Using Windows Easy Transfer with External Storage

June 9, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Upgrading to Windows 7 or migrating your data from another Windows 7 computer can be tricky and time consuming, resulting in lots of fiddling about with external storage devices, cables, adjusting the new desktop to match the original and generally trying to setup the new computer to appear and run the same way as the original.

However, none of this is necessary thanks to Windows Easy Transfer, a great utility that comes included in Windows 7 (and can be downloaded from Microsoft for Windows XP and Vista users). While you might copy data using a network connection, an external hard disk drive is the most common option.

This software enables you to easily copy files and settings from one PC to another, and is ready to use right away by launching from the Start menu and typing “easy transfer”. Windows Easy Transfer will be the first option in the search results, so click this to get started!

Using Windows Easy Transfer with External Storage

Choosing How to Transfer

The first screen in Windows Easy Transfer informs you what data you can expect to be able to copy to your Windows 7 computer, so click Next to proceed to the second screen, where you will choose to use An external hard disk or USB flash drive to copy the data. With your decision made, it is time to select which computer is which – i.e., which computer is the old one and which is the new one, where the data will be sent to.

If you’re copying data from the old computer to the new one and you have run Windows Easy Transfer on the old computer, select This is my old computer. The program will then scan your computer for files and folders that can be copied, indexing your user profile and libraries to make it easy for you to decide what you want to copy across.

Should the amount of data that is indexed in Easy Transfer Wizard be greater than the capacity of any external storage that you plan to use, you can run the transfer tool a second time later on. In this situation, select the Customize button and deselect the data type that is causing the data to be transferred to be too large, such as any MP3s you might have in the Music library.

Save and Transfer

Once you’re happy with the size of the data migration, hit Next, and Save your files and settings with a password. You will then be prompted where to save the file; you might select your external hard disk drive, for instance.

This might take a while, so it is advisable to leave things running and return to them again later on. After the file is created, click Next, Next and then Close, and then connect the hard disk drive to your new computer and browse for the data file. Upon double-clicking, you will need to enter the password and then Transfer to send the data to your new PC.

Again, this might take a little while, but once completed you should be able to enjoy a seamless desktop experience between the two computers.

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