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Monday, April 21, 2008

Vista Easy Transfer Files / Settings via DVD (Guide)

I have had a great deal of experience with Microsoft Windows Vista Easy Transfer service over the past two weeks. Enough to the point where I would almost consider myself an expert through number of iterations I have tried.

Vista’s Easy Transfer functionality is supposed to provide an easy to use and integrated way to migrate the users, settings, and files from one Personal Computer to another Personal Computer. Especially when moving between operating systems to make those easy to lose files -- easy to migrate.

Microsoft offers a plethora of ways to transfer critical information between two machines, supposedly the “easiest” being via establishing a direct or network connection to your “old” and “new” computers to facilitate the transfers.

However that did not work too well for me, even thought I finally figured it out (in a post here) how to get it work after about 20 attempts. Let’s just say it was a little frustrating. Which brings me to the point of this post – how I recommend performing the Vista Easy File transfer to move data, users, and settings to a new PC from an old one.

Choose a DVD as the backup (transfer) target for the “old” computer. In just a few minutes, the Vista Easy File Transfer service will gather and package up all of the recommended data and start burning it to a DVD. In fact, if your data exceeds the 4.5GB single-layer DVD limit, it will span it across DVDs. Smart.

Even better, when you drop the Easy Transfer DVD into your new PC it is just a simple double-click of the executable to start the process. Not only that, but you effectively have a high-quality backup of the information you need should anything go wrong.

So now that I have shared my preference for the use of the DVD method for Windows Easy File transfer, let me share with you the step-by-step guide that I went through to make it work. This guide assumes that you have a CD-R/CD-RW/DVD-R/DVD-RW that Windows recognizes.

1. An introduction to Windows Easy Transfer. Which versions of Windows (XP, Vista, etc.) and the steps you will go through to migrate files, settings, and users. Click on next.
An introduction to Windows Easy Transfer.  Which versions of Windows (XP, Vista, etc.) and the steps you will go through to migrate files, settings, and users.  Click on next.
2. Choose the selection for my old computer in order to back up that information for Windows Easy Transfer.
Choose the selection for my old computer in order to back up that information for Windows Easy Transfer.
3. Choose the option for use a CD, DVD, or other removable media for Windows Easy Transfer.
Choose the option for use a CD, DVD, or other removable media for Windows Easy Transfer.
4. Choose the option for CD or DVD (Use a blank, writeable CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, or DVD-RW disc) for Windows Easy Transfer.
Choose the option for CD or DVD (Use a blank, writeable CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, or DVD-RW disc) for Windows Easy Transfer.
5. Choose the drive location for your burner, and select a password for your Windows Easy Transfer file. If you do not, anyone who acquires your disc will be able to rstore it along with all the cookies and stored passwords you may have had.
Choose the drive location for your burner, and select a password for your Windows Easy Transfer file.  If you do not, anyone who acquires your disc will be able to rstore it along with all the cookies and stored passwords you may have had.
6. Select all user accounts, files, and settings for the safest backup. If you are comfortable with your machine and settings you can choose advanced options for more control.
Select all user accounts, files, and settings for the safest backup.  If you are comfortable with your machine and settings you can choose advanced options for more control.
7. Click on the transfer button to start the transfer immediately.
Click on the transfer button to start the transfer immediately.
8. The Windows Easy Transfer will start and depending on the amount of data you have may take up to an hour and require multiple DVDs. For Ashley's 2.5GB worth of files it took less than 30 minutes.
The Windows Easy Transfer will start and depending on the amount of data you have may take up to an hour and require multiple DVDs.  For Ashley's 2.5GB worth of files it took less than 30 minutes.
9. After the Windows Easy Transfer completes, you can click on close to finish the process. Just put the new media into your other or new computer and Windows Vista will automatically detect it and transfer. It is as easy as that!
After the Windows Easy Transfer completes, you can click on close to finish the process.  Just put the new media into your other or new computer and Windows Vista will automatically detect it and transfer.  It is as easy as that!

2 comments:

Lawliet said...

I've done the first half of the easy transfer and have 21.6 gb of information on 5 dvds. I can get my new computer to register the information, but when it's applying my information it seems to stop at the email settings. Is it just going really slowly or does it freeze? If so would you know how to fix that?

Ken Hanscom said...

I would let it run until you get an error or timeout. I had one small issue on a subsequent run, but Vista's Easy Transfer stopped and prompted me. I then selected skip and then I was on my way.

Give this a try and let me know how it goes!