Q: The last time I purchased a new computer, I wasted many hours configuring it with all of my user accounts, email account settings, network connections, Internet favorites, dictionary updates and passwords. Once again, I plan to purchase a new computer, but this time I want to avoid the configuration hassles. What is the easiest way to transfer my email and other computer settings to a new Windows 7 computer?
A: Microsoft provides a free utility program called Windows Easy Transfer (sometimes referred to as WET), which helps you move your data, email and program settings from one computer to another. Due to licensing issues and installation differences among operating systems, Windows Easy Transfer does not transfer any programs to the new computer; accordingly, all necessary programs should be installed on the new computer before starting the following process.
Following are steps for using the Windows Easy Transfer utility:
1. Be sure to log on to both your old and new computer as the administrator. Start by installing any necessary programs on the new computer, such as Microsoft Office.
2. Make sure that the correct version of Windows Easy Transfer is loaded on both computers. Most likely, your new computer will have the correct version already loaded, and the same utility can be downloaded to your old computer from tinyurl.com/n8ge3b. Be sure to download the version of Windows Easy Transfer based upon the version of Windows running on your new computer. For example, if your new computer is running Windows 7 64-bit, then download the Windows 7 64-bit version of Windows Easy Transfer to your old computer.
3. Decide which media you want to use for transferring your data and program settings. Windows Easy Transfer offers a variety of media options as follows:
a. A network connection
b. A special USB cable referred to as an Easy Transfer Cable
c. External USB drive
d. Thumb-size flash drive
e. CD or DVD
As a practical matter, most people use the network connection option when available, especially when they have a large amount of data. If a network connection and cables are not available, an Easy Transfer Cable (with USB connections) can be purchased online or at your local computer store for approximately $15 to $20. If you use either of the USB drive options, make sure the drive has enough free space to accommodate all of your data and settings. If you use the CD or DVD option, make sure you have enough blank CDs or DVDs to accommodate all of your data and settings.
4. On the new computer, to start the Windows Easy Transfer click the Start button, type Easy Transfer in the Start Search box, and press Enter. Click Next and select the method of transfer, such as A Network, for example. On the following screen, select the option This is my new computer. Next, you will be asked if you have already saved your files from the old computer, and if you have already installed Windows Easy Transfer on the old computer. Answer appropriately and continue.
5. Start the Windows Easy Transfer on the old computer. Select the same method of data transfer and select the option This is my old computer. Windows Easy Transfer will automatically scan your old computer and save data for all of your user accounts, file types, program settings, Internet favorites, dictionary updates and more. When the scan is complete, a summary of the settings found will be displayed. Deselect any user accounts, file types or program settings that you don’t want transferred (by deselecting each option’s checkbox) and place checkmarks next to any data files or data folders that you want transferred. Click OK.
6. On the next screen, either enter a password in the Password box to protect the data file or leave it blank; click OK. Browse to an appropriate folder on the new computer (through the network connection) and click the Save button to save your data and settings to your new computer.
7. On the new computer, continue with Windows Easy Transfer (where you left off at step 4 above) by browsing to and selecting the new file and clicking the Transfer button. Once the transfer is complete, Windows Easy Transfer will display a list of data that has been transferred.
Note: Windows Easy Transfer will not transfer files from a 64-bit version of Windows to a 32-bit version of Windows.
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