The Windows Easy Transfer Tool

In the old days, when you purchased a new computer to replace another machine, copying your documents and configuring the new system to use the same settings as the old one often took a full day or more. Windows XP enabled you to save all that time for more productive pursuits by offering the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. This tool transfers those files and settings from your old computer and applies them automatically to your new computer.

This utility copies to Vista the configuration of your old Windows 2000 or Windows XP machine. Windows Transfer enables you to transfer any or all of the following:

  • Files and folders Windows Easy Transfer gathers the contents of several folders, including My Documents, My Pictures, Desktop, Favorites, Shared Documents, and Shared Pictures. It also gathers a long list of specific document file types, including WordPad documents, text files, all media files, and any file types associated with your installed third-party programs, including all Microsoft Office file types.
  • User accounts and settings Windows Easy Transfer gathers display settings, such as the screen colors and fonts, desktop background, screen saver, and so on; your taskbar settings; your mouse and keyboard settings; your regional settings, such as number and currency formats, country location, and installed languages; and your sound and multimedia settings; network connections, drives, and printers; Start menu items; and accessibility options.
  • Programs and settings As with the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, Windows Easy Transfer brings over the options and data for Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, MSN Explorer, Windows Media Player, and Microsoft Messenger. The wizard also gathers settings from certain third-party programs, including the Microsoft Office programs, Microsoft Works, Netscape, Photoshop, Quicken, RealPlayer, and others, depending on what is installed on your computer.
  • Internet settings This includes your Internet connections, Internet Explorer properties, favorites, and cookies. It also transfers your email accounts, messages, and address book entries.

When you launch Windows Easy Transfer (Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Windows Easy Transfer), the program prompts you for a location to store a copy of itself to run on your old computer. A shared network folder is best for this. After the copy of Windows Easy Transfer is created, you run the program on your old machine and specify the items you want to transfer.