How to Transfer Data from One Laptop to Another

Updated on May 26, 2023
How To Transfer Data From One Laptop To Another

Getting a better and newer computer is always exciting. However your old computer contains important files and programs that you may need such as memorable photos and important business files. If you’re looking for the ways on how to transfer files from pc to pc, then this article is for you.

Here are a quick comparison for ways that you can transfer data from laptop to laptop:

MethodCostTime / Speed
Cloud storage services Free – $2.99 / monthFast
Transfer cable$20- $50Fastest
External storage device$40 -$60Fastest
Ethernet cable$6 – $30Fastest
Wifi networkFreeFast
Cloning your hard drive~ $69.95Fast
PCmover~ $49.95 Slow
FTP serverFreeSlow

Transfer Data From One Laptop To Another – What To Know

Before getting into any of the various exciting ways that you can transfer data from one laptop to another this year, there is one important affair that must be carefully addressed first. We’ll be looking into what this element is in detail and why it is important that you consider it carefully and extensively.

How to Know What It Is Time to Transfer Your Files To Another Laptop

There are an increasing number of tech heads out in the world today. All of this is to say that, at this time, it’s fairly common to go out and hear that someone wants to change their old laptop for a new one just because. But having said that, more often than not, most people will only ever consider changing their laptop only if something goes wrong with it.

However, this brings to mind crucial, puzzling questions like; how do you know it’s time to let a laptop go?

How do you know that you have to transfer data from one laptop to another quickly?

Is there a point at which it’s simply best to just stop trying to manage your old laptop device?

We’ll be providing you with accurate answers to these important questions subsequently!

How To Know It’s Time to Transfer Data From One Laptop To Another in 2023

The more important your laptop is to you, the more closely you have to watch the computer device for signs of wear and tear. This is because, just like with everything else on the planet, these gadgets are also prone to breaking down eventually, even if they have been carefully maintained over the years.

But of course, some problems warrant making a trip to the tech support office and some problems merit starting to save up to get a new laptop. We’ll be delving into what you’re likely to encounter when dealing with the latter type of issue now.

Below are a few signs that tell you succinctly that your laptop device isn’t long for this world. They include:

Your Laptop Device Emits Loud Noises

On average, most laptops run quite silently. This is why alarm bells simply have to start going off in your head should you hear a grinding or clicking sound whenever you’re using your laptop. These strange sounds will usually become evident when you’re trying to perform tasks like saving a picture or opening a file. You might also hear them when you’re launching or running certain programs and applications.

In most cases, your disk drive (especially if it’s a hard disk drive) is usually the problem here. These odd sounds are generally one of the first warning signs that it’s about to give out.

What all of this means is that the moment these sounds become a common occurrence, you’re essentially on a clock. What you have to do at this point is look for a viable way to back up all of the important data that you have saved on your laptop.

Along these lines, you could simply consider transferring that information from your old laptop to another laptop, if only as a safety measure.

Your Laptop Device Overheats

Another red flag that you would probably do well to look out for on your current laptop is overheating.

Before you start panicking, hear us out first.

Most laptops will typically run a little hot from time to time. This is especially likely to happen if you run rather heavy applications on it or use the device for an extended period without a break.

However, you should start to suspect that something is wrong if your laptop starts to heat up almost immediately after you turn it on. Also, there’s hot and there’s too hot and you’ll usually be able to tell the difference between these two situations.

Sometimes, the problem is as simple as too much dust has gotten into your laptop’s fan and it’s clogged. However, if you’ve run compressed air through the vents to clean up all the dust and dirt and you still get the same result, you should know it’s time to start backing up your files on another laptop.

Your Laptop Constantly Turns Up Corrupted Data

It’s quite rare, but it isn’t especially unusual for you to save a file on your laptop and have it get corrupted somehow. However, if your laptop is still in prime working condition, such incidents would very likely be few and far between, and that is if they even happen in the first place.

This is why you would likely need no one to tell you that something’s amiss if you save files and they constantly turn up corrupted for no conceivable reason. Your laptop corrupting files is one of the clearest signs that the device is near its expiration date.

In this instance, you would do well to transfer all the relevant information that you have on that device to another laptop before it corrupts something that’s indispensable to you.

Your Laptop Constantly Crashes or Freezes

This is another occurrence that should let you know in no uncertain terms that you need to start getting ready to get another laptop device.

Of course, there are several valid instances where such a situation wouldn’t necessarily be deemed terminal. For example, if your laptop overheats and then crashes fairly often, using compressed air to loosen anything that might be inhibiting the operation of the laptop’s fan has been known to work.

However, this isn’t a given. And, if you’ve employed all the troubleshooting techniques that you can think of and you still have a laptop that freezes or crashes unpredictably on your hands, you should know that it’s time for you to jettison your current laptop and get all the information in it transferred to a new device.

Again, we have to point out that we understand just how hard it can be to say goodbye to a laptop that has served you long and well. All of that being said, if you notice any or all of the signs mentioned so far, it would be in your best interest to start preparing for the worst while hoping for the best.

With that said, here are some of the best methods that you can leverage to transfer data from one laptop to another laptop today!

8 Methods To Transfer Files From One Laptop To Another

Note Before Continuing (Disclaimer)

We also won’t be including Windows Easy Transfer(Windows Transfer for short) here as well. Although it’s very popular and effective, it isn’t available in Windows 10 laptops which contradicts the purpose of transferring files from an old pc to a new pc. 

Using Cloud Storage Such As Google Drive, OneDrive, And ICloud

One of the easiest ways to transfer data from one laptop to another is via cloud storage All you have to do is transfer the data you want to transfer into your cloud storage account like Google Drive, OneDrive, and iCloud. 

Then simply use the other laptop and access your cloud storage account from there. It’s very simple and you don’t need any external hardware for this. However, you do need a stable internet connection for this especially if you’re planning to transfer large amounts of files.

Additionally, files larger than 100GB might require you to upgrade your cloud storage service because this goes beyond the free storage that these services offer. 

A good example of this would be Microsoft OneDrive which comes free on your Windows 10 operating system. It only offers 5 GB of free storage and you’ll have to pay a $1,99 subscription fee to be able to transfer 200 GB of data.

Sadly because of the security of these file sharing sites, you can’t copy applications of programs. So you might have to use other methods to transfer software from one laptop to another.

Using A Transfer Cable To Directly Transfer Data

If you have a slow internet connection or you simply don’t want to spend money or use cloud storage services, then you might like using a transfer cable. As the name implies, a transfer cable allows you to transfer files and data from laptop to laptop, provided that you can connect to both laptops.

So if you want to do this, we recommend checking the USB ports of both laptops. If both have USB 3.0 ports, then go buy a transfer cable that has USB 3.0 connectors but if you want to play it safe at the cost of file transfer speed, then we recommend buying a transfer cable with a USB 2.0 connector. 

Here’s a quick rundown on how to use a transfer cable:

  1. Connect the transfer cable to both laptops via their USB ports. Make sure that the USB cable is properly connected to prevent complications during the transfer process
  2. An installation wizard should appear. Install the program on both computers(Depending on the transfer cable brand, you might have to install drivers on both laptops beforehand.) 
  3. After installation, a popup should appear giving you multiple options. We recommend clicking on the “Transfer Data to New Computer” 
  1. You should see two windows that show the files on both laptops. 
  2. Simply drag or copy-paste files from one laptop to another.
  3. Disconnect the cable when the transfer is complete.

Using An External Storage Device

Before we get to the more advanced and complex forms of file transfer, let’s start with the old fashioned way of doing things. All you need for this is a compatible external device that can be used by both laptops.

This device can be a USB flash drive, an external hard drive, and even CD’s if both laptops have disc drives. However, we’ll be using an external hard drive on this example since it simply holds more data which makes it more effective when transferring files from your old computer to your new computer.

  1. Attach your external Hard Drive to your laptop and scan it for viruses.
  2. Highlight the files you want to copy and either drag it to your external Hard Drive or simply right click on the highlighted files and go to “Send to” and choose your external device.
  1. Wait for the transfer to complete and safely eject your external Hard Drive.
  2. Now connect your external Hard Drive to the second laptop and scan it for viruses as well.
  3. Select the files you want to copy and simply drag them or copy +paste them to the location of your choosing.
  4. Wait for the transfer to finish and safely eject your external Hard Drive.

This is a simple but effective method for easy transfer from one computer to the other. It also doesn’t discriminate between the type of operating system as well. And what’s great about doing this is that you don’t have to rely on an internet connection to do this which also makes it a good alternative to the transfer cable method.

Using An Ethernet Cable

If you don’t have the money to buy a transfer cable or an external Hard Drive, then you can do so with a cheap and simple ethernet cable. The steps might be a little more complicated but it is doable.

  1. The first thing you need to do is to connect both laptops using your ethernet cable.
  2. Go to the control panel, then click on “Network and Internet”, then “Network and Sharing Center”.
  3. On the left side of the window click on “ Change Advanced sharing settings”
  4. Now turn on network discovery, public file sharing, file, and printer sharing.
  5. Additionally, turn off password protected sharing as well.
  6. Now find the folder or folders you want to share and right-click on it. Go to “Give Access to” and select “Specific People”. Choose the option to share it with everyone.
  1. Once the folder is shared, you can now access it by going to “Network” and clicking on the computer of your choice.
  2. The files shared should now be accessible allowing you to copy and paste it into your new laptop.

Using an ethernet cable to transfer data is a tried and old school way of doing things. And since they are connected via a LAN network, expect it to transfer files quickly and effectively. It’s also a good choice if you don’t have an internet connection or Wifi to connect to. 

Use Your Wifi

Another simple and cost-effective solution of transferring data between laptops is by using your Wifi Connection. Yes, by simply connecting to the same Wifi, you can connect and transfer data to two laptops effectively.

This method might be free but it’s slower than using an ethernet cable. It’s also less reliable since the connection can easily be broken so it’s not that effective and secure compared to other methods, which is why we recommend that you do this only if you have more time on your hands.

Here are the steps to doing this:

  1. Connect both your old and new laptops to the same Wifi network.
  2. Make sure to disable sleep mode into your laptops since it might interfere with the transferring process. 
  3. This will take a long time so make sure to connect both your old and new computer to a power source.
  4. Share the folder from your old laptop by right-clicking on it and click properties.
  5. A new tab will appear and click on “Sharing”, and then “Advanced Sharing”.
  6. Under “Advanced Sharing” check on “Share this folder” and click on OK.
  1. The shared folder should now be viewable and accessible on your new PC. Simply copy and paste the folder and wait for it to finish.

Note: Since this is an unreliable and unstable process we highly recommend doing this step as close to your Wifi router as possible to prevent sudden interruptions. We also recommend that you use this in conjunction with file-sharing utilities to help speed up the process. 

Lastly, we recommend that you avoid transferring large amounts of data with these because of its instability. Try grouping your data in batches to help minimize the damages of sudden network interruptions.

Clone Your Hard Drive

Why settle for copying selected files when you can copy your entire hard drive? As the name implies, cloning your hard drive about creating an exact copy of your hard drive down to the files it contains as well as the settings that you’ve saved

You can simply boot this cloned hard drive and it would feel as if you’re using the same computer as before but with newer and better specs. There are multiple ways of cloning your hard drive and you’re going to need a reliable cloning software for this.

We highly recommend using Macrium Reflect,  Paragon Drive Copy, and SuperDuper! for this.

But before you start cloning your hard drive you need to prepare first. You’re going to need a newly reformatted hard drive to serve as the clone of your old hard drive. Make sure that this new hard drive has a larger storage space than the older one.

Use PCmover

Since Windows Easy Transfer isn’t available on Windows 10 anymore PCmover is a good alternative. Its the replacement for Windows Easy Transfer on Windows 10 operating systems. 

What’s nice about PCmover is that it’s very intuitive and it isn’t very complicated to use like some processes on this list. It’s also very similar to cloning your PC but less expensive as well since you won’t be buying a second hard drive nor buying pricey cloning software.

Here are the steps for using PCmover:

  1. Download and install the PCmover software.
  2. Run the software and click on “PC to PC Transfer”
  1. Follow the steps and choose the method of transfer.
  2. That’s it. Just follow the instructions asked by the software and you’ll be good to go. 

PCmover is extremely easy to use and we highly recommend getting the professional version as well. It saves you the hassle of studying up on methods to transfer files and its 24/7 customer support is simply amazing.

Use An FTP Server

Using an FTP server might be the best option for you if you want to keep it simple. FTP or  File Transfer Protocol is a safe and secure way to transfer a file between a server and a client. Although it isn’t as secure as modern-day file transfers it is still being used up to this day because of its reliability. You can use a reliable FTP server like FileZilla to quickly transfer files from your old pc to your new pc. 

Sadly its very slow compared to the other methods on this list but it won’t get interrupted andyou can do it for long periods of time, so its a good option if you want to slowly transfer files from your old to new computer.

Can I Transfer Software From One Laptop To Another?

You simply can’t just copy-paste programs like you would do files because you might be missing important files during the copy-paste process causing complications when running the program.

You’ll have to reinstall the programs from scratch on your new computer which can be very tedious and time-consuming.  This is the recommended way of doing things since it causes fewer errors and problems in the long run.

Thankfully, there are some options on this list that bypass this. A good example of this would be PCmover’s professional version that fully transfers software as well. Cloning the hard drive is also an effective way to transfer programs as well. Cloning programs create an exact copy of your old hard drive so it’s natural to expect that it will copy your old hard drive’s files, settings, and even applications as well.

So yes, you can transfer software from one laptop to another but it will require special programs and methods like PCmover and hard drive cloning software. 

Anh Kenny Trinh

Kenny Trinh is a seasoned expert in the field of laptops and technology, boasting an extensive background enriched by years of hands-on experience and in-depth research. With a keen eye for innovation and a passion for staying ahead of the technological curve, Kenny has established himself as a trusted voice in the tech community. Holding a prestigious degree in Computer Science, he combines his academic insights with practical expertise to deliver valuable insights and recommendations to his readers and followers. Through his work, Kenny aims to demystify complex tech concepts, empowering individuals to make informed decisions and optimize their digital experiences.

Article by:
Kenny Trinh
Kenny Trinh is a seasoned expert in the field of laptops and technology, boasting an extensive background enriched by years of hands-on experience and in-depth research. With a keen eye for innovation and a passion for staying ahead of the technological curve, Kenny has established himself as a trusted voice in the tech community. Holding a prestigious degree in Computer Science, he combines his academic insights with practical expertise to deliver valuable insights and recommendations to his readers and followers. Through his work, Kenny aims to demystify complex tech concepts, empowering individuals to make informed decisions and optimize their digital experiences.

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