How To's & GuidesUsing Windows Easy Transfer To Help Migrate from Windows...

Using Windows Easy Transfer To Help Migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7


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Over the last few months I have upgraded a number of Windows Vista computers to Windows 7, and more recently a few people have asked me for help upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Now there is no clean upgrade path from XP to 7 – there is only a clean installation, which on the whole is putting people off, as they don’t know what to do about their files and their settings.

This is where the Windows Easy Transfer tool comes into play – and believe me it is so easy to use and it has saved me a lot of time on those people’s XP machines!

So I decided to put an article together, and here it is – enjoy.

If you are moving from Windows XP or Vista, you most probably want to take your data and your settings with you. It is quite rare for someone to upgrade to a different version of Windows and not want something they had before, even if it is only their Internet Explorer Favourites.

Microsoft provide an application to help the backup and restore of your data if you are using the clean install method. This application is called Windows Easy Transfer and is used to transfer a number of different files and settings from computers running Windows 2000, Windows XP and even Windows Vista.

The types of files and settings include:

· User Accounts

· Files and folders

· Email messages, settings, and contacts

· Photos, music, and videos

· Windows settings

· Program data files and settings

· Internet favourites

You can buy the Easy Transfer Cable, as shown in Figure 3-1, from your local computer shop which contains a special USB cable for connecting your old computer to your new computer, if you are planning on building or buying a new one. It also comes with all the software you need to perform the transfer.


Exporting the Files and Settings

Another option is to download Windows Easy Transfer for XP (if you are using Windows XP) and use that to backup your software. Windows Vista already has a version of Windows Easy Transfer installed so you don’t need to worry about getting software for your Vista installation.

If you are running Windows Vista you can jump to step 4. The remainder of the steps are for the Vista version, although they will work fine for the XP version.

1. Download Windows Easy Transfer for XP from:

2. Double-click the file you just downloaded and choose Run when prompted.

3. Follow the steps to install the software on your computer.

4. Launch the software by clicking on Windows Easy Transfer from the Start menu. This will display the Welcome screen.

If you can’t find it in the Start menu, just type Windows Easy Transfer in the search box and then click on Windows Easy Transfer from the displayed results.


5. Click Next (you may be asked to close any programs that are currently running and may conflict with the transfer process).

6. You will then be asked if you want to start a new transfer or continue with an existing one. Choose Start a new transfer.

Windows Vista-2009-06-19-16-56-08

7. You will then be asked which computer you are using – the one you want to transfer to or the one you want to transfer from. Choose My old computer.

Windows Vista-2009-06-19-16-57-04

8. You are then presented with three options for how you want to transfer the files and settings:

· Use an Easy Transfer Cable

· Transfer directly, using a network connection

· Use a CD, DVD, or other removable media


For this example, I am going to select Use a CD, DVD, or other removable media.

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.


  1. Thanks, very helpful, i have ordered a Dell Inspiron 15, 64 bit and need to tfr from 32 bit Vista. Presumably it is wise to transfer the bulky files eg videos/music separately and let easy transfer do the complex work ie internet settings (i assume that it will configure my sky wireless for me). Article very helpful USB sounds like the best route. Thanks again, please let me know if i have said anything stupid!!

    Best Wishes Stan

  2. Easy Transfer? More likr disaster transfer!!! It all started off nicely (transferring that is) piece of cake I thought then wham.Disconnected waiting to be connected and waiting and waiting tried several times to restar the procedure every time it would go nicely then disconnect. WASTE OF TIME AND GOOD MONEY!!!!

    • Niron

      I have used this procedure on many occasions and never had a problem.

      What exactly is going wrong for you?

      And what do you mean by connecting / disconnecting and waste of money?

      Are we talking about the same built in free piece of software in Windows?


      • Greetings Andrew

        Thanks for your response any help would be appreciated. I'm really getting frustrated especially when I see that other people on the net are having the same problem but no help available.I'm trying to transfer data files and setings from my XP computer to my new windows 7 toshiba laptop. Both computers can see that the easy transfer cable is connected that I brought for

        • Hi Niron

          now your comments make sense about the cost!

          right, I cant say I use the cable very often, I tend to use a USB drive to copy to and from as its quicker, easier, and I always have a backup!

          are you able to try it with a USB drive?

          if not, I dont know what to suggest….


  3. I used windows easy transfer to go from xp to windows 7. After converting to windows 7 I ran the old file. As Windows 7 did not have an email program I loaded windows live mail. I can not find any of my old emails or contacts. This is very frustrating because I had a ton of emails.. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Anthony

      I assume you were using Outlook Express? It should have copied over your email file, im not sure why it didnt, especially if the results showed it did?

      Im not sure what to suggest other than to try contacting MS support and see if they can advise? It may be stored in a different name on the disk?


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