Transfer files and settings from old PC to new PC?

Dennis Faas's picture

Die-hard Infopackets Reader Dri-Anna D. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Being that I consider you a trusted source (along with Fred Langa's LangaList), I am following your newsletter articles with great interest with respect to updating Windows XP to Service Pack 2.

I have a question, however. I will be purchasing a new computer next month, and it will have a pre-installed copy of Windows XP Home Edition, complete with the install CD so I can install it again at a later date (if needed). I am very excited about using my new computer, yet, I am also dreading the job of transferring my gobs of applications and personal files from the older PC to the new one. Thus, my question is two-fold:

1. If Windows XP Home is already installed on the new computer, is there a software solution I can use to facilitate the transfer of my files and installed programs from my old PC (Windows 98 Second Edition) to the new PC (Windows XP Home)?

2. If not, would it make sense to take my old C drive (40 gigabytes) out of my old PC, purchase a 'Windows XP Upgrade CD', and use that to install WinXP over top of Win98SE so that I can retain all of my program files, personal files, and settings, etc? If I go this route, I will have to make my new C drive (220 gigabytes) in the new computer as a 'slave drive' and use it for backups, graphics and music media files.

What do you think is my best route?"

My response:

Good question. Regarding your #2 question: in theory, you could do this, however:

  • You may encounter stability issues because the old hard drive is configured to run with the old computer's hardware. Each installation of Windows is unique for every PC and is not designed to be transferable in this manner.
  • A fresh install of Windows is *always* better than upgrading from a previous Windows installation. Upgrading from a previous version will certainly import your files, applications, and settings, but may also import any problems you had with your old system (such as a poorly managed System Registry). Also, not every program that you had with Win98 may be compatible with WinXP.
  • Your old 40 gig hard drive (HD) is probably much slower than a 220 gig HD, so you'll be losing out on Operating System performance if you make the 40 gig HD your primary drive.
  • RE: a solution to facilitate the transfer of files from the old PC to the new PC

    If you dread the thought of moving your files over, you can use an application called Move Me to do it. It not only transfers personal files, but also handles installed applications and settings. You can read about Move Me here.

    Rate this article: 
    No votes yet