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Eventually, father time catches up with all of those. Whilst sad, the old warhorse home PC is thrown onto the scrapheap- as a younger, fitter model steps in to take its place.

First things first, you need to get all your valuable files from A to B. For that, you have a number of options for migrating PCs.


Get some storage

Whichever method of migration you choose, it’s likely to require some external storage. Grab yourself a USB drive, or even better, an external hard drive. How large it needs to be rather depends on how much data you’re looking to transfer. As a general rule of thumb however, it always pays to go that little bit larger. When the migration is complete, your now obsolete storage can double up as a handy backup solution.



Windows Easy Transfer

If your new system happens to have the same Operating System as the old one, then you’re in luck. Both Windows and Mac OS X have integrated migration software, allowing a smooth transfer from one PC to the other.

Beginning with Windows Transfer, which comes pre-installed on Windows 7 and 8 (it requires you to download it for use on Windows XP). Begin by plugging your storage device into your old PC, and work your way through Easy Transfer’s steps. Not only will the system harvest your documents, music and pictures etc for transfer, but settings such as Internet Browser favourites, emails and user accounts will also find their way across to your new system. You can even password protect your files, offering an extra layer of security in case the drive find itself in the wrong hands during transit.




Once completed, plug the storage device into your new PC, open the appropriate drive, and click on the “Windows Easy Transfer- items from old PC” icon.

Follow the instructions and you’re all set. Stress-free file transfer.

Note: For Windows 8 apps, log into your transferred account and head to the app store. Click “Your Apps” in the menu, and a list of every app you owned from your old PC will appear. Click the ones you want and press “install” to get all your apps across to your new PC.



Migration Assistant

For Apple’s range of Mac computers, things are largely the same. Firstly, create a backup of your old PC using Mac’s integrated “Time-Machine” feature. This essentially takes a screenshot of your Mac at any given time, saving all your files and settings in the process.

Open Mac’s Migration Assistant on your new mac to get started (this should happen upon first booting it up in any case). Select “From a Mac, Time Machine backup, or start up disk” when asked “How do you want to transfer your information?” Continue with the steps, selecting which data you wish to transfer as you progress. The login screen will appear when complete.




Note: Both Windows Easy Transfer and Migration Assistant allow for alternative migration methods such as via Wi-Fi, Ethernet or special transfer cables. All are perfectly plausible, and require broadly the same steps to complete.


From Mac to Windows or Windows to Mac

It won’t come as a surprise to learn that neither Mac nor Windows’ PCs have dedicated software for defecting operating systems. Thankfully, there are a couple of options available to those who are changing sides.

Cloud Storage

Beginning with the cloud. Cloud storage is becoming an increasingly sensible option for those of us who want to back up our files without using a physical drive. There are number of cloud services available, each of which will provide you with a free allocation of space. Microsoft’s OneDrive for example, offers 15GB for free, as does Google Drive. You could use any number of these services to stockpile your free cloud storage, and data transfer is as easy as uploading from the old and downloading from the new. You could, of course, opt for a monthly subscription, handing you a considerably storage boost (for example, 1TB of storage costs £5.99 per month on OneDrive). But unless you plan to continue using the service after migration, signing up hardly seems worthwhile.




A word of warning however, cloud transfer is not recommended for transferring large files. the transfer of large chunks of data, for example a film, would take an age via the cloud, as well as eating up a significant part of your allocated storage. Cloud transfer is best served for users who are only planning to migrate a small amount of data onto their new system.



Manual Transfer

If all else fails, there is always that trusty external storage device to see you through migration to a new PC. Indeed in many ways, the manual transfer could be your best bet. Void of any unnecessary steps or software use, manual transfer is done the good ‘ol fashion way- with drag and drop.


Plug your storage device into the old PC, and drag each and every file you wish to migrate into the appropriate drive. At times, this can be a tedious task, especially if your files aren’t in the best of order. But, it can give you a good opportunity to sift through any files you don’t need anymore, and you’ll end up transferring only the files that you absolutely need.


Delete your old drive!

Before you go hastily flogging that now redundant system on eBay, make sure it’s totally void of any potentially sensitive data you used to house on it. The best way to wiping all your old files from an old PC is restoring your PC to factory settings.



  1. One thing Will missed is that the Windows Easy Transfer in Windows 8.1 is only for moving to that machine. If you want to move from a Windows 8.1 pc to another Easy transfer in 8.1 is missing the options. I guess that I could have missed something?

  2. I’m afraid Nick is right, Easy Transfer on Win 8.1 has been nobbled, you can only transfer TO that machine, no way to actually save the .MIG file.
    Try EaseUS Todo PC Trans – the free version! – it may work…..

  3. Is there a transfer for Windows 10 to Windows 10? I have upgraded my current PC from 8.1 to 10 and now wish to transfer it to a new system and there doesn’t seem to be anything within windows 10 – any ideas?

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