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Transferring old files to a new Vista PC

How Windows Vista Business simplifies the file transfer process

The prospect of moving old files and settings to a new PC can be daunting - and lost productivity that may occur can be stressful too. Yet, as you will see in the steps that follow, Windows Vista Business greatly simplifies the process of transferring files and settings to a new Windows Vista-enabled PC.

This scenario assumes you are transferring files and settings from an old PC running either Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home, Windows 2000 or Windows Vista to a new computer with Windows Vista installed. You can migrate files and settings using any of the following options:

Network connection

Removable media (such as a USB flash drive or external hard disk)


USB Easy Transfer cable

Note that both computers must support the transfer method you choose.

In addition to a choice of transfer method, you also have a choice of migration tools. For a large deployment - when you are migrating files and settings for a number of users onto multiple computers - you would use the User State Migration Tool. But to move files and settings from a single computer to a new computer, Windows Easy Transfer is the tool to use.

With Windows Easy Transfer you can move user accounts, files and folders, program settings, Internet settings and favourites, as well as e-mail settings to your new Vista PC.

Using the USB Easy Transfer Cable

A USB Easy Transfer cable specially designed to connect two computers and work with Windows Easy Transfer is one of the easiest ways to transfer your files and settings to your new computer. It transfers at a rate of about 1 gigabyte per minute and works with Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

Before you plug in the cable, insert the CD containing Windows Easy Transfer and software drivers that come with the cable into your old computer and then click the image of the Windows Easy Transfer disc. Then, run Windows Easy Transfer by clicking Start, pointing to All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, then clicking Windows Easy Transfer. Follow the instructions and prompts in the wizard.

When the installation is complete, plug the cable into both computers to get started.

Note: If a USB Easy Transfer cable did not come with your computer, you can order one online, from your computer manufacturer, or get one at an electronics store.

Step 1: Prepare Windows Easy Transfer

Regardless of which method you choose for transferring files, the first step involves preparing Windows Easy Transfer on your Windows Vista computer and saving a version of the wizard for use on your non-Windows Vista computer.

1. On your Windows Vista computer, click Start, and then point to All Programs. Point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Windows Easy Transfer.

2. On the Welcome to Windows Easy Transfer screen (shown above), click Next and follow the instructions and prompts in the wizard. When prompted to select a destination for Windows Easy Transfer files, you can choose between creating the wizard files on CD or DVD, on some kind of removable medium, or on a network drive.

3. Type the path and folder name, or browse to the location where you want to store the Windows Easy Transfer files. By default, this location is C:\migwiz.

4. Click Next to copy the wizard files to the location you specified.

Step 2: Save the files from your old computer

In the second stage of the migration process, you collect and save the files and settings from your old computer.

1. Start Windows Easy Transfer on the computer from which you want to perform the migration by browsing to the location where you stored the wizard files, and then double-clicking migwiz.exe.

2. Follow the instructions and prompts in the wizard to specify which transfer method you want to use. Important: Ensure that your choice works on both computers.

3. When asked where you want to save your files, type the path to the location where you want to store the files during transfer. (You have the option of protecting your files with a password.)

4. When asked what you want to transfer to your new computer, you have three choices: All user accounts, files, and settings (Recommended); My user account, files, and settings only. You can elect to limit the migration to your own account only; Advanced options. Specify exactly which files to migrate.

A list of files and settings to be transferred appears.

5. If you're satisfied with this list, click Transfer. If you want to make modifications, click Customise.

6. When the files have successfully been moved, click Close.

Step 3: Transfer Files and Settings to Your Windows Vista Computer

The final step involves transferring the files and settings from wherever you stored them to your Windows Vista computer.

1. Verify that your removable medium is connected to your Windows Vista computer, that your CD or DVD is in the CD-ROM drive, or that your Windows Vista computer has access to the network location in which you stored your Windows Easy Transfer files.

2. Run Windows Easy Transfer on your Windows Vista computer, and then click Continue a transfer in progress.

3. When asked, "Where did you copy the files and settings you want to transfer," browse to your saved files, and then click Next.

4. Map the user account or accounts from your old computer to your new Windows Vista computer. Choose user names on your new computer that match the names on the old computer, or select a different user to which these files and settings are to be transferred, and then click Next.

5. When prompted to select one or more drives to use on your new computer, select the destination drive for each source drive. Click Next.

A list of files and settings to be transferred appears.

6. If you're satisfied with the list, click Transfer.

When the files have successfully been moved, a summary page telling you what was transferred appears.

What next?

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