BOOT CAMP 489 (14/08/07)
Moving to a new PC part
This week we are looking ways of transferring data
from an old PC to a new one utilising cable and network connections, we’ll also
be covering the Windows utilities that are supposed to make the job easier.
The advantages of using a cable link between two PCs
are fairly obvious, there’s no need to tinker with your PC’s innards and there
are no concerns over the compatibility or reliability of removable media or storage
devices. On the minus side it can be slower than some of the other methods
we’ve looked at, it will involve some expense and you can run into difficulties
with firewalls and file sharing permissions on some combinations of Windows.
There are three basic connection methods: Serial
cable, USB Data Transfer Cable, wired (Ethernet) or wireless (Wi-Fi) network
connection. You can also use the Internet – see this week’s Top Tip and older
PCs can use a parallel cable connection, though parallel ports have virtually
disappeared from PCs in the last few years but if you are interested there’s
more information in Boot
Serial COM ports are rapidly going the same way and
it is a method of last resort since it can be painfully slow (up to 115k bits
per second…), moreover you can’t use any old Serial cable, it has to be a ‘null
modem’ type (aka serial file transfer or ‘LapLink cable), and they can be quite
hard to find these days.
USB data transfer is definitely worth investigating.
It’s easy to set up a link and quite fast too with data transfer speeds
typically between 5 and 12Mb/s (much faster if both PCs have USB 2.0 ports).
The only proviso, apart form both PCs having USB ports, is that you must use a
specially designed adaptor lead. If you try connecting two PCs together using a
standard USB cable you’ll probably destroy the ports on one or both computers.
USB transfer kits with the special lead and software are widely available from
PC suppliers and online for around £15.00.
Using a network connection to move data between two
PCs is without doubt the best method in terms of speed – up to 100Mb/s, and
it’s very straightforward, provided the PCs in question are already connected
to a network. If so you probably already know what to do, which is to mark the
folders and files you want to move as available for sharing. On the other hand
setting up a network from scratch for a one-off transfer job is probably not a
good idea as it can be time-consuming, and expensive if you have to buy
networking hardware and cables. If you want to have a go at setting up a home
network then have a look at Boot
Camp 455, otherwise you are better off using a USB data transfer cable, or
one of the other methods outlined in part 2 (Boot Camp 486) of this series.
We’ll round off this week with a quick tour of the
data transfer utilities include with Windows. XP has the Files and Settings
Transfer Wizard and this works with Windows 95, 98, SE, ME, NT4, 2000 and XP
(32-bit only) computers. It’s reasonably easy to use, simply run the Wizard on
the ‘New PC’ -- the one you want to move the data to – by going to Start >
Programs > Accessories > System Tools. Create a transfer disc on a floppy
and load this on the old PC (or use the XP installation disc). Run the program
and select the files, folders and settings you want to transfer. This can take
a very long time but once that’s done you return to the New PC, select the
transfer method (cable, floppy, removable media or network) and leave it to get
on with it. It can be very slow, and in my experience prone to glitches and error
messages that may mean you have to go back to the beginning and start again.
Windows Vista has the Windows Easy Transfer (just
type ‘easy ‘ in a Search box) and although it is marginally easier to use than
the XP Transfer Wizard, and more secure, it is more limited in scope in that it
only works with Windows XP and other Vista PCs. The transfer options are geared
towards a purpose-designed USB cable, called the ‘Easy Transfer Cable for
Vista’, which currently sells for around £15 online. You can also elect to use
a network connection, CD, DVD, USB or removable disc drives but it’s definitely
happiest with the USB lead option. The procedure is broadly similar to the XP
Transfer Wizard though there are some additional steps including the creation
of a ‘key’, which ensures that no data will be shared with any other PCs. It is
reasonably quick (depending on the transfer method of course), and probably
your best bet when migrating from XP to Vista.
Next Week – Moving Word, Outlook Express and IE Data
Communications port, usually referring to older type
Serial and Parallel data sockets
standard networking system that allows the transfer of data over cables at
speeds up to 100 megabits per second
Type of serial communications cable, configured for
two-way data transfer between a PC and a modem, or two PCs
If both of your PCs have an Internet connection you could transfer
relatively small amounts of data (no larger than 1 to 2 Mb, for example) via
email attachments, though clearly that could be a very slow and tedious
business. A slightly better alternative would be to upload your files and
folders to your own personal web space – you almost certainly have some free
space provided by your ISP – using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program.
Alternatively you could use one of the many online storage and backup services,
however all of these methods are going to be relatively slow and possibly quite
pricey and should only be used if you cannot use any of the other methods we’ve
looked at in the past few weeks.
© R. Maybury 2007, 0708
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