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Now that I know that so many of you hold senior IT posts I have a question to ask. I am about to replace my 7 year old PC which runs Windows 2000 for something er.. more modern and that does not crash at least twice a week. I have a Vaaaast amount of data and photos cad drawings etc on my current PC as when as a massive amount of web addresses saved as favourites. How can I simply transfer this onto my new PC without the need for copying it all onto a load of discs.


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various ways

take the HDD out of the old PC and stick it in the new one (not the best option unless you konw you're doing as you will have all sorts of fun with the PC trying to work out which OS to boot from)

make a mini network by connecting the two together with a patch cable (you'll need ethernet ports on both) - this is probably the quickest and easiest way.

buy an external HDD and use it as a semi portable hard drive (you'll need a USB port on both PCs)

connect the 2 computers together using a serial cable- the old fashioned way. reliable but dreadfully slow and you "might" find the new PC doesn't have serial ports anymore

there's probably some more, but i just can't think of them at the moment.

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I have the hard drive from my old pc in my new one as a slave drive. The old one ran on Windows 98SE, and my current pc is WindowsXP. Your old drive will show up as a second drive (mine is Drive D), and is accessible by clicking on it. I don't know if you are likely to have a conflict between the two operating sytems - I haven't.

You have to know how to make the old hard drive into a slave drive, or things won't work properly.


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Thanks a lot for the replies. My current hard drive has already been partitioned into C and D drives so I'm not sure how this would work in your scenario Les. I am planinng on getting a PC with Vista but again I don't know if this might conflict with 2000.

the old hard drive will have jumpers ( little connectors) on the back which make it a master or a slave device. There should also be a tiny diagram showing the configuration of the jumpers to allow you to change it to a slave drive. Once you have made it a slave drive connect up the multi strand cable (data cable) and the power supply cable in the new pc. you may need to go into the BIOS to detect new harddisks.


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unless the new PC doesn't have IDE connectors anymore- it's not uncommon nowadays. then he's stuffed.

even if it does have IDE connectors it can be hard to get a master IDE boot after a SATA disc- it seems to be even harder to work out the order that SATA are going to boot as it's done by the order you connect your HDDs to the SATA ports.

i still reckon the quickest and easiest way is to setup a mini network using a patch cable- takes about 10 minutes to setup and you can use both computers at the same time which can be useful at times.

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if external HDDs have finally got that cheap, then go that route- £50 for something that can be used to back up your system after you have trasnferred the files is a bargain. It will also be the easiest and quickets setup- you just plug it in to the USB ports and the computer should register it as an extra drive- then you just start copying files across- do a whole load at once and then you can come back later when it's finished.

the patch thing isn't particularily hard but needs a little explanation. There are 2 sides to it, software and hardware and both have to be right.

you need to make sure that both PCs have an ethernet port (otherwise konwn as RJ45). they look like big phone sockets basically. you then buy a Cat5e (or Cat 6 either is fine) Patch Cable (sometimes called a crossover cable- usually will have different coloured plugs to the colour of the cable- i have no idea of the french word for it- sorry)

you then plug the cable between the two computers.

Then you sort the software out. go into control panel find the network connections bit and make sure the LAN connection is enabled (usually by double clicking on it), once it's enabled on both computers, double clikc the icon again and make sure that there is a TCP/IP box ticked, as well as a file and printer sharing box ticked and client for windows network box (if you don't have all these then let me know and i will tell you how to add them). once all the boxes are ticked, double click on the TCP/IP protocol line and in the new window make sure that "the obtain automatic IP adress" and "obtain automatic DNS adress" are ticked.

At this point you shoudl be able to click on my network places, look at entire network and you shoudl be able to see the other computer. You "may" need to share the hard drive on each PC, you do this by opening my computer, right clicking on the drives you want to share, going to properties and looking through the tabs until you find sharing which you enable- make sure you name the drive something like "old C drive" or it starts to get very confusing about where you are copying stuff to and from.

there is a "slim" chance that there will be a problem with workgroup names, and if you do everything above, and still aren't having any luck, then let me konw and i will tell you how to change the workgroup name.



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Beware, if you copy files, 'en mass' you also risk copying any virus file, spyware etc at the same time, especially if you try and copy program directories. It's much better to transfer only the specific data files you need.

In terms of speed, putting the HD into the new machine is certainly the quickest way to transfer the data. then networking, as mentioned above, in that only one operation is requried as such, copying to a removable HD is a valid method (especially over USB 2.0), but will be more tedious, and much slower if the original PC only has USB 1.0.

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Thanks for the great advice. The external HD is looking favourite simply because of the simplicity although I can see that there may be issues in transfering stuff that you don't want. I am not an IT wiz and am reluctant to do stuff that may (in my hands) risk the new PC.

Does anyone know how to transfer all the web site favourites that are saved on my PC as there are literally hundreds which I would NOT want to have to replicate manually!

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Given your comments about your computer expertise, and your reference to 'favourites' I assume you are using Internet Explorer as your browser. Yes? Because it's your Browser that affects how you keep and transfer the details of your favourite web sites.

The others will give details.

About transferring files, which is my main reason for posting.

The others are talking about 'an external hard drive', which has confused me. I'd have gone for a Case for an external hard drive. Buy the new PC, take the hard drive from the existing PC, put it in the external HD case, transfer the files as required, and once certain the new PC can read each file off it's own hard drive, reformat one or both partitions on the external hard drive.

As others have said, you now have backup potential for all the Data you have just put on the new PC, and more besides, as you have just got rid off the Windows 2000 operating system from that external drive.

Guys, why buy a new hard disk?


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Buy an external HDD CASE and put your old HDD into it, they cost about £15-£25 and I have three of them now after running out of IDE connectors in the PC :rolleyes: it will then show up as a removable storage device, like a USB pen but bigger. You can drag all your files over or just use the old HDD as your file storage (or as a backup) and delete the old windows install / programs from it.

Here's the one I have, cheap and cheerful:

Novatech link


They also do others with a bit more bling.

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Yes, the option of sticking the original IDE HD in a USB caddy has been overlooked.

Certainly a cheaper solution, with less data transfer (time), as long as mr AF is happy removing his old HD and putting it in the caddy.

Favourites are stored in the favourites folder in C:\Documents and Settings\"username" in XP, don't know about 2000 but a search for favourites will probably reveal all.

Edit: D'oh, FF beat me to it

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This sounds like a good option and within my 'expértise'. I'll see what cases are available here if not I can probably get one from Ebay or Novatech (if they mail overseas). I have tracked down external HDs here - 250gb for about €80 but it certainly makes more sense to re-use the existing HD if poss.

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To copy your Internet Explorer bookmarks you just need to find the directory they are stored in...

Been a while since I've used Win 2000 but try c:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Favourites

If that doesn't exist, try c:\Windows\Profiles\<username>\Favourites...

Or, just launch explorer, navigate to the C: drive, press F3 to search and tell it to search for "*.lnk" ... that should give you a list of all favourites on your machine.

Or, there is this method.

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