Moving your data to a new computer

Changing computers is no easy feat. You can spend years accumulating and arranging documents, programs, files, folders and photos, and suddenly you need to move them and start all over again.

By transferring data from your old computer to your new one, you can help ease the transition and avoid the hassle of spending hours downloading files or installing programs. Here’s some practical tips on transferring data to a new machine.

Prepare

In order to ensure that your transfer runs as smoothly as possible, a little preparation goes a long way. By organizing your files into various categories and folders before you make the transfer, you’ll avoid spending hours trawling through your hard drive to look for them on your new computer. You can also use this time to perform a little spring cleaning and shake off any useless excess data clogging up your computer. Once you’ve decided on what to take and what to leave, you’ll need to decide how you wish to make the transfer.

DVD-RW

Depending on how much data needs to be transferred, you could consider copying your files to a rewritable DVD. The process is very easy, requiring little more than clicking and dragging or following the steps laid out by your burning software. Once the files have been copied, simply insert them into your new computer’s DVD drive and copy them over. At about ten dollars for a pack of five, DVD transfer is also an extremely cheap option. However, it is not recommended for those transferring large amounts of data over a number of DVDs, as it can often be unreliable and messy.

External Storage Devices

Almost every computer user owns some form of external storage media. Whether it’s a USB key, flash card, or external hard drive, these devices can act as mediums between your old computer and your new one. For transferring large amounts of data, it’s recommended that you use an external hard drive. These devices are extremely easy to use and can hold large amounts of data. Since everything is transferred on the same device, it is also an easy way to keep everything organized. Be aware, however, that you will probably need install most of your programs again on your new computer.

Migration Software

If you wish to avoid the inconvenience of arranging and copying files manually, you might consider investing in data migration software. The major benefit of using data migration software is that it allows you to keep all of your existing settings and preferences, and avoid dealing the mess usually associated with manual transfers. Since the files are being transferred directly, it also provides some peace of mind that no important or hidden files will get left behind.  Data migration kits typically cost around $40 and include a cable to connect the two machines.

Once you’re satisfied that all your data has been transferred correctly, make sure to scrub your hard drive to remove any sensitive or personal data before disposing of it.