If you’re one of millions of PC users who were left out in the cold by Microsoft after April 8, 2014, then you may be looking for an easy way to upgrade.
Upgrading a PC isn’t as hard as you might think. Upgrading to a brand new PC is easy, and upgrading to a new PC while keeping all your data is only a little bit harder.
Today, I’m going to show you the best ways to upgrade your Windows XP to a new operating system without losing all your data.
Option 1) Use a USB stick or an external hard drive
This is without a doubt the easiest and most straightforward way to transfer your data between computers. Instead of worrying about backup software or cloud storage, simply use a thumb stick or external hard drive.
Plug your storage device into your Windows XP PC before you throw it in the garbage/upgrade your OS. Then, move all your important files onto that storage device. Move your My Documents folder, for example, and any important software programs or application data you need (save game files? Pictures? Music?).
Make sure you’ve got everything you need, then plug that storage device into your new PC and transfer all your important documents over.
It’s important to note that you can’t install a Windows XP software program onto Windows 8 simply by transferring the files and folders over. You will most likely have to re-download the software and choose the Windows 8 option before you download.
If you don’t have a thumb drive or external hard drive, then you’ll find plenty available for a cheap price. If you don’t need to transfer very many files, then small thumb drives can be purchased for as little as $5 to $20 (less than 20GB in size). Small external hard drives with hundreds of gigabytes of space can be found for under $100.
Option 2) Manually transfer files using cloud storage
Option 2 is very similar to Option 1 except the transfer takes place over cloud storage instead of physical storage.
Download a cloud storage service like Dropbox and create an account (free or paid). Most cloud storage services give you 5GB to 10GB of free storage space, which may be enough for your files.
If you want to be sneaky about it, then you can also transfer your files in packages of 5GB to 10GB. Just drag them to your cloud storage folder and then drag them out of the folder to free up space once more.
All popular cloud storage services have software for both Windows XP and Windows 8 (or whichever major operating system you’re upgrading to).
This option lets you avoid buying a new storage device while also enjoying the benefits of cloud storage.
Option 3) Use Windows Easy Transfer
Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs come with a program called Windows Easy Transfer. That program is also available for Windows XP, although you have to download it separately from here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/features/windows-easy-transfer
Windows Easy Transfer will do the same basic tasks performed in the previous sections. It transfers your personal documents to your new Windows PC.
If you were confused by the options listed above and find it easier to download and install a transfer wizard software program, then Windows Easy Transfer is a good option. If you want a transfer software program that walks you through each and every step, then Laplink PCMover Express – our next option – will work better for you.
Option 4) Laplink PCMover Express
As part of its upgrade incentives for Windows XP, Microsoft is giving upgrading users free access to a software program called Laplink PC Mover Express.
Laplink lets you transfer files from one PC to another using a number of different methods. Instead of storing your files on cloud storage or removable storage devices, PCMover Express sends your data across a local network using Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or USB.
It’s extremely easy to use. Just install the software on one PC then install it on your new PC.
The most important thing to note about PCMover Express is that it will not work if you’re reinstalling an OS on a single computer. You need two separate computers in order to use the software.
If you’re not tech savvy and you’re upgrading from a Windows XP PC, then take advantage of Microsoft’s upgrade offer and use PCMover Express to walk you through each and every step.