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This article describes moving files from one computer to another. In many cases this is from an old computer to a new computer. For that reason, “old computer” will refer to the computer that contains the files to be transferred and “new computer” will refer to the computer that will receive the files. However these methods could also be used for regular file transfer. Also note that these instructions assume that both computers are fully functioning and have an active network connection.

Transferring using an External Hard Drive

This method requires the user to have an external hard drive with enough storage capacity to contain all of the files being transferred. This may also be done with a large enough flash drive.

  1. Connect the external drive to the old computer.
  2. Find the files to be transferred to the new computer. Note that programs cannot be transferred over, they will need to be reinstalled on the new computer. However, the files for unique programs can be transferred. These are the typical file locations that are transferred when switching to a new computer:
    1. Desktop
    2. Documents
    3. Downloads
    4. Pictures
    5. Music
    6. Videos (PC) or Movies (Mac)
  3. Copy the desired files from the old computer location to the external drive. Safely remove the drive from the old computer.
  4. Connect the external drive to the new computer. Copy the files to the new computer.

Transferring using Backup and Sync from Google

This method backs up your files on the old computer and makes it available from Google Drive. Begin the following steps on the old computer.

  1. Install and set up Backup and Sync from Google on the old computer
    1. For individuals using a university-owned PC on the campus network or campus VPN: Open Software Center and install Google Backup and Sync.
    2. For individuals using a Mac, personal PC, or university-owned PC not on the campus network/VPN: 
      1. Navigate to https://www.google.com/intl/en-GB_ALL/drive/download/backup-and-sync/ and select “Download Backup and Sync”.
      2. Open the downloaded installation file and complete the installation. 
    3. Open Backup and Sync.
    4. Follow the setup instructions and when prompted to log in, select the option at the bottom to “Sign in with your browser instead”. Sign in with your App State credentials.
    5. Continue to follow the setup instructions. There is no need to change the default settings but you may adjust them if needed.
    6. Once the setup steps are complete, it will take some time to back up all of your files to Google Drive. Leave the computer on and connected to the internet until the Backup and Sync has backed up all of your files. In the future, Backup and Sync will automatically back up your files periodically as long as the computer is connected to the internet (any network connection is fine, it does not have to be the university network or VPN).
  2. On the new computer, open your internet browser and navigate to drive.google.com. Log in with your App State credentials.
  3. On the left navigation panel, select “Computers”. Find the old computer and files there. 

From this point, you may pick and choose which files you would like to download or you may download all of the files to your new computer.


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