With the April 8, 2014 end-of-support date looming, it’s long past time to upgrade from Windows XP. If you have a Windows XP system filled with your personal data and settings, upgrading can be daunting. These tools will help you easily migrate your data from Windows XP to a modern version of Windows, Mac OS X, or even Linux.
Microsoft is now providing a free copy of LapLink’s PCmover Express to all Windows XP users. This tool will only work if you’re transferring data from a Windows XP PC to a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 PC. It will only move your personal files and other data, not applications — you’ll have to install any applications you use on your new PC afterwards. It transfers the data over your network, so you won’t have to mess with any additional cables.
Even better, Laplink is offering free transfer assistant 24/7 over the phone to help you migrate your files. Microsoft is surely footing the bill to help get you off Windows XP.
This tool should be easy to use, especially with the free phone support. Install the tool on both computers and set it up to transfer from the one to the other.
Windows Easy Transfer
Microsoft also offers their own data migration tool, known as Windows Easy Transfer. It’s somewhat surprising that Microsoft is recommending a third-party tool instead of its own tool, but we can take that as an indication that PCmover Express is better. PCmover Express is based on a commercial product, while Windows Easy Transfer is a more simple tool that Microsoft designed for Windows 7 and is no longer updating. You’re better off using PCmover Express.
If you’d like to use Windows Easy Transfer anyway, you’ll need to download it from Microsoft and install it on your Windows XP system. It will transfer files and settings over the network, an external hard disk or USB flash drive, or an “Easy Transfer cable” — don’t bother buying that last one, it’s unnecessary.
Mac Migration Assistant
If you’re switching to a Mac, Apple provides a Windows Migration Assistant that will help you move your personal files from any Windows system to a Mac. The tool will copy your personal files and settings to your Mac. It transfers files over the network, so it should be easy to use as long as your Windows XP system and Mac are on the same local network.
Just install the Migration Assistant on your Windows XP PC and run it. It will guide you through the process of migrating your personal data to a Mac.
Any Local Backup Tool
Any backup tool can help you migrate. You should ideally be creating backups of your files and important data anyway. If you’re already backing up, migrating can be as simple as restoring the files you need from a recent backup rather than using a migration tool.
Install Cobian Backup or any of the other backup tools from our Backup and Restore Guide. Perform a backup to an external hard drive and you’ll be able to restore the backups on your new computer.
Any Cloud Storage Service
Microsoft is now all about the cloud — that’s why Windows 8.1 integrates OneDrive, formerly known as SkyDrive. If you migrated your personal documents to a cloud storage service like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive, you’d be able to access them from any computer, smartphone, tablet, or anything with a web browser.
Because of the OneDrive integration in Windows 8.1, you’d even be able to access them on Windows 8.1 without installing anything — just log into Windows with the appropriate Microsoft account. Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive are also available for Mac, while Dropbox even runs on Linux distributions like Ubuntu.
To do this, just install your preferred cloud storage tool and move your important personal files to the cloud storage folder. They’ll be synced online.
Do you prefer another migration tool? Leave a comment below and share any useful tools that will help people easily upgrade from Windows XP!
Image Credit: PoloGoomba on Flickr