Using Windows Vista Easy Transfer

For those of you buying Windows Vista PCs today (or thinking about buying Windows Vista PCs in the future) and wondering how best to move all the information on your old PC to your new one, I'd like to update you on some of the new ways Windows can help transfer all your personal stuff: documents, photos, music, email, address book entries, Windows settings, and now, even programs.

The good news is that we've made this process much easier for the millions of people who will buy Windows Vista-based PCs in the coming years. Read on to see how we designed Windows Vista's transfer features to work together with special cables from hardware partners, and to learn about the beta release of our new tool for transferring programs, based on the Alohabob PC Relocator software we acquired last year.

Windows Easy Transfer

This wizard is built into Windows Vista and will automatically transfer your personal data from a Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Vista based-PC to a Windows Vista-based PC. It gathers up the data from your old PC and then applies it on your new PC in the right places. It will move user accounts, files and folders, email messages and settings, address book entries, and Windows settings. It does not move programs.

Windows Easy Transfer supports a number of ways to connect the two PCs to actually move the data:

  • Easy Transfer Cable (more info below)
  • Home or small business network
  • Removable or external hard drive
  • Writable CD or DVD


Easy Transfer Cables

In the past, one of the most difficult parts about the transfer process has been connecting the two computers if you don't have a home network. Fortunately, we've worked with hardware partners to create a really cool new product called Easy Transfer Cables. These are specially designed to work together with Easy Transfer to move all your data in the easiest and fastest way possible.


They're USB 2.0 cables with a special chip that enables them to connect two PCs. (A standard USB cable cannot do this, even if the USB connectors fit). The cable will come with a CD which has the Easy Transfer software on it -- you just install it on your Windows XP-based PC and then plug the cable into both PCs. That's it! The Easy Transfer wizard will popup automatically on both PCs and you can begin transferring right away.

These cables are being manufactured worldwide by a number of partners, including Belkin International, Vivanco Group AG and Bafo Technologies. They will be sold at retail stores, online retailers and from PC manufacturers. Look for the Certified for Windows Vista or Works with Windows Vista logo to know that the cable is supported.

Windows Easy Transfer Companion (Beta)

Although the standard Easy Transfer wizard does not move installed programs, this is a very important capability that's been requested by our customers. Because of this we have been working on a new tool called Easy Transfer Companion, which will transfer programs and program settings from a Windows XP-based PC to a Windows Vista-based PC. When used together with Easy Transfer, you will be able to move everything you need to your new PC running Windows Vista. Easy Transfer Companion has been designed to transfer many of the most popular programs for consumers and small businesses, as well as many others. You can transfer programs with either an Easy Transfer Cable or a network. We've released the tool in Beta so that we can take feedback on the overall functionality and get more information about the experience of transferring specific applications outside of those that we've tested internally. At this point the Easy Transfer Companion is only available in English and designed for use in the US. It is available for download here.

Easy Transfer Companion is based on technology we acquired from Apptimum, Inc. last year -- makers of the popular Alohabob PC Relocator software. For reference, here is the original press release on this acquisition.

Because this tool is in Beta, at the end of the transfer process it will ask for your feedback on how well it worked so we can continue improving its performance and bring it to a wider number of users in the future.


I hope these features help you and your family quickly and easily set up your new Windows Vista-based PC.