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How to transfer programs and files from old hard drive to new PC

Learn how to rescue and recover programs and data direclty from a old computer's hard drive - to a new PC. Works for Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista and XP, without losing anything.

Windows 10

In this article, we will see how to copy everything from an old hard drive to a new computer, including your programs (yes, not just files!), profile, settings, documents, pictures, music, movies, favorites and everything else - so that the old programs remain operational and old files go to their proper places.

We'll be using an automatic hard drive recovery software, so it does not require a lot of technical knowledge for a successful transfer. A few examples where this kind of transfer is required:

  • Your old computer is broken, and you only have its hard drive to work with
  • You are sending the old computer back for repairs, and are using the hard drive as a backup
  • You have a cloned hard drive you need to migrate from

 

Connecting the old hard drive to the new computer

The first step in rescuing programs and data from an old hard drive is to connect that drive to the new computer. There are several ways to do this:

Windows XP

  1. You can use a USB hard drive enclosure, which is a special "box"-like device that you slide the old drive into. The enclosure then connects to the new computer via a simple USB.
  2. You can also use a USB hard drive adapter, which is a cable-like device, connecting to the hard drive on one end and to a USB in the new computer on the other.
  3. If the new computer is a desktop, you can also connect the old drive as a secondary internal drive, just as the one already in the new computer.

Windows XP

Once the old drive is connected to the new computer, in any of the ways above, you should be able to view the old files. At that point, you can proceed to the recovery stage.

 

Recovering your files, settings, profile and programs from the hard drive

At this stage, you can access the old files on the new computer. This already a big step forward! You can already see your old files, and even manually copy them to the new PC. This type of manual recovery is not the easiest job to do, but it will at least get you your files back.

Fortunately, there are tools to do an automatic recovery, completely and without too much hassle. The one we'll use - called Zinstall Computer Rescue Kit - will even recover your programs, and of course emails, personalization, settings, documents and all the rest. Plus, it's automatic and you won't have to hunt everything down manually. Here is how to do it:

  1. On the new computer, run Zinstall Computer Rescue Kit.(you can get it here: Zinstall Computer Rescue Kit)
  2. It will automatically detect the old drive. Confirm the selection, and press Next.
  3. Windows XP
  4. If you want to only recover some of the programs, or some of the files, use the Advanced menu to select which ones you want. If you want to just recover everything, simply click Next to continue.
  5. You will be presented with a quick summary of what's about to be recovery - press "Go" to start the process.

That's it - once the recovery process is complete, you'll have your apps and files rescued from the broken computer to the new one!

 

Video tutorial - how to recover programs, settings and files to a new computer

(you'll be transferring from a hard drive, not a from a computer, but the process is pretty much the same as you'll see in the video)