drive or external hard drive

With this method, Windows Easy Transfer estimates the disk space that is needed on the USB flash drive or external hard drive to transfer your selections.

If you are using a USB flash drive, try to use one with enough storage space for the entire transfer. If there is not enough storage space on the USB flash drive for the full transfer, copy as many files as possible. Repeat the process until you have transferred all files and settings.

Using CDs or DVDs

When using this method, Windows Easy Transfer estimates the amount of disk space and now many optical discs are necessary for transferring your selections. Both computers must be able to read and write the same type of optical disc format.

Starting Windows Easy Transfer

Log in to the user account with administrator rights and choose a method for transferring your data between two computers. Start Windows Easy Transfer by using one of following methods, then follow the on-screen instructions.

  • Click Start, type "easy" into the Search field, and then select Windows Easy Transfer from the list.
  • Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then Windows Easy Transfer.
  • Click Start, select Help and Support, type "easy" into the Search field and then press Enter. A list of results displays. Select an Easy Transfer topic from the list.


SLN288708_en_US__4icon Windows Easy Transfer is installed by default on Windows Vista and 7, but not on XP or earlier. You can install Easy Transfer Wizard using an external storage disks (USB drive or external hard drive when prompted in the Window in the image below. When transferring files from an old computer, select "It is already installed it on my old computer" and proceed with the onscreen instructions.


Transferring using a USB Easy Transfer Cable

Transferring files and settings using the USB Easy Transfer Cable requires a cable connection between both the old and new computer.


Transferring under a Home or Small Business Network

You can use a network to transfer large quantities of files and settings to another computer with one simple process. Make sure you have logged into the old and new computers with administrator authority. On each computer, connect an Ethernet cable to a router so that they share the same network. Start Windows Easy Transfer on both computers. On each computer, indicate "Which computer are you using now?" You are prompted to enter a Windows Easy Transfer key from the old computer that is running the Windows Easy Transfer feature. After entering the key, you can customize which data and settings you would like to transfer.

Transferring Using a USB Flash drive or External Hard drive

You can use a USB drive or external hard drive, or optical drive to transfer files and settings from your old computer onto your new computer. Make sure that there is enough space on the drive to complete the transfer. This avoids repeating transfers. 

SLN288708_en_US__4icon This method is best for upgrading from Windows XP or Windows Vista to Windows 7.


1 - Optical drive

2 - USB drive

Completing file transfer

Follow the onscreen instructions for the method you choose to use on Windows Easy Transfer. Click Customize to decide what specific files and settings you would like to have transferred from your computer.


The Protected Content Migration window will appear after you have customized and clicked Transfer. You are prompted to enter the password of the account being transferred. This is to protect the files from being transferred without the owner's permission.

Your customized transfer is complete once you have finished the process. You can now access the files and settings that were transferred.


Article Properties

Affected Product

Desktops & All-in-Ones, Laptops

Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021



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