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How to migrate to a new Windows PC

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Old PC, new PC. It’s great to get a new computer, but it’s not so great to realize that all your stuff is on the old one.

There are several ways to transfer your old computer’s files, apps, and settings to your new PC. The best and easiest way is to use a cloud storage service as the waystation. Cloud storage works whether you are moving from a Windows 7 PC to a Windows 10 one, or from one Windows 10 PC to another. It even works if you are moving from a Macintosh to a Windows PC. Our article “The best way to transfer files to a new Windows PC or Mac” explains the ins and outs of migrating to a new computer via the cloud.

That said, you may not be able to use the cloud to transfer your files — for instance, if the data-usage costs would be too high or you are not connected to the internet, or if your IT department won’t let you install the cloud account on both the old and new PCs.

And you might want to transfer more than just files from your old computer to your new one. This story includes methods for migrating files and apps, as well as browser bookmarks; one method can transfer some system settings as well.

Transferring files locally to a new PC

There are several methods to transfer files locally from an old computer to a new Windows PC, and most work whether you’re moving from a Windows PC to a Windows PC or from a Mac to a Windows PC.

Direct file transfer via an external drive

You can connect an external hard drive, SD card, or thumb drive to your old PC, copy your files to it, then eject that device from the old computer, plug it into the new PC and copy the files to that new PC. The trick here (besides having enough storage capacity on your transfer drive) is to have your files and folders organized well enough so you get them all.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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