Let’s say you bought a new computer to replace your old one. This means you may also need files and documents from your older computer to be transferred onto the new system. Achieving this can prove to be one of the trickiest and most time-consuming processes out there. Keeping this in mind, we’re going to try and simplify the process while also discussing the best methods to transfer files onto your new computer.
As you would imagine, there are several ways to achieve this, and we’re going to talk about a few of the best-known methods in the industry. It must be noted that no method is better or worse since the result is the same. Users need to know how much time they’re willing to spend on this, and if applicable, any money. So let’s take a look at some of the best ways to transfer files to a new computer.
6 Best Way to Transfer Files to New Computer
Transferring files over a Wi-Fi or LAN connection
While there are several methods to transfer files between computers effectively, this is by far one of the easiest provided you know how to set up a home network between two computers. This connects two computers over the same wireless or Wi-Fi connection, thus making file transfer seamless and relatively hassle-free. It also works if your computers are connected via an Ethernet cable to the router. The best part about this method is that it doesn’t require you to manually set up the connection every time, so all you have to do is make sure the computers are turned on and a connection will be automatically established. This is also one of the most inexpensive options on our list, primarily due to the fact it uses existing infrastructure at your home.
Using cloud services
This is also one of the best methods to try sharing data wirelessly, although it may take a bit of time depending on which provider you choose and also the kind of file you want to transfer. When we speak about cloud services, the first few names that come to mind are Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, Box, and so on. Any one of these cloud services can be an excellent choice for transferring your entire folders to the cloud and using your new computer to download them. But as we mentioned above, it’s not the most efficient method to transfer files between computers, particularly for videos and large files. If you have storage above 10-15GB, you may also need to pay to expand storage. This is because most cloud services only provide a certain amount of free storage per user.
Users can alternatively try services like FilePizza, which allows you to send large files over a peer-to-peer network between two computers. The best part is that this can offer better speeds than most services, making this a suitable choice for quick online file transfer. The company doesn’t store anything, and all the data is shared within the browser. PlusTransfer is yet another excellent alternative for transferring files of up to 5GB. It doesn’t require user registration, which means you’re good to go as soon as you start using the app.
Plug the old hard drive into the new computer
This is one of the no-brainer options and something that most people will be aware about. If your computer has a spare SATA port, it can comfortably accommodate your old hard drive. When setting up, the computer will automatically recognize your old hard drive and allow you to copy or move files onto the new hard drive seamlessly.
Understandably, this can be slightly confusing if your computer is a laptop. While most laptops don’t have a visible SATA port, they do come with USB ports. This is where third-party USB 3.0 to SATA portable adapters come in handy. This only requires a single USB port and can allow your old hard drive to be connected manually, thus offering the ability to transfer files between two computers quickly.
It is also worth considering that standard SATA hard drives can be turned into portable hard drives by getting an external shell. You can find plenty of hard drive enclosures on Amazon, so you will probably be spoilt for choice. There are enclosures available in multiple sizes for a wide range of 2.5-inch SATA HDDs, including this one, that can turn your aging hard drive into a portable hard drive. Of all the methods that we have spoken about, this perhaps is one of the best as it lets you keep using your old HDD even if the computer is no longer functional.
Speaking of external hard drives, if you already have one of these at your disposal, it can also be an excellent way to transfer files between computers. However, it takes more time since you will have to manually copy the files from the old hard drive and paste it onto the new computer. Given that external hard drives come in all shapes and sizes, the choices are plenty.
Using dedicated PC software
There is plenty of software for your PC that allows you to transfer files between two computers seamlessly. But the one with a good reputation in the industry is PCmover. Moreover, this software also gets the official nod from Microsoft, which had its file transfer software called Easy File Transfer for Windows 7 and 8 computers, but was removed with Windows 10. This change also means that transferring files using this service is no longer free. PCmover can be purchased from multiple retailers in the market today, including Amazon. The most recent version, known as PCmover Ultimate 11, is the ideal choice for transferring massive files between computers.
The software works by letting you choose all the folders and files as well as settings and user profiles that you want to move to the new computer. Once this is done, you have to connect both computers to the internet, and the file transfer will begin automatically. Bear in mind that PCmover will have to be installed on both devices for this to work. This works with Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. It is important to note that PCmover cannot transfer entire applications, and the performance of some apps may be different, especially if you’re switching over from an older version of Windows.
This is a much more straightforward option, and more importantly, one of the few free options available on this list. Send Anywhere lets you transfer files between two computers that are on the same network. Users can also choose to receive files using the “Receive Key” on the handy web interface. In terms of ease of use as well as file transfer speeds, Send Anywhere is highly recommended, especially if you’re on a temporary wireless network.
Using a File Transfer Cable
This is yet another easy option to share files between two computers. It establishes a simple USB A to USB A connection with both computers. Moreover, the cables can provide speeds of up to 480 Mbps, making this an excellent choice for file transfer. Our favorite file transfer cable comes from Belkin, which has an 8 feet cable, making it an excellent choice for nearby computers and even more so for laptops. This can be an efficient way to transfer files if you’re not looking to invest a lot of money in the process.
Customers can also choose to use a USB C to USB C cable to initiate a simple file transfer process without much effort. It must be noted that while a majority of the USB C cables work with computers, some are known to have caused damage to computers. Keeping this in mind, it makes sense to carefully pick the USB C cable that you want to use with your computers. There are plenty of decent cables that you can buy on Amazon right now, so be sure to have a closer look at your picks.
Cloning your hard drive
This may seem like a complex process, but it certainly isn’t. There are multiple apps out there that let you clone your old hard drive into the new computer, which is a faster and much more straightforward process than manually copying files. So which are some of the best cloning apps out there?
This is one of the most recognized PC cloning software available in the market today. What makes it appealing to all is the fact that it has multiple user options, including a free option with basic hard drive cloning options. This should be sufficient for most users who want to transfer essential files onto a new computer. Customers of the Home Edition gives access to four PCs as well as comprehensive customer support to help you through the process.
Acronis is an excellent option as well, especially if you’re looking to clone multiple computers at once. Unfortunately, it offers a basic version of a free trial/demo. The company’s basic Home package requires a one time purchase for one to three computers with the latter option naturally more attractive to the users.
This is yet another new cloning software and, surprisingly, one of the few free cloning software available in the market. This also means that it isn’t as fast as some of the other services we talked about, but it can certainly get the job done. Clonezilla can also support disc imaging and disc partitioning duties, which makes it a pretty versatile software overall. The user interface, as well as the general usability of the app, is nothing to write home about, however. If this is something that you can look over, Clonezilla is one of the best choices out there.
This software bridges the gap between the free and paid software to offer an excellent option to almost every customer. Of course, EaseUS also has a paid service, but free customers can also comfortably use this service without being stuck in the middle of the file transfer. Customers can also use this software for Partition or Disk Backup, thus making this the only app you need to have for all hard drive related concerns. The company offers a plan with email notifications and file exclusion for a fee per year.
While most of the options we talked about above cover Mac users as well, some of them are Windows-only services. Naturally, using cloud services is also an appealing choice for Mac users as it is for Windows customers. However, Apple has made it reasonably easy to transfer files between two Macs using nothing but a high-speed Thunderbolt cable. Apple sells its own USB C Thunderbolt cable that can allow you to create a link between two Macs to transfer files seamlessly. This accessory is all you need to have if you’re looking to transfer files between two Macs using a hardware solution.
Users can also choose to set up a network connection to wirelessly transfer files between Macs. This is done by heading over to System Preferences – Sharing. You can then find a wide range of options to share folders or to limit access to particular folders to some users on the network. For this feature to work, this feature must be enabled on both Macs. You can find more details on setting this up from Apple’s official support page.
If you’re looking for a simple solution to send smaller files and videos to two Macs without a cable or accessory, AirDrop is perhaps the best solution. Moreover, it can set up an independent connection between two Macs, even if there’s no internet connection around you. This is because AirDrop uses point-to-point Wi-Fi to share files between two devices. Moreover, AirDrop is available by default on all macOS computers launched in the past few years, so there’s no need to download additional apps or services. Since this is also a native solution, it is also one of the most trusted.
Do you have any alternative methods for easy file transfer between computers? Be sure to let us know.