Migrating a user account from one computer to another used to be a pain. If you have programs with settings stored in your Windows user profile, you can’t just copy the user folder from one computer to another – sure you can copy the pictures and videos, but what about the program settings, Internet favorites and saved username/passwords?
With Windows 7, you can move a computer account profile including documents, music, pictures, e-mail, and more importantly, program settings like Windows Live account configuration using the Windows Easy Transfer program.
To access the tool, open the list of programs under Accessories > System Tools > Windows Easy Transfer:
The wizard driven tool will open. First choose the type of medium where you want to temporarily save the image file. You can transfer files and settings using a network share, using removable media such as a CD/DVD, or using an external hard drive.
Both computers must support the transfer method you choose. For example, if you write the data to CD or DVD, the destination computer must also have a CD or DVD drive. If you choose to transfer the data across the network, both computers must be connected on the same network.
The tool also supports Easy Transfer Cable, which is a special USB jumper cable that could connect two computers together:
Choose which users you want to export from your old computer. You may choose specific types of files and folders. Windows Easy Transfer does not migrate installed applications.
Follow the wizard and you will generate the easy transfer image file. This is a single file packed with all of the documents and settings from your chosen user accounts.
On your new Windows 7 computer, double click this file to start the import process. It will open the Easy Transfer wizard with steps that will guide you to import the contents of the file. Once you have imported the file, the old accounts files will be available on your current user account.
If you are using Windows XP and you want to migrate to Windows 7, you may create an easy transfer file using this version of Windows Easy Transfer:
If you are running Vista, this software is already built into Windows Vista, so it is not necessary to install it on a Windows Vista-based PC.