How to Transfer your files to a Windows 8 Computer

Written by on November 15, 2012 in Operating Systems - 27 Comments

If you bought a new Windows 8 computer, you might be interested in moving your files and settings from your old computer to the new one. In this post, I’ll show you how can  transfer your files, User Profiles and Settings from Windows 7 to Windows 8 safely and easily.

Transfer files to Windows 8

Transfer files from Windows 7 to Windows 8

Transfer files to Windows 8

A few month back, I explained how you can move your files from one computer to another using Windows Easy Transfer. The steps involved in transferring files to Windows 8 is somewhat similar. For those who don’t know, Windows Easy Transfer is a built-in migration tool to transfer your files and settings from one computer to another.

The software automatically generates a single file ( .MIG Format ) containing all your data, which can then be transferred to the other PC using either LAN or to an external hard disk or pen drive.

Migrating to Windows 8 is a two-step process. First, you will need to back up your data using Windows Easy Transfer and then restore it using the same tool also available in Windows 8.

Back up your Data

1.From your Windows 7 PC, launch Windows Easy Transfer by typing it into the Start Search bar.

Migrate to Windows 8 using Windows Easy Transfer

2.After opening the application, click Next to proceed with backing up your data first. You will be required to choose your file transfer method. In our example, I have selected to move my data to an external hard disk ( 3rd option).

However, if you are transferring file to a Windows 8 PC at your workplace, you are probably on a network, and you should choose the second option.

3.On the next screen, select This is my old computer. The software will then analyse the different data that need to be saved. Please note that this step might take a few minutes depending on the amount of data on your hard disks.

4.Once the scan is completed, you will see all the files that will be transferred to Windows 8. Clicking on Customize will give you more flexibility as to which files you want to transfer or discard.

After selecting the files and folders you want to back up, you can add a password to prevent others opening your backup files. However, this is optional. Leave it blank in case you don’t want to add a password and click on Save. The backup process will now start and will be available in a single file with the extension MIG.

Windows Easy Transfer to migrate file to Windows 8

Restore your Data

5.Now that you have backed up all your files and Settings, you are now ready to transfer your files to Windows 8. Just like Windows 7, Windows 8 also comes with Windows Easy Transfer. From the Metro screen, press Windows key + C to bring the charm bar. You should see a bunch of new options. Click on Search and type “Windows Easy Transfer”.

Windows Easy transfer in windows 8

6.Once the application is opened, click Next and select An external hard disk or USB flash drive .

windows 8 migration wizard

7.Then choose This is my new PC and make sure you have connected your external hard disk or pen drive at this stage.

8.Select the .MIG file containing all your backup and click on Transfer to transfer your data to Windows 8.

Migrate to windows 8

Congratulation! You now have all your data transferred to Windows 8. Although there exist some third-party applications that allow you to transfer files to Windows 8, I believe that none can be compared to Windows Easy Transfer. If you are stuck at some point, feel free to leave me a comment below, I'll do my best to help you :)

27 Comments on "How to Transfer your files to a Windows 8 Computer"

  1. Syb February 1, 2014 at 2:24 pm · Reply

    I was using Windows Mail not Outlook. I found out where the windows live mail inbox kept its files and copied the old ones to that directory but I must need to reindex it or something?

  2. Syb January 31, 2014 at 5:31 am · Reply

    Thank you for your helpful comment Dave

  3. dave January 30, 2014 at 8:46 pm · Reply

    if it was any easyier I would have my 5 year old grand daughter do it
    nice I tell you nice

  4. Syb January 30, 2014 at 3:08 pm · Reply

    I did connect it and copied what I thought were the relevant files to the directory I thought it should go into. It didn’t work so either insufficient files or wrong location.


  5. Syb January 30, 2014 at 12:47 pm · Reply

    My Vista machine died but the hard drive is fine. My new machine is Windows 8. Any ideas how I could transfer files, particularly emails in this situation?


    • Hayder January 30, 2014 at 1:21 pm · Reply

      Hi Syb,

      You can connect your old hard drive to your new computer and transfer the files. (Assuming you don’t want to import your settings). As for the email recovery, were you using Outlook?

  6. tony January 24, 2014 at 2:28 am · Reply

    I have tried to transfer files etc from a Windows 7 laptop to a new Windows 8.1 laptop using an external storage device.

    While the copying of files from the old computer goes OK the next stage ,transferring them to the Windows 8.1 laptop, fails because the Easy Transfer says it does not recognize the file.

    Any suggestions?

    • Hayder January 24, 2014 at 10:14 am · Reply

      Hi Tony,

      Can you provide me the exact error message you’re getting? Thanks.

  7. Daren January 18, 2014 at 1:42 am · Reply

    Hi, I followed the steps to transfer data from old computer to external HD. That was successful, but when I bring up windows easy transfer on new computer with windows 8 and I get to the point where I click on “this is my new computer” it is nowhere to be found. I don’t see that as an option. Any suggestions? Thanks

  8. c0zy November 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm · Reply

    Try to use it in Windows 8.1 but receive message that it can’t transfer files from xp or vista… Aaarrggghh

  9. cassim November 19, 2013 at 12:53 am · Reply

    HI. I’v tried using this tool.the following message keeps popping up “windows easy transfer is unable to continue.please reboot pc”
    Any idea what i can try and do?

  10. joel May 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm · Reply

    I just bought a new computer with Windows 8 and I’m moving from my old XP to Windows 8. It seems In the documentatIon It says that your programs wIll not mIgrate from XP to WIndows 8 but you saId by usIng Windows easy transfer they wIll? Also I didn’t see anything about needing a speciAl cable I need. Is that required?

  11. Sameer April 25, 2013 at 7:47 am · Reply

    Thanks for the article. I am in the process of using Windows Easy Transfer on Windows XP to backup the files. Its taking about 3hours to make a .mig file on my external hard disk. Do you think I would come across any hurdles in recovering the .mig file in Windows 8? Or maybe anything I should know of? Please let me know.

  12. salma April 3, 2013 at 2:00 am · Reply

    Hello Hyder,
    I am trying to transfer all my Data from my old computer window 7 to my new computer window 8, and I want to use cable to do the transfer, could you please advice me on hoe to do that!!!
    thanks much

  13. Ralph March 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm · Reply

    I transferred tax programs from XP to 8 but just got a list of files not an operating program. I used Belkin for the transfer. How do I get the program up and running?

  14. Dave February 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm · Reply

    I have microsoft office installed on my old laptop my son has lost the activation key and disc. Can this programme (2007) be transferred to my new laptop with Windows 8.

  15. Wendy January 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm · Reply

    I transferred all old files to separate hard drive then on to new pc with Win 8 installed.

    Old files were 97-2003 office and now have office 2010 . After opening each file -used convert file box – works fine and saves as 2010 file. Problem is having so many files to convert that often the screen just completely freezes especially when converting excel. Shut down pc -clears this but wondered if there is a way convert all files without opening each one? Sorry if I am asking in wrong forum. Wendy

  16. Merryann P January 4, 2013 at 3:52 am · Reply

    Thank you so much!! My transfer cable I bought for a Vista to 7 transfer wouldn’t work for the 7 to 8 transfer. This was just what I needed to tell me how to do it.

  17. Gary January 2, 2013 at 11:22 pm · Reply

    How would I migrate XP to Windows 8 ? I have belkin easy transfer cable for XP to win 7. Would the belkin also work for XP to Win 8 ? thank you.

    • Hayder January 3, 2013 at 9:31 am · Reply

      Hello Gary. It should normally work. I suggest you to download the software that ships with the Windows 8 easy transfer cable and see if it is compatible. (It should be available to download for free on the official site).

      Also, when upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 8, you should have Windows XP SP3 in order for the migration to work and you will not be able to keep your settings and apps on your Windows 8 machine.

      For more information, you can see this informative post:

  18. Jamie December 27, 2012 at 8:11 am · Reply

    The “old” PC we are looking to transfer from has installed programs for which we have lost the install media and license keys. Will easy transfer also copy these programs to the new PC or will it prompt for install media and/or license keys?

    • Hayder January 3, 2013 at 9:13 am · Reply

      Normally it should copy the apps along with the license keys else Windows Easy Transfer is of no use. :)

  19. Saeed Kheiree December 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm · Reply

    Thanks for good guide ;)

    • Hayder December 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm · Reply

      You are welcome Saeed. I’m glad this was helpful to you. :)

  20. alain December 4, 2012 at 12:26 am · Reply

    windows 8 easy transfer wants to transfer the files to my small ssd drive, too small to receive the files from my old computer. can’t select drive where the files are going to

    • Hayder December 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm · Reply

      Hello Alain, try to transfer relatively small amount of data at a time. This will solve your problem .;)

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