How to copy programs, files, and settings to your new PC
If you recently purchased a new computer or laptop, and you'd like to move or copy the installed applications from the old computer to the new one, then this tutorial will show you how to easily transfer all your software programs, files and settings from your old computer to your new computer.
First, here's some background information about how Windows handles installed software programs - which will explain why you can't just copy the software folder and save it to a flash drive.
Windows writes certain "keys" to your computer's registry when you install a program, and makes associations with other modules and/or installed programs. This makes it impossible to manually transfer these settings to another computer. You'll need a software solution to ensure all of the proper files and settings are transferred.
Here are two ways to easily transfer your software programs from one hard drive to another, or from one computer to another:
1. Transfer Software
Laplink PCmover is a migration utility that moves programs, files, and settings from your old PC to your new PC. It moves everything (including your installed programs and operating system) from one computer to another.
You'll need to install PCmover on both your old and new computers (handled by a single license) and it will determine which programs, files, and settings need to be moved.
When the transfer is complete, your new computer will have the personality and functionality of your old PC plus all of its own pre-installed software.
PCmover works with almost any Windows operating system, from Windows 95 to Windows 10. You can even use it to migrate your PC to an Intel-based Mac. One thing I like about PCmover is it's selectivity features. You can choose which applications, folders and files to take with you when you migrate to your new PC or hard drive.
The downside of PCmover is that it requires you to connect both computers with a proprietary cable that comes with the software (which means you have to wait for it to be shipped to your office location).
Zinstall is another program that transfers all of your programs, settings and files but does NOT require cables. This includes your programs, documents, music, pictures, favorites, emails, accounts, settings - and of course all of your files. Your new computer will feel just like the old one. Your old computer remains safe and unchanged, and nothing is erased from it.
The nice things about Zinstall is that you don't have to be a computer guru and you don't need any cables. The product is completely automatic and intuitive to use (video below) and if you can connect both computers to the Internet, then you are all set - nothing else is needed.
That means you won't have to wait for the software to be shipped to your location. Just download it, and start transferring.
Here's what CNN said in a recent review of Zinstall:
"Zinstall WinWin: The product will transfer everything - programs, settings and files - to your new PC. No cables needed."
Zinstall works with Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7, XP and Vista, any edition, 32- and 64-bit. You can transfer from any Windows to any Windows, any PC model to any PC model. XP or Vista to Windows 10, 7 to 10 or even Windows 10 to Windows 10 are all supported.
2. Disk Imaging Software:
Another way to transfer programs to another hard drive or system is by using disk imaging software that creates an exact image (copy) of your hard drive. You can then copy that image to another hard drive, another partition, or another computer system. For example, Acronis True Image will create an exact image of your hard drive, including all software programs, email messages - even the operating system itself. You can then take this disk image and copy it to another hard drive or system.
Acronis comes with a couple of other benefits including 5 GB of free cloud storage (which you can upgrade to 250 gigs) and a free copy of Disk Director - a powerful program that optimizes your hard drive and manages your hard drive partitions. With either the migration utility or the disk imaging programs, you'll save a lot of time and money by not having to buy new licenses for software that you already own!