We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

We've partnered with Certified Experts, Carl Webster and Richard Faulkner, to bring you two Citrix podcasts. Learn about 2020 trends and get answers to your biggest Citrix questions!Listen Now


Best way to move data between 2 laptops (Really old to not so old)

Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-29
Hi all,

I have a few ideas now to but would appriciate some input.
First the senario.
1 VERY old laptop, one not so old laptop, and would like to move all relivant data between them. (Documents and settings, dial up settings etc...)

First important thing to say is theres no network port or card pcmcia or otherwise in the old laptop, hence not using a cross over networking cable.
This poor wee thing also has no cd/dvd writing ability.
It is also not my machine so me spending money on USB hard drive caddies/pcmcia cards I don't think I'll do.
The OS on this poor beast is Windows 98.
OS on the new beast is undetermined. (Yup I'm not kidding, but the good part is it means if I want to upgrade him as such I can)

When my mate asked me about this I thought laplink straight away with direct serial or parallel connection.
Also norton ghost (A real early version) I'm sure supported dumping images via direct serial.
I'm pretty sure for serial a cross over would be needed, but what for parallel for either of those options?
TrueImage does not seem to support this option however.

Comments, thoughts, suggestions, other ways and help more than welcome and appriciated.


Watch Question

Chris BRetired

Laplink cables should be readily available still. pcAnywhere included one in the box at least until recently. If you want to cut 'n shut a cable, the pinout is here - http://www.nullmodem.com/LapLink.htm

Chris B
Chris BRetired

I used to use fx for this. It appears to be here (fx.exe) second block down.

Chris B
Top Expert 2007
If the new laptop has USB, then I would simply buy or bo rrow a 2.5" IDE to USB adapter, and plug the old drive into that, and copy the entire drive under a subdir onto the new machine.
That way you have everything you need.

USA cost is about $10 ( Check ebay etc )

I hope this helps !

Not the solution you were looking for? Getting a personalized solution is easy.

Ask the Experts

I agree with SysExpert, purchasing a 2.5" IDE adapter would transfer the data fast and easy. I have one myself and the USB provides enough power for the hard drive, so you only need one cable.

Here is a link for one on eBay, it supports other IDE connections as well (if needed):


If you don't want to buy anything, you can also move the drive from the old system into the new one, and attempt to boot. The video and other drivers will obviously be missing, but you can attempt to backup the data to a USB flash drive if you can get the OS to come up. Then put the other drive in again when everything is backed up. You may need additional drivers for the USB flash drive depending on the OS.


Hi all,

Thanks for the responces. I'm doing this as a free favour for a friend who's company she works for is strapped for cash. Even $10 is alot.
The 2.5" IDE adapter I'd looked at ( http://www.dse.co.nz/cgi-bin/dse.storefront/46a2f714001739d0273fc0a87f3306aa/Product/View/XH6905 ) but once again it's coming down to money they are willing to spend (Which considering they are a non profit organisation would be as little as possible, Read zero).
Copying the dial-up settings including passwords and any other saved passwords is why I'm leaning towards an imaging the hard drive solution more than a just copy the files.
(You know the drill of doing it and then they say, "Oh, What about this, it used to just go straight in. Whats the password?")

Since I'm doing it for free I obvoiusly want to spend as little time as possible doing it, but also minimise their down time and get it right since it's a mate. Imaging it would do that the way I see it. Then you have the drivers on the new machine to go through.
But it should work.

Am I stuck to what I think I am?, which is
1) Buy my link above for the USB enclousure
2) Take the hard drive out of laptop A and image it
3) Take hard drive out of Laptop B, write the image,
4) Then deal with the drivers for the new machine.

The number 4 is always going to happen, but both laptops have USB ports, serial and parallel ports and floppies.
Is there anything that can image hard drives directly using just those, or am I going the totally wrong way with imaging them?


Top Expert 2007

There are USB transer programs, etc, but in the end,  the USB adapter  is probably going to be your cheapest solution.

Regarding  getting all the programs to work, I would not even try to install anything less than win2k on a laptop.

WIn98 is no longer supported, and it is going to be harder to get drivers and newer programs to work with it.
ALso ANti-virus and similar software are no longer supporting it, so choose carefully.

It sounds like you may need to purchase a USB/IDE adapter regardless in the end, or borrow from a friend. If you want to Image the drives, I would recommend using Symantec's Norton Ghost, which is not free, but someone you know may already have a copy. I don't believe that Ghost supports imaging a hard drive through those interfaces though, and you will most likely need to connect the drive directly through USB anyway.


Thanks all,
I've resigned myself to donating a USB adapter as well. LOL!
Thanks for the sanity check that my thinking was not off the mark and there was no other good way to do it.

Access more of Experts Exchange with a free account
Thanks for using Experts Exchange.

Create a free account to continue.

Limited access with a free account allows you to:

  • View three pieces of content (articles, solutions, posts, and videos)
  • Ask the experts questions (counted toward content limit)
  • Customize your dashboard and profile

*This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Please enter a first name

Please enter a last name

8+ characters (letters, numbers, and a symbol)

By clicking, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.