Windows PC Guide: How to Transfer Files to a New PC

If you’re dealing with a new Windows PC, you’ll probably want to transfer some of your files from your old PC. In our step-by-step guide, we explain how to get the job done in just seven easy steps.

Microsoft used to include a handy tool called Windows Easy Transfer, which automates the process of transferring data from one Windows computer to another. This is no longer available in Windows 10 or 11, but still, moving your data is not as complicated as you think.

Below, we explain how you can easily transfer your most important files from one Windows computer to another.


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File Transfer: The Short Version

If you have a short time, run our seven-point list to access all the most used files on your new PC. Otherwise, keep scrolling for a detailed explanation of each step and check out our screenshots along the way.

  1. On your old Windows 10 PCclick Start > Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings And make sure that Sync settings The switch is set to employment. This will allow you to transfer themes, passwords, and user settings. If this step doesn’t work for you, you’re using a local (offline) account instead of a Microsoft account – scroll down for details on how to change it.
  2. head for Start > Settings > Applications And note the apps you use the most.
  3. Submit a file outboard motor Transfer important documents, photos, and videos. Alternatively, upload the files to a cloud storage service.
  4. on your new computeropen the Microsoft StoreLocate library Code and redownload previously used Windows applications.
  5. Through your web browser, re-download and install the file Not Windows Apps I made a note in step two.
  6. Connect outboard motor in your new computer and Transfer your old files on. You can also download your files from a cloud storage service.
  7. if you wanted to factory settings Your old computer, head over to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recoverythen choose start under Reset this computer.

Sync your accounts

Signing in to apps and services with the same accounts you used on your old computer is an easy way to pick up where you left off. If you signed in to your old Windows 10 PC with a Microsoft account, you can sync certain PC settings, including appearance, passwords, and more by signing in with the same account on the new PC.

How to set up a Microsoft account

If you’re currently signed in to your computer with a local account, rather than a Microsoft account, you won’t be able to sync settings. But you can easily convert your local account to a Microsoft account by clicking Start > Settings > Accounts > Your Information and choose Sign in with a Microsoft account instead.

How to sync two Windows computers

Sync must be enabled on the old computer. To do this, select Start > Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings And make sure that Sync settings switch is employment.

Sync your settings page in Windows

Now you simply need to sign into your new Windows 11 PC with your Microsoft account. Choose Started > Settings > the account > your information. If you see Sign in with a Microsoft account insteadselect it (Do you see “Sign in with a local account” instead?” You’re already using a Microsoft account).

Sync your browser

Just as logging into your Microsoft account allows you to sync your computers, logging into your web browser with its account means you can easily transfer your bookmarks, history, passwords, and settings from your old PC to your new PC.

If you’re using Google Chrome, for example, make sure you’re signed in with your Google account on both devices. Then click on your user icon at the top right. If you see Sync is on Here (and a little green arrow icon), you’re already syncing your data – click Turn on sync here if not.

Use Google Chrome sync to transfer your bookmarks to your new PC
Use Google Chrome sync to transfer your bookmarks to your new PC

The same principle applies to cloud storage accounts, such as OneDrive and Google Drive, as well as to your email accounts.

Install your favorite apps on your new PC

One way to make this stage easier is to go to Start > Settings > Applications on your old computer and jot down all the applications listed here. If you’d like, you can use this as an opportunity to start over – just bring essential apps with you so you can free up some storage space on your new device.

Take a look at the applications on your old computer and see what you need to reinstall
Take a look at the applications on your old computer and see what you need to reinstall

You’ll need to reinstall any apps that weren’t previously installed on Windows – signing in with your Microsoft account offers another feature here. Launch the Microsoft Store app on your new PC (select Started And type Microsoft Store – Select it to open it) and click library icon (bottom left) to redownload apps you’ve previously installed on other computers.

However, not all apps are available from the Microsoft Store. Anything you can’t get from here – Google Chrome, for example – must be downloaded from the developer’s website.

While we’re on the topic of apps, at this point you might want to consider downloading antivirus software to your new PC. If you already had this on your old PC, you can log into your account on the new PC once you re-download the software.


To see which antivirus packages we recommend, see which free and paid programs performed best in our tough lab tests – go to The best antivirus software.


Move your important files

With any luck, you can keep a neat PC and most of your files will be stored in the user folders of Documents, Desktop, Downloads, Pictures, Music and Videos on your old PC. Assuming this is the case, you can use an external USB hard drive with a suitable free space (about 512GB) to move these folders from your old computer to your new computer.

On your old computer, open a File Explorer window and go to This Computer > Local Disk (C) > Users > Your Namethen open another File Explorer window, go to the external drive, and drag the user folders mentioned above into a file USB storage.

Unplug the drive, insert it into your new computer, and then drag the contents of each folder on the drive to the equivalent user folders on the new computer, again using the two File Explorer windows.

Alternatively, you can transfer files using cloud storage. Upload your files to the cloud from your old PC, then download them from your new PC.


For more tips on using cloud storage, as well as additional tips on organizing your files, see 5 easy ways to free up space on your Windows PC.


Factory reset your old Windows PC (optional)

If you’re completely done with your old computer and want to permanently delete the files that are left behind, it’s time to perform a factory reset.

Before proceeding, make sure you have all the files you need on your new computer.

Factory reset your old computer to remove your personal files forever
Factory reset your old computer to remove your personal files forever

On your old computer, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recoverythen choose start under reset this PC. You will see two options: keep me files (which removes apps and settings but keeps personal files) and remove everything (which deletes personal files, apps, and settings).

What to do with your old Windows PC

Once the factory reset is complete and you have an old Windows PC without immediate use, you have two options:

  • Keep your old computer in storage This might be a good plan if you think there’s a chance you’ll need another Windows PC in the future. Or maybe you hand the computer over to a friend or family member.
  • Sell ​​your old computer – The amount of money you will get for the computer will vary, depending on its condition. You can sell it through a local market or auction site, or head in-store to a retailer who buys used electronics – CeX, for example.
  • Donate your old computer A number of UK charities accept unused computers. The list includes Computers4Charity, The Restart Project, and Turing Trust.
  • Recycle your old computer – head to Recycle your electrical appliancesenter your zip code and see which retailers and donation points nearby will accept your used computer.

For tips on getting rid of unwanted electrical appliances, check out our expert guide at How to recycle electrical items.


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Additional reporting by Tom Morgan

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