Plan for your move!
Getting a new PC is an exciting but potentially frustrating experience since losing all the tweaks, settings, favorite websites, applications, and other customizations from the old computer can cost many hours of frustration and lost productivity.
Of the many tools available to help automate the process, Windows Easy Transfer and Bravura Easy Computer Sync are some of the best. Moving into a new pc yourself with the USB Easy Transfer cable can save you a few hundred dollars, and keep you from realizing something was missed until it’s too late. Just do yourself the favor of reading this post through to the end and asking questions before you start!
Windows Easy Transfer
Windows Easy Transfer is preinstalled on Windows 7 and Windows 8 PC’s, and it’s a great way to quickly copy documents, photos, videos, and music. Windows Easy Transfer (WET, from here on out) will also do a fantastic job with Windows settings: things like whether you have changed your background, user profile picture, text size/DPI scaling, and myriad other Windows option choices.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Windows RT and any ARM based Windows 8 Tablets including Microsoft Surface will NOT work with “legacy” Windows desktop applications like Windows Easy Transfer, Bravura Easy Computer sync, or our USB easy transfer cable.
WET allows you to quickly select user accounts on your old PC and match them up to accounts on the new PC, or even create those new accounts during the transfer. Once completed, WET offers a handy report that details what it moved:
ALL files (including pictures, music, favorite sites, etc) that were transferred will be listed under documents. If you’re not sure if something transferred, this is where you’ll need to check. The second tab at the top, “App Report” is where you can go to see what applications WET could find, and which ones might still need to be installed.
What’s the catch, or what about my apps?
It is important to note that programs are NOT transferred during this process. Microsoft left application transfer capabilities out of Windows Easy Transfer since there was no way of ensuring applications on the old PC would be compatible with the new PC, as well as the fact that many applications are only licensed for use on a certain number of systems.
To be very clear, applications installed on your old PC will NOT be available on your new PC until you install them manually. Experience with hundreds of new PC setups has taught me that it’s best to install any applications you know you’ll be needing first, and then proceed with importing application data using WET or Bravura. That brings us to….
Tips for importing application data
Typically, I review my installed programs on the old pc see what’s been used recently. Use the windows key+R then type appwiz.cpl in the window that pops up and press enter) to get to the Add/Remove Applications section of the Control Panel on old PC. Here are some lessons I’ve learned about installing the apps on the new PC:
- Install all applications before transferring the relevant application data. This way, when programs are run for the first time, they’ve got the best chance of having user data in place and minimizing time spent importing data to applications. This strategy relies on completing the transfer BEFORE launching any applications, so make sure not to open any of the programs you’ve installed before transferring your data.
- To provide the best chance of applications working normally after an automated transfer, making certain to match account names is critical! This mean to transfer my “Jeff” account to another account name Jeff- NOT Jeffrey, or the crown prince of awesome, or sir Jeffrey, or Jeph, but “Jeff” just like it was on the old PC.
- For some common applications like Outlook and iTunes, there are known issues with WET that make doing a separate export of the data from the old PC and import on the new PC a much better solution.
After making the list of applications I need to transfer and checking it twice, I bring the list to the new pc and visit the Ninite Website.
Ninite is a great way to quickly install many of the common free apps that are widely used, so it helps me to knock out installation of basic programs like Adobe PDF Viewer, Skype, and many other common free applications. Once Ninite has finished, proceed with manual installations of things like Office or Quicken that will require activation and/or product keys.
Once your new PC is all setup with whatever programs you know you want to move data into, you’re ready to start your transfer.
Bravura Easy Computer Sync
Since there are a few situations where Easy Transfer doesn’t work, we also provide a license for Bravura Easy Computer sync with the purchase of our USB Easy Transfer Cable.
Both tools are great, but I prefer Bravura Easy Computer Sync for the following reasons:
- Easy to handle manual application data export/import process via drag and drop
- Drag and Drop file copy between PC’s.
- Simplified interface
- Transfer from x64 bit old/source PC to x86 AKA 32 bit new/target PC.
- Bi-Directional, ongoing copy support. Bravura Easy Computer Sync handles ongoing transfer and sync needs, while WET is designed for only a single A to B copy, not for ongoing use.
- Like WET, Easy Computer Sync also provides a report detailing all the files that were transferred, however it doesn’t provide some of the additional details about applications that need to be installed as WET does. You can view the report by clicking “View Log…” on Bravura’s final screen pictured below.
Between Windows Easy Transfer, Bravura Easy Computer Sync, and Plugable Support, we’re confident a little DIY ethic can you can save a few hundred dollars getting moved into your new PC!