I have a 10 year old Dell desk top computer that is about had it and I'm going to replace it with a new one.What I need to know is how do I go about putting all of my doccuments and other info from the old computer onto the new one?Is there an easy way to do this?
If your computer is 10 years old, then it came with Windows XP with Service Pack 1. If you've installed the free updates offered over the years, then it should now be upgraded to Service Pack 3 (released in 2008).
The ease of moving everything to a new computer depends on what operating system your new computer uses.
You have three options. In order from easiest to hardest, they are:
- Get a Mac
- Get a Windows PC running Windows 7
- Get a Windows PC running Windows 8 or 8.1
Option 1: Get a Mac
The easiest solution would be to buy a Mac from your local Apple Store, with a subscription to One to One. With a One to One subscription, you can just bring in your old PC, and they'll transfer your email, photos, music, etc. for you. One to One also includes personal training by appointment, up to an hour each week, for a full year. One to One costs $99, and is available only at the time you buy a Mac from the Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store.
Alternatively, you can download and install Apple's free Windows Migration Assistant on your Windows PC. It works fine with Windows XP, and will automate the process of moving everything from old to new.
Option 2: Get a PC with Windows 7
If you really love Windows, this is your best choice. Unfortunately, they aren't so easy to find. Most PC manufacturers have stopped offering Windows 7 since Windows 8 came out two years ago.
Microsoft offers a utility called Windows Easy Transfer to move your files from XP to Windows 7. Windows 7 is a good operating system, but note that Microsoft is ending mainstream support for this product next January. They will continue to offer security updates for another 5-½ years.
Option 3: Get a PC with Windows 8
This is your least convenient option. Microsoft's Easy Transfer utility does a terrible job moving files from Windows XP to Windows 8. It's so bad that Microsoft pretty much gave up and started providing a free copy of Laplink PC Mover Express. I recently worked on a small office Migration, and I found the free Laplink solution virtually worthless. It did transfer files, but it didn't transfer email settings, contacts, bookmarks, etc.
If you do go with Windows 8, I suggest paying a consultant to handle the migration for you. If you want to do it yourself, there are a lot of good tips in this PC World article. Windows 8 is a good OS — in many ways better than Windows 7 (and significantly better than XP). But the Windows 8 interface is radically different from XP and 7, and many people switching to Windows 8 hate the new interface and find it frustrating.
Some final thoughts:
I've been doing computer work for over 30 years. I've configured networks, servers, firewalls, etc. I could use a Windows PC, but I don't want to. I want something that's reliable, and doesn't need constant fiddling. For those reasons, I use a Mac.
- llky likes this