A reader is looking for advice on the best way to transfer files from one PC to another.

“A long time ago when Worldstart was still alive, he had some software/hardware when you wanted to upgrade a computer or backup the files from one to another. Do you have anything similar to what was being offered at that time?

I have to upgrade my XP to at least Windows 7 to start with and I want to use another computer we have in our office to transfer files from my Dell XPS to a Dell Inspiron that we bought several years ago that has Windows 8.1 or 2. It was a backup computer in case my husband’s HP Pavillion stopped working.”

I don’t offer any products for sale, but I can point you in the direction of some good choices. The best product depends on what you’re trying to do.  Do you just want to transfer important files like documents, photos, music, and videos?  Or are you hoping to transfer programs?

I hope you haven’t been using that Windows XP computer to go online because that system has been unprotected from viruses for almost four years, so who knows what it might have picked up in the meantime.

Before you start moving files to that Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1.1 PC (there’s no Windows 8.2), I’d suggest making sure you’ve run all the updates. Also, I’d consider just going ahead and moving that 8.1.1 PC to Windows 10. There’s a cost for the upgrade, but in the long run, it’s better to have a supported system instead of a version of the unpopular Windows 8. It’s also less of a learning curve to go from XP or 7 to Windows 10.  I’d also consider upgrading that Windows 7 machine to Windows 10 since Windows 7 will only be supported until January 2020.

If you want to transfer only files like documents, photos, videos, music and perhaps your email contacts, You could choose to do it using a large USB drive or an external hard drive. Just copy the files you want onto the external drive and then switch to the other PC, plug in the external drive, and copy it back onto that one.

If you’re hoping to move programs as well as files, or would just prefer to have an all-in-one program to assist with the transfer, I suggest Laplink’s PC Mover.  You’ll get simple step-by-step instructions for the transfer.  The software costs $70 with the cable included and it’s only good for one use, but when you compare that with the cost of paying someone to do it for you, it’s still a pretty good deal. You can check it out on Amazon by clicking here.

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Keep in mind, there’s no guarantee than transferred programs will be compatible with a new operating system. You’ll need to check and see which programs work with which OS.

If you just want to transfer your files, a file transfer cable with some simple software might work for you. There’s one that’s currently under $20 on Amazon right now running Bravura Easy Computer Sync Software. You can click here to check that out.

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Before selecting any product, make sure that it works with both the operating system you’re transferring from and the operating system you’re transferring to.