When you purchase a new computer, there are many types of files you may want to move from your old machine. Most users will want to transfer digital photos and music from one computer to another. You may also wish to transfer information such as email settings, contacts, Internet favorites, user accounts, and software program configurations. It's relatively easy to transfer small amounts of information through email or by putting it on a CD or a portable flash drive. For large amounts of data, you can often use an Ethernet cable to link the computers together.
If you are moving a small amount of data and have access to a high-speed Internet connection, email is a very convenient way to transfer it from one computer to another. Free email providers often offer an impressive amount of storage space. You can email yourself files from your old computer, then download them to your new computer.
Using a CD or DVD burner is a good way to transfer multiple digital photos or music files. When you use this method, you also create a backup copy of your important files. While both forms of media can hold quite a bit of data, they are still limited.
If you have access to a portable hard drive or flash drive, these devices can make it easy to transfer information from one computer to another. Using these drives is often as easy as plugging them into the correct port — often FireWire® or USB, depending on the computer and type of drive — and accessing the device. Files can then be moved into the drive's directory. The drive is then unplugged from one machine and plugged into the new one, and files moved to the new computer.
When both computers are in the same location, you can use an Ethernet cable to transfer information between machines. If you don’t have a hub, router, or switch, look for a crossover cable to complete the process.
If you have purchased a new computer that is running a Windows® operating system, you may be able to use the Windows Easy Transfer program. Both computers will need to be running a Windows® OS and have the software installed. The program features a step-by-step tutorial to guide users through the process.
If you are trying to transfer information from an old PC to a new Macintosh® computer, representatives from an Apple® retail store or an authorized service provider may be able to provide transfer assistance. You can also use a third-party hardware and software package to complete the process.
No matter which method you use, it is important to scan for viruses, adware, and spyware before moving your data in order to avoid accidentally transferring malicious content to your new machine. After you complete the transfer to your new computer, it’s a good idea to run a second scan as an added precaution.