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  • Copying files to a new Win 10 computer

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Questions: Win10 Copying files to a new Win 10 computer

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      • #2014469 Reply
        BobStr
        AskWoody Plus

        As my Win 7 desktop has slowly imploded over the last eight or nine months, I’ve been using a Win 10 laptop as my primary machine. (Currently Version 1809, though I don’t know if that matters for the purpose of my question.) I’ve now bitten the bullet and bought a new Win 10 laptop, which hasn’t arrived yet.

        What is the most painless way to copy files from the laptop to the new desktop? I don’t necessarily want copies of everything on one computer to be on the other, but if simplicity/effectiveness requires copying everything, and then deleting selected stuff if I so desire, I’ve fine with that.

        I use File History (among other things) for backup on the laptop, but, for a variety of reasons that have seemed reasonable to me, have not to date used any kind of cloud storage (don’t even know if that’s the correct term) for backup or syncing files.

        Can I just use File History from the applicable external drive to put files on the new computer? I have Windows 10: The Missing Manual, and its discussion of File History doesn’t seem to say anything about using it to copy files to a second computer. Also, my brief, probably inept, search online found discussions about using File History in combination with Cloud Storage to transfer files, but nothing about simply using File History and an external drive alone. So I wonder whether it’s doable. Or desirable.

        Any advice will be sincerely appreciated.

        Thanks large.

      • #2014495 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        One way would be to remove the hard drive from the Windows 7 machine and place it into an external USB 3 enclosure intended for drives of that size (usually 3.5″ for a desktop).  These enclosures can be purchased for $20 or so, including the AC adapter needing to power the drive.  The smaller 2.5″ laptop drives can generally be powered by the USB 3 port itself, but it’s doubtful you’d have one in a desktop.

        Otherwise, you could create a LAN and define the folders where the files are stored on the Windows 7 machine to be shared, and simply copy them over the LAN to the Windows 10 machine.

        It would also be possible to back up the drive on the Windows 7 machine to an external drive, then mount the drive on the 10 machine and copy the desired folders over.

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.4).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2014626 Reply
          BobStr
          AskWoody Plus

          I think you misunderstood my question, because what I want to do is transfer files from the Win 10 laptop, and not from the old Win 7 desktop, which I haven’t kept up to date.

          But thanks for your response.

      • #2014524 Reply
        DrBonzo
        AskWoody Plus

        I don’t know about Windows 10, but Windows 8.1 has something called Windows Easy Transfer. Windows 7 also has it under Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools. I’ve never used it, but it supposedly is an easy way to facilitate moving to a new computer.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2014625 Reply
          BobStr
          AskWoody Plus

          I just looked at an MS site which says that Windows Easy Transfer isn’t available on Win 10. It says MS has “partnered” with PCMover Express, a not free program, which I’ll consider, although I may end up simply doing this by hand, since that’s the way I’ve done things in the past.

          Thanks for the suggestion.

      • #2014549 Reply
        mngerhold
        AskWoody Lounger

        I know of no easy way to copy just the most recent versions of the files in FH, since it renames files by adding data/time info in order to distinguish them.  Since you have a backup drive, simply copy the required folders (Documents, pictures etc) to the drive using drag & drop.  Then, when the new laptop arrives, copy the contents of those folders (but not the folders themselves) to the appropriate locations on the laptop.

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        • #2014615 Reply
          BobStr
          AskWoody Plus

          That’s what I’ve always done in the past, I certainly can do it here.

          I was hoping that FH would ease the task, but if it can’t, it can’t.

          Thanks for the advice.

      • #2014654 Reply
        access-mdb
        AskWoody MVP

        I’m pretty sure that FH will do the job. Set up FH on the new computer and point at the disk where you currently store your FH files. It should recognize that there’s a FH there and ask if you want to use it; answer yes. I’m assuming you don’t have any folders on your new computer. However, you can then go to ‘documents’ on your new computer using File Explorer. There’s a ‘History’ icon towards the right hand end of the home tab. Click on this and you should see all your files. Just click restore (the big green button) and all your latest folders and latest files will be copied to your new computer. If you have created a folder tree that doesn’t match your old computer’s you can right click on the green button and choose restore to.

        Just for completeness, you can also restore/restore to older copies of your files in the same way. The fact that the files on your backup disk have date times append to their names isn’t really relevant – you use file explore to restore them.

        I’ve done this myself, a little while ago now; the only thing is that the precise details are a bit hazy!

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        • #2014675 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          I will be interested to hear if that works – and may try it myself! (will this appear in the right place – replying to a_m

        • #2014689 Reply
          mngerhold
          AskWoody Lounger

          By George, I think he’s got it!  I removed a few items in ‘documents’, then restarted FH (I had stopped it a few days ago).  Clicking on ‘History’ under the ‘Home’ tab FH-button-gone produced thisFH-restore-3sel where I have selected one folder and two files from my most recent backup – then clicking the green ‘thing’ immediately restored the latest versions to their original location, as shown here:FH-restored

          Well I never!

          I have learned something useful today – well-done Access-MDB.

          • This reply was modified 4 months ago by mngerhold.
          • This reply was modified 4 months ago by mngerhold.
          • This reply was modified 4 months ago by mngerhold.
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          • #2014696 Reply
            access-mdb
            AskWoody MVP

            And if you want to restore an older version of a file, but keep the current one, then you can right click on the green button and restore to a different place. Saved my bacon a few times!

            1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2014821 Reply
          BobStr
          AskWoody Plus

          In that case, once the new computer arrives, I’ll give that a try.

          Thanks much.

          • #2014963 Reply
            mngerhold
            AskWoody Lounger

            When retoring to a new PC (with possibly new account name) there are some potential hiccups – Greg Schultz explains them here: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-correctly-use-file-history-to-transfer-data-files-to-a-new-windows-10-installation/

            3 users thanked author for this post.
            KP, b, BobStr
            • #2016741 Reply
              anonymous
              Guest

              My new computer hasn’t arrived as yet, but in the meanwhile I’ve reviewed that article about possible problems and how to avoid them. It seems pretty straightforward, but I have one question.

              The author says he assumes that I’ll sign into both Windows 10 systems using the same Microsoft account. But I don’t use a sign-in. (My attitude has always been that if someone else uses my computer, I’m already in big trouble, because he’ll have to have broken into my home in order to do such a thing. If I take my laptop on the road — a very rare occurrence — then I temporarily use a password for access, but never otherwise.) The author says that using the MS account facilitates the replication of certain settings in the new Windows 10 installation, such the user account picture, wallpaper and email. But I don’t use a picture, consider setting the wallpaper a simple matter, and don’t use Outlook.

              So should it make a difference that I don’t sign in?

              Thanks.

            • #2023156 Reply
              BobStr
              AskWoody Plus

              Just reporting back that I received my new computer a few days ago. I followed the instructions in the Greg Schultz Schultz article, and they worked like a charm.

              The one thing I’d add is that whereas his very last step was to click on the green button used for “restoring” files, that didn’t do it for me. Instead, I had to take the one extra step of double-clicking on the individual folders (e.g., “Documents,” etc.) shown in the FH window.

              Thanks again for all the suggestions and help I received in this thread.

              • #2023181 Reply
                BobStr
                AskWoody Plus

                All right, spoke too soon.

                Yes, the files from the laptop were copied OK to the new desktop, but after doing more work on the laptop, I plugged in the external drive to update File History, and got the message that “File History doesn’t recognize this drive. Select another drive.”

                Any idea what’s up with that? Do I now have to start from scratch in making a backup?

                Thanks.

              • #2036631 Reply
                access-mdb
                AskWoody MVP

                On the one occasion I used this procedure, or something similar, it told me it had found the FH files and did I want to use them. Can you see the files in your external disk using file manager? Also check FH settings to see if it’s looking for the correct drive. Other than that I can’t help.

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              • #2038630 Reply
                BobStr
                AskWoody Plus

                I followed your advice, and some light was shed, though I’m in the dark about why or exactly how to proceed.

                I was able to see the files on the external drive in File Explorer. I then launched filehistory.exe and got the message that “No file history was found” and that “File History is currently turned off.” See attachment 01. I clicked on the link to Configure File History Settings, and got what you can see in attachment 02. It identifies the external drive the way it always has: “My Passport (D:) 1.59 TB free of 1.81 TB”. But below that it says that “This File History drive was already used”, and the button to “Turn on” FH is greyed out. So apparently that drive can no longer be used for the laptop. You can also see that under “Select an existing backup:” it identifies a single computer — my desktop, not the laptop.

                This led me to thinking, so I attached the external drive to the new desktop, and sure enough, when I launched FH it was prepared to do a further backup to that computer.

                So evidently what happened when I used FH to copy files from the laptop to the desktop was that the external drive transferred its allegiance to the desktop.

                I suspect that the easy way out of this is for me to simply delete FH on the laptop altogether and start over. At least I hope it’s that simple. Or does something simpler suggest itself?

                Also, what with what’s happened so far, am I correct in now assuming that the same external drive can’t be used to store two separate FH’s for two separate computers? Restated, for the purpose of FH, is it necessary to dedicate a separate external drive for each computer?

                Thanks for any further help you can give me.

                Attachments:
              • #2039100 Reply
                access-mdb
                AskWoody MVP

                I have no experience of this. I’ve Googled and found this page. Perhaps an answer might be there.

                1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #2039322 Reply
                BobStr
                AskWoody Plus

                Thanks for the suggestion.

                It turns out that that’s the very article I followed when I did the initial transfer of FH files from my laptop to the desktop. I took it very slowly, and am pretty sure that I was cautious enough to follow the instructions precisely. They in fact worked fine in accomplishing the thing they were designed to do — copying the files to my desktop. But the article doesn’t mention — and I’m guessing that it’s not supposed to happen, or maybe usually doesn’t happen — that the process makes the FH files on the external drive no longer available to FH backup from the laptop.

                If anyone has any idea why that happened, I sure would like to hear it. But otherwise, at this point I think I’ll just start from scratch with the laptop, by going back and creating a new FH backup for it all over again. My impression is that that’s not an intuitively obvious process (from what I’ve seen in passing elsewhere, you just don’t turn it off and then back on again), but I’ll try to work through it, and if I have any problems I’ll start a new thread with any questions. In the meanwhile, at least I got the files transferred to the desktop.

                Thanks again to all who offered their suggestions in the current thread.

      • #2014655 Reply
        cmptrgy
        AskWoody Plus

        I know you want an answer on how to copy files to a new Win10 computer
        — Although that shouldn’t be much of an issue I’d like to add some perspective on that as the big picture involved needs to be determined.

        In summary
        You have a Windows 7 desktop that you still have but don’t keep it up to date and don’t use it anymore.
        — Do you have any potential plans for it?
        — I suspect the Windows 7 desktop is not part of the process but since you included it in your discussion, I had to ask that question.

        At this time you are using a Windows 10 laptop as your primary machine.
        You have recently purchased a new Windows 10 laptop that will be arriving pretty soon.
        You want to transfer your data from the presently being used Windows 10 laptop to that new Windows 10 laptop.
        You plan on continuing to use both laptops.

        “What is the most painless way to copy files from the laptop to the new desktop? I don’t necessarily want copies of everything on one computer to be on the other, but if simplicity/effectiveness requires copying everything, and then deleting selected stuff if I so desire, I’ve fine with that.”
        — Typically the most painless way is to copy and paste appropriate data into appropriate folders.
        — I’ve done that many times with minimum effort under normal circumstances.
        — But it would be good to know what is your Office application being used for your data on the laptop you are using now?
        — What Office application will you be using on your new laptop?
        — Drag and drop as has been mentioned is also acceptable.
        At the same time, it might be possible to sync your data between both laptops.
        — Would you consider that?

        On File History and Cloud Storage, I don’t use them.

        I create monthly system image backups during the week prior to Patch Tuesday, just before a Feature Update or when something needs to be done that amounts to something “different” such as installing new software etc.
        — Additionally I save my data separately onto my external HDD as well as onto a USB flash drive.
        — That way if my laptop runs into serious problems, at least my data is saved and is easy enough to load into a replacement computer.

        HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

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        • #2014892 Reply
          BobStr
          AskWoody Plus

          The Win 7 desktop’s interface has become so erratic (both mouse and keyboard do bizarre things at times) that I’ve continued using it only for one particular program. That program analyzes backgammon positions, a process that, depending on the position, can take all night. Even though its around eight years old, it’s still much faster than my relatively new MS Surface Book 2.

          Things may evolve, but right now that one particular program is my principal interest for the new desktop, though I may load other things onto it as well. I’ll still keep the Win 7 machine, only because Win 10 doesn’t save images to XPS (or OXPS, whichever) from the backgammon program properly. So once I start analyzing BG positions on new Win 10 desktop, to the extent I want to save graphics images of the resulting analyses, I’ll have to transfer the applicable files to the Win 7 machine (and, of course, now have to pay for another license for the BG program). But I’m guessing that that’s neither here nor there for present purposes.

          WordPerfect is my principal office application. I also have a subscription to MS Office, but use it only when I absolutely have to. How does the Office application enter into this?

          Right now my back up consists of File History for all data. In addition, the most important stuff goes onto two different pen drives, which I keep in rotation between home and an external location. I’m open to suggestions if there’s a better way, but have to say that the thought of backing up everything online (meaning to include my financial data, and so on) sort of creeps me out — and I see that you apparently don’t do it either.

          Thanks.

      • #2014685 Reply
        Seattle27
        AskWoody Plus

        I bought a USB transfer cable from a company called Plugable a few years ago to move files between computers. I was getting a bit fed up with using flash drives to do so. This item has served me well; the transfer rate is speedy and it has a drag-and-drop feature (which I use to selectively transfer files) as well as a ‘transfer and synch everything’ option (which I’ve never used). I don’t recall it being $40 as is its current price, but I thought I’d mention it as an option.

        https://www.amazon.com/Plugable-Transfer-Compatible-Computer-Migration/dp/B01B6X8QP0?s=electronics

         

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        • #2014894 Reply
          BobStr
          AskWoody Plus

          I’ll consider that. I notice some criticism on the Amazon site, though, to the effect that the cost of the cable isn’t the only thing involved, since it come with (according to one dissatisfied customer) “watered-down” software which is good for only 30 days.

          Also, I tried using something similar when I got my Win 7 desktop about 8 years ago. I think it was made by Belkin (??), and I could never get it to work.

          Nevertheless, since it’s now 8 years later and a different cable, one with which you’ve had good experience, I’ve got to consider it, especially if other approaches prove to be too tedious.

          Thanks for the suggestion.

          • #2014916 Reply
            Paul T
            AskWoody MVP

            Better off with an external HDD, then you can use any free software to copy / backup to the HDD.

            cheers, Paul

      • #2014687 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        If people use the logical approach of C: drive for OS, D: drive for data, then it is simple to copy the D partition to a new PC.
        I still keep, after a year + with Windows 10, the D: partition of my Windows 7, on an external HDD, just in case.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2014932 Reply
          mn–
          AskWoody Lounger

          Also a separate data drive (either partition or physical drive) is about the only sort of sane way to do things with Windows Home versions from XP Home onwards, including Windows 10 Home.

      • #2015421 Reply
        cmptrgy
        AskWoody Plus

        @BobStr post #2014892 “WordPerfect is my principal office application. I also have a subscription to MS Office, but use it only when I absolutely have to. How does the Office application enter into this?”
        — I should have immediately noted you use MS Office so sparingly you are correct in asking “How does the Office application enter into this?” since it doesn’t.

        In your opening post #2014469 “but if simplicity/effectiveness requires copying everything, and then deleting selected stuff if I so desire, I’ve fine with that.” You are already familiar with that and that’s a good thing.
        — But I do hope you can accomplish your goal to “Can I just use File History from the applicable external drive to put files on the new computer?”

        HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

      • #2016817 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        So should it make a difference that I don’t sign in?

        You will still need a Windows 10 account, preferably local account with auto-log-in.
        You can create an “external” Microsoft account if you ever need Microsoft Store, Microsoft help forums…

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        • #2016831 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          It won’t make any difference if you don’t use an online MS account.

          cheers, Paul

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2021190 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        I used Team Viewer 14 to copy my files from the old computer to the new one. Free and painless. No equipment needed.

      • #2039149 Reply
        mngerhold
        AskWoody Lounger

        Restated, for the purpose of FH, is it necessary to dedicate a separate external drive for each computer?

        I wondered about that, and because the FH folder starts with an acct name, and under that a computer name, thought it was worth a try.   So I just did a quick test using a scratch USB drive and two almost empty accounts on different PCs:  FH started on the first (\STUDY, acct ‘Test’) and ran fine, then also on the second (\KITTY, acct ‘admin’) and the result is as attachedFH-from-2-pcs
        It seems to be quite happy working with both PCs, and I imagine would also handle other accts on them as well.  I expect that if I had a ‘Test’ acct on KITTY, then it would have added to the ‘Test’ folder.

         

         

         

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