How to Move Data Between Computers
Almost all of us have upgraded our computer to a newer one and faced the problem of how to get our data transferred over to the new hard drive. This is an important task to learn since you will probably need to do it several times throughout your life. Probably the most helpful piece of advice for anyone in this position is to understand your operating system’s directory structure. Once that is understood, you have three basic options to transfer data:
• Over a network
• Direct connection
The first, and most basic, method of moving your data to your new computer is by using either something like a portable USB hard drive or a USB pen drive. Plug the device into your old computer and wait for it to install the driver, if not already done. Look under My Computer, or Computer, for the USB device. It will have its own drive letter, such as D: or E:. What I like to do is double-click on it and position the window on the right-hand side of my desktop. Next, I open my C: drive on the left-hand side, which is my computer’s hard drive, and if you’re using Windows XP go into Documents and Settings, yourusername. If you’re using Windows 7 or Vista, look under Users, yourusername. The vast majority of your personal data will be located either under Desktop and My Documents. Copy both of these folders over to your USB device. You may have to do multiple copies if your drive isn’t big enough to hold everything at once. Alternatively, you may choose to burn a CD or DVD of your data.
A Second option is to simply copy your files over a network. Whether at home or at work, probably the easiest way to do that is to temporarily share your entire C: drive.
This definitely presents a potential security hazard but for the quick transferring of files it will be okay. For XP, go back into My Computer and right-click your C-Drive. Choose Sharing and Security, acknowledge the security warnings about sharing the root (entire) drive and check Share this Folder on the Network. On Vista or Win7, right-click the C-Drive and choose Share with, Advanced Sharing. Check Share this folder. At this point, both computers are sharing their entire hard drives. You may go to either computer and browse your network for the other shared hard drive. Simply drag and drop the files to your new computer from the old. Don’t forget to remove sharing when finished.
The final method is by using either a USB cable or a Crossover cable and hooking it up to both computers. By plugging a crossover cable into each computer’s network port, you can transfer data without the aid of a network or USB device. This can be quite tricky for the layperson to do so I would not recommend it. You must launch a command prompt and type ipconfig to determine each computer’s IP address. Share your entire hard drives, as detailed above, and press the Start button. In the Run or search box, type \ipaddressofothercomptuer\sharename. This should connect you to the other computer for data transfer. A far simpler method is through the use of a USB Transfer Cable. This just plugs into a USB port on each computer to establish a connection between the two. With XP you may need to install software from the CD that came with the cable. On newer operating systems you need only follow the prompts.
As you can see, there are three basic ways to transfer files to a new computer: manually, network, and direct. Each method has its pros and cons. Things to consider are if you are on a corporate, domain network, what version your operating system is, and your experience level. In addition, think about how much data you need to move and whether or not you need a backup copy when making a decision about what method to use. The ability to transfer files between computers is a great skill to possess.
Eric Alan Anderson is a Systems & Support Administrator for a mid-sized BioPharma Company. He has over ten years in the Information Technology field. He is involved with many sites and his latest takes a look at the best home gym and cheap home gyms