Connect with us
Image by Microsoft Bing Image creator, based on a prompt by Gadget.

Ask Arthur

Ask Arthur: How do I transfer between laptops?

A reader has a new laptop and wants to move a large amount of data. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK suggests a range of solutions.

#Q: I’ve just bought a new laptop, but I have a massive amount of stuff on my old one. What is the best way of transferring the info?

A: You don’t mention whether these are Windows or Mac machines. The bad news is, if you’re moving between two different operating systems, you have to take a long way round. The good news is, it is not complicated. The better news is, if you stick to the same OS, there are quick solutions.

These are the most common options:

Plug in an external hard drive or high-capacity USB drive
Copy files from the old laptop to the external drive or USB drive, connect the drive to the new laptop, and transfer the files. It’s simple, no connection is needed, and it handles large files. However, you need an external drive, and it takes forever if you have a lot of data or large files.

Sign into Cloud Storage
Upload your files to a cloud storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive or iCloud, and download them on the new laptop. You don’t need extra hardware, but you may need to pay for the cloud account – the more data, the higher the cost – and you need a high-speed Internet connection.

Direct transfer over network
Connect both laptops to the same network and transfer files directly. Bear in mind this can be very slow.
– Windows: Use built-in File Sharing or download a tool like Windows Easy Transfer.
– Mac: Use Migration Assistant to transfer between Macs.

– Mac to Windows: On the Mac, enable file sharing in System Preferences > Sharing > File Sharing, add the folders you want to share. Then, on the Windows machine, open File Explorer, click on Network, find your Mac, enter its username and password and access the shared folders to copy the files.

– Windows to Mac: On the Windows machine, download Windows Migration Assistant from Apple’s website, connect both computers to the same network, and open Migration Assistant on the Mac (Applications > Utilities > Migration Assistant). Now follow the on-screen instructions to select the Windows machine and transfer the files.

Transfer Cables

Use a transfer cable with data capability to connect the two computers. Very fast, but you have to buy a transfer cable, which you may never use again.
– Windows: Use a USB transfer cable and follow the software instructions.
– Mac: Use Thunderbolt or USB-C cables for direct transfers.

Backup and Restore
Backup software can create a full backup of the old laptop, then restore it on the new one.
– Windows: Use built-in File History.
– Mac: Use Time Machine.

* Arthur Goldstuck is CEO of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Follow him on social media on @art2gee.

Subscribe to our free newsletter
To Top