A reader wants to know the best way to transfer files from an old PC to a new one.

“Hi Cyn, really enjoy your tech tips. You do an excellent Job. What is the quickest and best way to transfer files and programs to a new computer from an old one? Is there a built in app in Microsoft?”

The best way to transfer most files is to copy them to a thumb drive or external hard drive and then plug that drive into your new PC. You can just drag and drop the Documents, Pictures, Video, and Music libraries.

Depending on how many files you have, you can also upload them to cloud storage and then access them from your news computer. For example, if all of the documents on your PC are synced to a OneDrive account when you log onto your new PC with your Microsoft account, you’ll be able to instantly access them.

Microsoft offers a handy walk-through of the process at this link: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/transfer-your-data

Transferring programs is a whole other matter. Programs just aren’t designed to be transferred.

If you downloaded the program and saved your activation key, you’ll likely be able to download it again and enter the information to activate. With subscription services like Microsoft 365, Adobe Cloud, and security software, you can go to your account to deactivate your old computer and add your new one. Then you’ll be able to download any software you require.

If you want or need to move programs, you’ll need to download software like Laplink‘s PC Mover. It runs between $39 and $59. You’ll also need a transfer cable. The physical copy of PC Mover includes one. EaseUS also makes similar software that costs $49.95 per year.