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Copying files and programs to a new computer

My mother's computer is dying, so we're setting her up with a new one. Both the old and the new have Windows 10 installed. I would really like to just take a system image of the dying hard drive and reinstall that on the new computer, rather than reinstalling individual programs, trying to re-establish her desktop and favorites, etc. Am I asking too much? If system image won't work for this purpose, do you have advice on the best way to get her set up on the new computer so that everything looks and works as much like the old computer as possible?
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Dbast
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Dbast
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Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
Imaging will likely work, but it can be tedious and you'll have to make sure you have all your hardware drivers handy.  Your operating system is going to "wake up" to a whole new set of hardware it doesn't know how to talk to, and you'll have all those old drivers still floating around the OS.

If you choose to move her data, rather than image it, there is free software (like this - not an endorsement) that will move her profile from her old computer to her new one.  All her "My Documents", desktop, shortcuts, bookmarks, etc.  This doesn't move applications, but it is a nice alternative to starting completely from scratch, or imaging the old system and bringing along all its baggage.

Lastly, you can just export Mom's bookmarks, move them to the new computer and import them to a browser there.  Then reinstall all her software.  This has you starting completely from scratch, of course.
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Dean ChafeeIT/InfoSec ManagerCommented:
Assuming mom's old computer is not dying from malware/viruses etc, yes definitely the drive image is the way to go.  If either one of the drives is a Western Digital, i highly suggest this:
http://downloads.wdc.com/acronis/ATI2016WD_build33.zip

There is another free one from EASUS, but it's not as reliable.
Happy imaging.
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Garfield SamuelsProject ManagerCommented:
Microsoft has some free tools to migrate an old computer to a new one.

First, there is Windows Easy Transfer-  https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/download/details.aspx?id=20483 - I used it before and it is pretty straightforward to use. I am not sure if it will work with Windows 10 though.

Then, there is the more industrial  User State Migration Tool (USMT) - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/usmt/usmt-overview .  You can use it for a single computer. It will do everything you are asking for.

Good luck!
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DbastAuthor Commented:
Thanks, Dean! It's definitely not malware, just age. I'll pop open the new computer to see if it's a WD drive.
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DbastAuthor Commented:
Wow, Garfield! Industrial strength indeed on that USMT. Will look into both of those, too. Really appreciate the quick advice from you both!
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Garfield SamuelsProject ManagerCommented:
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Thomas Zucker-ScharffSystems AnalystCommented:
I've used usmt and like thre outcome.  I find cloning a lot easier - I use paragon's cloning software - free to members of EE with 50000 points or more.
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slightwv (䄆 Netminder) Commented:
+1 to Paul's post about drivers/hardware.

If you can go with a Windows product, I would.

If not, a long time ago I used Clonezilla for a similar task:  http://clonezilla.org/

I remember it working quite well.

Since it is the hard drive in the old computer, I suggest an external USB drive for the transfer.
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fred hakimRetired ITCommented:
If you are going to image the old computer and restore on the new computer make sure you have the windows 10 product key of the new computer.  Windows 10 will compare the key from the copied image and realize the hardware has changed.  You can then enter the key that goes with the new hardware and all will be well.  

You can used either
magic jelly bean  see:  https://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/
or
lazesoft keyfinder  see: http://www.lazesoft.com/lazesoft-windows-key-finder.html 

To get the key if you don't have it.
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nobusCommented:
imo - cloning windows will only work on the same hardware - not on another
if you want to do that, look here, a nice discussion :  https://www.howtogeek.com/239815/why-cant-you-move-a-windows-installation-to-another-computer/
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McKnifeCommented:
Simply clone/restore it onto the new hard drive, install the new drivers and that's it.

1 Windows' own imaging tool can create a system image on a USB drive, which you
2 then connect to your new machine and
3 boot setup and start the image restore process (to be found behind "repair my computer")
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nobusCommented:
Mc Knife - i have the impression it won't activate on new hardware - is that wrong?
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McKnifeCommented:
That is wrong. MS activation policy is changing and recently, what I experience is that it is less restrictive when it comes to hardware binding.
Even if, he can change the key to that of the new device (if it's the same edition of windows).
1 use rweverything to read it out
2 change the key and activate.
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nobusCommented:
ok - tx for the update
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fred hakimRetired ITCommented:
Yep, it does work to clone to the new hard drive, then update the drivers and then use the new hardware's activation keys (assuming the same windows edition).  As I said above, double driver will pull the drivers from the new hardware and restore them for you after the clone.  I have done it many times.  

In addition, MkKnife is right about an easing Microsoft policy.  I have done this with different editions of windows too, and if you call, explain what happened, they will normally provide an activation key (if you are nice about it).  

This is not to say it works every time, but its worth taking a little time to give it a try.  It can save the many hours needed for any of the alternatives -- none of which will totally duplicate the old setup, if you manually (or automatically) copy the data, reinstall the apps and try to reconfigure your settings, favorites, etc.
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nobusCommented:
ok - so it works, manually - not automatic, right
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McKnifeCommented:
Here, it worked automatically, I did not have to call them. Did that several times (complete hardware change).
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nobusCommented:
ha! good to know Mc knife - i'll test it when i have a case
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DbastAuthor Commented:
Everyone: And now you know why I LOVE Experts Exchange! So much useful information. I expect to take care of this project this coming weekend, and I'll pop back online to let everyone know what I did and what worked. At this point, I'd honestly give everyone an "assisted solution" and no "best solution" 'cuz I haven't done the work yet.
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nobusCommented:
just take your time and post results
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Thomas Zucker-ScharffSystems AnalystCommented:
Good luck - let us know how it goes
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TechNDCommented:
I'd like to add one more option for cloning. AOEMI Backupper. I have used the free version for years and it has never failed me. Very simple interface, easy to use. Download from developer site at https://www.backup-utility.com.
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TechNDCommented:
I'm in this very situation today. New Windows 10 Pro Dell Computer. Replacing an older computer running Windows 10 Pro. I cloned the old drive and put it in the new computer - but got the error below.
SO, I removed the SSD from the old computer and put it in the new Dell computer and am getting "No Bootable Device Found" Could this have anything to do with the new computer using uefi and the old computer was using bios?

Any thoughts or ideas?
Perhaps I should start a new thread.
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nobusCommented:
best start a new thread - you can Always post the link to it here
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DbastAuthor Commented:
All: I have no doubt many of you could be credited with "assisted solutions," but I didn't try any of those. Mr. Samuels' PCMover worked really well -- not perfectly, of course, as I still had to reinstall some of the Microsoft Office suite programs, but that wasn't really a surprise. I can recommend PCMover as well. The one "glitch" I had was when trying to connect the old new PCs on my mother's wireless network. They found each other just fine, but the connection really wasn't strong enough to pull this off and so it hung up. I grabbed a spare ethernet router I have and connected them that way. The process went quickly and smoothly. Thanks again all!
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