“One of the biggest obstacles to buying a new PC is the drudgery of moving all your programs, files and settings from the old machine to the new one. It can take days to move every file using disks, then reinstall all your programs and re-create all the preferences and settings you have built up over the years. You may also have to download and reapply numerous patches and upgrades to your programs,” Walter S. Mossberg reports for SmartMoney.com.
“This is the sort of thing your operating system ought to handle with ease. But the ‘Files and Settings Transfer Wizard’ that Microsoft builds into Windows XP doesn’t even try to move software to a new machine. And I have never been able to get it to work properly even for moving files and settings,” Mossberg reports. “Techies, and those with techies in their employ, sometimes move the entire hard disk from the old computer into the new one, configuring it as a secondary or ‘slave’ drive, from which data files, and even programs, with settings intact, can be accessed as before. But this technique is beyond the knowledge and ability of mainstream users.”
“Another option is to buy an external hard disk, attach it to your old PC, and copy to it all of your key data files and settings