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Windows Easy Transfer: Easy when you know how

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I recently installed Windows 7 RTM on my laptop. Knowing that Asus didn’t supply 64-bit drivers for my laptop I installed the 32-bit version. After all, I only had 2GiB of RAM anyway.

Working from home the last few weeks has put more stress on my laptop than it has previously and I was constantly hitting my 2GiB limit leaving my hard drive thrashing as Windows struggled to swap pages in and out of memory.

I was surprised when I installed Windows 7 that I didn’t need to download any drivers from my manufacturer (Asus). My graphics drivers were installed through Windows Update and everything else worked out of the box. ((Unfortunately this didn’t include my Bluetooth drivers, but as I am now using the Microsoft Explorer Mouse this doesn’t seem like such a loss.))

So, after some encouragement from a friend on twitter I decided to try installing the 64-bit version of Windows 7 and if it worked, move up to 4GiB of RAM.

I already had the 64-bit image ready to go on Windows Deployment Services, but I had just recently finished setting up my machine perfectly. I was particularly worried about having to reconfigure Outlook and set up new PST file. Now I could have tried copying my user profile and transferring that way, but instead I figured that I’d give Windows Easy Transfer a try. Once I passed the initial welcome screen I was confronted with the following options:

An Easy Transfer cable

I guess this is a good idea for people who don’t have a wired home network. I didn’t have one of these cables (and I don’t think looping it back to the same computer would work right) so I moved to the next option.

A network

Surely this was the option I wanted. After all, I wanted to copy the files to my network server. Unfortunately, no. This option migrates directly to the new computer. This wasn’t right either.


An external hard disk or USB flash drive? That sounds very specific. Fortunately this includes network drives too. In fact, it just brings up a standard file dialog so you could likely store the migration file anywhere you want.

Then it was just a case of following the on-screen directions. It not only backed up the Documents folder, but it grabbed other folders on the disk and on different partitions. Unfortunately it doesn’t grab the settings for all applications, but it covered enough for my needs.

Once you’ve migrated back you get this handy migration report which you can use as a guide to see what applications you still have to install:

Previously Installed Applications