Question from Pauline N.: I’m planning to buy a new laptop and give my old one to my daughter.
What I’m looking for is a simple way to transfer my files from the old laptop to the new one.
I was hoping I could just connect the two laptops together with a USB cable and transfer the files that way. Is that possible?
Rick’s answer: Yes Pauline, you can transfer your files to the new laptop the way you described, but you’ll need a special cable called a USB Bridge Cable. They aren’t all that expensive and they are quite easy to use.
The bridge cable that I always recommend is this one from a company called Plugable.
At the time of this writing it costs around $25 or so, and that includes a license for Bravura Easy Computer Sync, a program that you can use to transfer all of your user-created files (photos, Office documents, etc.) from the old laptop to the new one.
All of the above being said, this cable has one potentially serious downside that I must mention…
While it works amazing well and is very easy to use, this cable will transfer your files at USB 2.0 speed even if both PCs have USB 3.0 ports.
That means if you have a lot of large files to transfer the transfer could well take several hours to complete.
Of course you can simply initiate the transfer and go about your business doing other things while it completes, and plenty of folks that aren’t in a hurry do just that.
Note: There are USB 3.0 bridge cables available as well, but I have yet to find one that’s as reliable and easy to use as this USB 2.0 cable from Plugable.
If you want to complete the transfer process as quickly as possible you’d be much better off copying your files onto an external USB 3.0 hard drive or SSD and then copying them from there onto the new computer.
Yes, that would require two transfers instead of one, but it would still be a lot faster overall since USB 3.0 is 10 times faster than USB 2.0.
Just be aware that regardless of which method you choose you’ll have to install all of your programs onto the new laptop manually from their installation media because you can’t simply copy them from one computer to another.
Bottom line: If simplicity is your primary concern the data transfer cable mentioned above is definitely the best way to transfer your files from one PC to another.
However, if speed is what’s most important to you then you’d be much better off using an external USB hard drive or SSD to move the files.
I hope this helps Pauline. Good luck!
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