Usually when you buy a new computer, Windows 10 is already installed on it by default. That's handy, but you're not there yet. Of course you would prefer to have all your data, such as files, user settings and the like, on your new PC. How do you transfer this data from your old to your new computer? In this article we explain that.
The easiest part of the entire move is probably your own data files. Although you can also take it with you with more specialized migration tools (see below), you also come a long way with the Explorer. You don't really have to do much more than copy the desired files to your new PC, for example with a USB stick or an external hard drive as an intermediate station. If it concerns a limited amount of data, you can use a cloud storage service. If it needs to be faster, you can (temporarily?) connect the old hard drive to your new PC as a second drive. Finally, you can also transfer the data via your network. For example, you create a shared folder on your new system and that becomes the destination folder for your copy operations.
However, it becomes a bit more difficult if you also want to take your own Windows account and perhaps also that of fellow users, your applications with the trusted settings, your trusted Windows environment and all kinds of other data, such as drivers or e-mail archives, in the removal van. . Later in this article, we provide you with the necessary tips and tools for this.
01 Microsoft account
Windows 10 itself offers a handy solution to quickly see your own account with associated Windows and browser settings, such as passwords and color themes, appear on your new PC. The condition is that you are logged in on your old device with a Microsoft account and not just with a classic, local Windows account. Furthermore, you must also log in on the new PC with the same Microsoft account. What exactly is synchronized between the two devices is largely up to you. Go to Institutions and choose Accounts / Sync your settings. This is where you put all sliders – and certainly the top one Synchronize settings - on On if it is indeed your intention to synchronize as much as possible.
If you are stuck with a local account, you can still convert it to a Microsoft account first: go to Settings / Accounts / Your info, click on Sign in with a Microsoft account instead and follow the further instructions.
02 Profile transfer: source
However, there are other options for transferring Windows profiles to another PC. Microsoft used to provide the Windows Easy Transfer migration tool, but unfortunately that is no longer in Windows 10. A possible alternative is the free Transwiz (suitable for Windows XP and higher). The effect actually speaks for itself. Start the portable tool on your PC and select I want to transfer data to another computer. Then choose the desired Windows profile. You can only select one profile (at a time) and it cannot be the account you are currently logged in with. Press Next one, enter the destination folder, such as removable media, and optionally enter a password. After the copy action, click on Complete.
03 Profile transfer: target
You now plug the medium with the profile file into the target PC and start Transwiz there too. This time select here I have data that I want to transfer to this computer and point to the zip file. If you want, you can rename the copied profile and indicate whether it is a standard or an administrator account. Just check the box Set as default logon if you want to indicate that Windows should start with this profile by default. Confirm your choice: a little later the profile migration is over.
Do you find it annoying that you can only migrate one profile at a time and/or do you want more freedom in what exactly has to be put in the removal van - such as Windows settings and installed applications - then there is still Transwiz Professional Edition, but that is with € 99.95 decent for the price. A cheaper solution is Laplink PCmover Home from € 31.95.
04 Application move
There are also tools that allow you to migrate installed applications, such as the free EaseUS Todo PCTrans Free (compatible with Windows XP and above). Unlike the paid Pro variant (about € 50.00) that lets you transfer an unlimited number of (supported) applications, in the free version you are limited to only two applications. Data files can then be migrated to an unlimited extent. We briefly look at how to get started with PCTrans (Free).
After a simple installation, start the tool. A drop-down menu with three options will appear. The first option PC to PC assumes that the migration can be done through your network connection, while the second option (Image Transfer) works with an image file as an intermediate station. The third option (App Migration) is really just for transferring installed applications from one drive to another drive on the same PC.
We are going for a real migration, but because we are not sure that both your source and target PC are connected to your network simultaneously, we opt for Image Transfer.
05 Image Migration
So just click Image Transfer and on Home / Create. You can now enter a name and location for the image file, after which you click Confirm clicks. PCTrans analyzes your system and indicates how many applications and data files were detected. Accounts appear to be reserved for the Pro version.
Click at Applications on To process. You will now get a list of detected applications, divided into tabs like Supported, Likely Supported and Not supported. It should be clear: migrating an application from the first category gives a better chance of success than one from the other categories. To illustrate: on our test device, 102 applications belonged to the first category, 0 to the second and 3 to the third. As mentioned, in the free version you can only leave 2 applications selected. Confirm your choice with Complete. Then click on Files on the button To process, so that you only have the desired data files migrated. Also confirm here with Complete and finally click Create to create the image file.
Now start PCTrans now also on the target PC, where you Image Transfer / Start / Restore selects. Point to the targeted PC file and click again To recover. click on transfer before the actual migration start. If all is well, applications and data will be neatly stored on the target PC a little later. Optionally, you can repeat the entire process for the next two applications and work through your list in pairs.
06 Application Settings
If you are unable to migrate certain applications, you will have to reinstall them, but there is a chance that you can transfer the configuration (ie the program settings) with a few mouse clicks using the free CloneApp tool. This tool supports approximately 250 applications, according to the overview - and via the site you can also download plug-ins that provide support for additional applications.
Right click the extracted tool and choose Run as administrator. The program will start with a list of the supported software. It suffices Select Installed and the tool will automatically select all applications installed on your system. Note that this also selects parts as Windows Download, Windows Documents, etc., which can consume a lot of disk space. Fortunately, you can also (de)select individual items.
07 Clone app backups
Click on the top right Edit Plugin then you can see which parts of a selected item move with it. If necessary, you can still adjust the data here yourself, after which you confirm with Save - or with Save as new Plugin if you want a custom name for the custom item.
Once you have selected all the desired programs, click in the left panel on backup. A pop-up window will appear where you can read the location of the backup/migration data. If necessary, you can still adjust it via Settings, Bee Clone Path. As soon as you confirm with Yes CloneApp creates the folder with a separate folder for each selected application by default.
Then copy the entire CloneApp folder to your target PC, including the subfolder with the backup data and run CloneApp from there as administrator. click on Restore, after which the tool recognizes your backup and asks if you want to restore it. click on Yes, after which all app settings will be copied to the corresponding places. It can also be less drastic: you can also right-click on one specific app after which you can select in the context menu Restore selects. Only the configuration of that one application is then copied.
It is also possible that you have linked one or more hardware components or external devices to your old PC that you want to transfer to your new device. With luck, Windows will detect that hardware and automatically install the necessary drivers.
If that doesn't work, it's a good idea to back up those drivers first and use them on your new PC. This is possible with the help of the free Double Driver. Although this program is somewhat older, it also appears to function well under Windows 10. Download the tool, right click on the extracted dd.exefile and choose Run as administrator. click on backup and press the button Scan Current System: All detected drivers are then listed. By default, the Microsoft own drivers are not selected. Check the drivers you want to back up, click Backup Now and provide a suitable storage location. Bee output set the desired storage structure: Structured folder (a folder with a separate subfolder per driver type), Compressed (zipped) folder or Single file self extract (executable). Confirm with OK.
You can install the drivers on your new system via Restore / Locate Backup, then point to the backup folder and make the desired driver selection.
We can imagine that you also want to migrate all kinds of browser settings, plug-ins, bookmarks, your browsing history and possibly also the passwords to your new system. That may be easier than you think, since most browsers can perform such a synchronization automatically. In Chrome, for example, you don't have to do much more than sign in to the browser with the same Google account. You do that through Settings / Enable Sync, after which you sign in with your Google account. Bee Settings / Synchronization then set exactly what you want to synchronize with the other computer(s). In Firefox you activate such a synchronization via the option Sign in to Sync. For Edge, make sure you are signed in with your Microsoft account, after which you Institutions opens in Edge and the slider at Your favorites, reading list, popular settings and other settings […] on On sets.
10 Email Export/Import
If you use a local e-mail client and are unable to migrate the saved e-mail messages via the Explorer or with a tool such as PCTrans (see also '05 Image migration'), then you may be able to do it with the built-in export- and import functions of your e-mail program. As an example, let's assume that you have MS Outlook installed on both PCs and that you want to transfer all messages.
Then start Outlook on the source PC and choose File / Open / Import / Export / Export to a file. Choose Outlook Data File (.pst) as type, select the desired mail folder if desired Including subfolders, Press Next one, choose a suitable storage location and finish with Complete. You then also start on your target PC Outlook and choose you at Import/Export the options Import data from another program or file / Outlook Data File (.pst), after which you refer to the copied file and indicate exactly what you want to import
11 Email archive
If for some reason the regular export and import functions do not work, you can consider the free MailStore Home. Although this tool is primarily intended for e-mail archiving, it also lends itself nicely to migration. For this purpose, you should preferably place the portable version of MailStore Home on an external medium.
Then start the tool and choose Archive emails. Indicate the desired email client, such as Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird, indicate which folders you want in the archive, further configure as desired, confirm with To end, select the created profile and start the process with Commands / Execute. By default, the archive ends up in the \MailStore Home\Data folder.
You can also start the program on the target PC. Here you choose Export email and point you to the target e-mail program. Indicate the source folders as well as the profile or identity within your e-mail program. Double click on the created profile to start the import. A little later you will find your trusted messages in the mail folder MailStore Export, from which you can copy or move the messages to another mail folder if desired.
If you are afraid of migrating the various data, applications, Windows settings, e-mails, and so on, you can opt for a more decisive approach: cloning the source disk to the target disk. There are excellent and free tools for this, such as CloneZilla or the user-friendly Easeus Todo backup. Especially the first tool provides an easy way to transfer Windows data without data loss and without having to reinstall the operating system. In this article we explain how to clone a hard drive with CloneZilla.
Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether such a cloning operation will be completely successful.
For example, it is by no means certain whether Windows will run on the new hardware. In addition, you will normally also need to reactivate Windows, which may not work if you had an OEM version of Windows installed on your old device. If you are considering a clone operation, make sure to first create a disk image of your new system before overwriting it with the old clone – that is also possible with Easeus Todo Backup. Of course, you can also connect your old drive to your new PC first to see if any problems arise when you try to boot from it.