Windows Easy Transfer
|A component of Microsoft Windows|
Windows Easy Transfer running on Windows 8
|Included with||Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1|
|Also available for||Windows XP|
|Replaces||Files and Settings Transfer Wizard|
|Replaced by||PCmover Express|
|User State Migration Tool|
Windows Easy Transfer was a specialized file transfer program developed by Microsoft which allows users of the Windows operating system to transfer personal files and settings from a computer running an earlier version of Windows to a computer running a newer version.
Windows Easy Transfer was introduced in Windows Vista and is included in the Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 operating systems. It replaces the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard included with Windows XP and offers limited migration services for computers running Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 and Windows XP Service Pack 2. It does not transfer applications, only files and most settings.
Windows Easy Transfer was discontinued in Windows 10. Microsoft partnered with Laplink to provide a free version of PCmover Express as an alternative, for a limited time. End users also had the ability to upgrade to PCmover Professional (a paid version) which allows the transfer of applications as well.
For Windows 2000, Microsoft had developed the User State Migration Tool command line utility that allowed users of Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT 4.0 to migrate their data and settings to the newer operating system; the command-line tool did not provide a graphical user interface. An additional migration tool, titled Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, was developed for Windows XP. FSTW was designed to assist users of the operating system in migrating their data and settings from Windows 98 and Windows Me. FSTW could be launched from the Windows XP CD-ROM and presented options to transfer data and settings via a direct cable connection, a 3.5-inch floppy, a zip disk, or a network connection. Moreover, an option to create a wizard disk was available that could be used to initiate the migration process on an earlier system.
A preliminary version of Windows Easy Transfer was demonstrated during the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference by Jim Allchin in 2004 as the successor to the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, and was scheduled for the next client version of the Windows operating system, Windows Vista, then known as Windows "Longhorn". As with the final release, this version of the application was intended to optionally use a specialized USB cable to transfer data between personal computers.
- Data files and folders
For transferring from Windows versions later than Windows 2000:
- User accounts and their settings
- Windows and application configuration data stored in files or in the Windows Registry
As of Windows 8.1, Easy Transfer can no longer export data to another computer, but can still open files created on an earlier version of Windows.
Windows Easy Transfer does not support transferring installed applications. For transferring certain supported applications from Windows XP to Windows Vista, Microsoft had planned to release a supplementary Windows Easy Transfer Companion application, but the application remained as a perpetual beta during development, and a final version was never released.
Several transfer methods can be used:
- An Easy Transfer Cable (not supported on Windows 8.1)
- A computer network
- A CD recorder or DVD recorder and sufficient number of CDs or DVDs
- A USB flash drive or an external hard disk drive. In this mode Windows Easy Transfer saves archive files of files and settings on the source machine to a user-specified location, which does not need to be a USB drive; the destination machine is then given access to the archives.
Easy Transfer Cable
The Easy Transfer Cable is a special USB 2.0 cable used to connect two computers together. The connectors are both USB-A male connectors to connect to each PC, and the cable has a small box in the middle, which contains the electronics needed to allow the computers to communicate with each other and controls data flow between the two computers. Various manufacturers produce suitable cables. Several vendors sell Easy Transfer Cables, including Laplink Software.
Since Windows Vista, Windows does not support incoming connections over serial, parallel or IrDA port, but the operating system does support incoming connections over Ethernet, wireless LAN, and HPNA.
In Windows 8.1, Windows Easy Transfer can only import settings from Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows RT, but not from another Windows 8.1 computer, or from Windows Vista. The only transfer method supported in Windows 8.1 is by a saved archive (USB drive method); transfers by an Easy Transfer Cable or network connection are not supported.
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