Transferring Files to New Laptop

Dear Computer Lady,

I have a five year old laptop which runs ok and has all my data on it.

I do have carbonite back up but found it does not back up my supporting software.

I could buy a new laptop but when one tries to transfer files they do not
transfer well and some not at all.

I’m 65. Any suggestions?

Regards, Shelia


Dear Shelia,

First, congratulations on using a backup program like Carbonite. It is wise to have your files backed up because the truth is that all hard drives do eventually stop working.


When you back up the files on your computer, you are backing up the data files, not the program files. There are a couple of reasons for this. First is that your data, like photos, documents, email messages, address books, and favorites are not replaceable unless you have a backup. Your supporting programs like Word and email programs are fairly easy to install again in the event of a computer crash.

Another reason that backing up your programs does not really do any good, is that you cannot just copy the program to another computer and run the program. That used to work back in the days of DOS and Windows 3.1 but now, you have to install your program on the new computer in order for it to work.

When you do purchase a new laptop, get yourself a USB data stick that is 4 or 8 GB in size and simply drag your files to that stick, then on the new laptop drag them from the stick to your new computer. You will find directions here on my website for transferring specific items like the windows address book, or documents folders.


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    • froglady55
    • January 15, 2011

    Transferring programs you own on a disk is easy, but for web downloads, there is a solution too. SAVE the installation files (the ‘.exe’ files) to computer instead of RUN. Then store the .exe files in a folder for backup after installing.
    Solution: You can now re-install programs from a flash stick drive or other backup, just like any other file.
    (I learned the hard way … hard drive crashes, dial-up connection!)

    • Bex
    • January 15, 2011

    If your software programs are ones that you have downloaded from the internet, you can make sure that the download file is in your backup, so you can re-install the program on your new computer. Or you can reinstall from program discs you may have purchased. You need to make sure that the programs can run on the operating system on your new computer. I went further with this – I wanted my new computer to be exactly the same as my old one, so I used an imaging program which basically takes a picture of everything in your computer as it is when the picture is taken. It takes an image of everything, your personal files, your programs, your settings, everything. Then I installed the ‘picture’ on to my new computer. I used a program called Acronis (for Windows) which is not free. There are free programs that will do this for you too. Doing this is a bit complicated, and if you know a computer techie, they can explain to you how its done. It all depends on exactly what you want to have in your new computer.

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