Transferring Files From One PC to Another [How-to Guide]


Have you ever had to transfer a huge amount of data from one computer to another? It can be exasperating. There are multiple data transferring channels that can help you copy, move, or share data, including cloud storage and transfer, USB flash drives, internet cable, Wi-Fi, or LAN. But which one to use?

In this article, you’ll have a chance to learn how to transfer files from PC to PC using all of these methods, the factors that affect the transfer, how easy each method is, and what to do when the transfer is completed.

Factors That Influence the Transfer of Files From PC to PC

The ease and quickness of the file transfer depend on several factors:

The Number of Files

In order to copy files more easily and achieve better speed, you need to take the number of files into consideration. It matters whether you transfer 5GB of 200 smaller files or one big 5GB file. The latter will transfer faster and easier.

The Size of the Files

How fast you’ll be able to move programs and files to a new PC depends on how much data a file contains. If it consumes more storage space, it will transfer slower, and the other way around. Usually, file size units use a metric prefix, commonly known as megabyte or gigabyte, and this helps you to determine the file size.

The Operating Systems of the Computers

Almost every transfer option can be done on any operating system— macOS, Windows, Linux, etc.—but at some point, it may require software assistance.

Different File System

When you transfer files from PC to PC on Windows 10, the speed also depends on the file system that operates with the file you want to copy or move. There are a few file systems: FAT32, NTFS, ext3. For example, most benchmark tests show that the NTFS file system is faster than FAT32.

DID YOU KNOW: The cut/paste process is faster than copy/paste. However, this is only true if the process is done on the same partition. This way your computer will only have to change the file directory. If you’re moving the file to another partition, then the Copy and Cut function will take almost the same time.

How to Transfer Files From PC to PC

The transfer of files can be done using a few methods. In this section, I’ll go more in-depth showing how each of them works:

Cloud Storage and Web Data Transfer

In order to move your files to another location, you can use cloud-based storage options like Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc. Let’s examine each of these and see whether they’re free or paid and what each of them is best for:

  • Google Drive

To do a file transfer between computers using this cloud drive, first, make sure you are logged in to the right account where you store your data.

  1. Choose the file that you want to share with Google Drive.
  2. If you have multiple files, select more of them by holding the “Ctrl” key.
  3. Right-click on the file/s or folder you selected and click Share.
  4. Fill in the email address of your second Google Drive account.
  5. Find the second account on the list, choose the current role right next to it. Click on “Editor” and then click on “Send”.
  • OneDrive

There is an easy way to transfer data from PC to PC by synchronizing with OneDrive.

  1. Open your browser and go to the OneDrive website.
  2. Sign in with your Microsoft account and then find the location where you want to add the files.
  3. Click on “Upload”.
  4. To transfer data from PC to PC, select the files you want to move and then upload them by clicking on “Open”.
  5. When the uploading process is complete, log in to the browser from the PC you want to transfer the files to and download them.
  • Dropbox

Dropbox is perhaps the most straightforward service you can use to move your files:

  1. On your browser, find the Dropbox homepage and log in with your Dropbox account.
  2. In the overview window, you’ll find all the necessary information and files.
  3. In the menu, under “Home” > “All files” you should select the files you want to upload.
  4. To complete the transferring of the files from PC to PC, open the browser from the computer you want to move the files to.
  5. In the overview window, select the files you wish to transfer.
  6. Click on “Download”.
  • Smash

Follow those steps for an easy data transfer with Smash:

  1. Go to the service’s website.
  2. Click on the white button in the middle of the page.
  3. Select the files you want to upload and click “Open”.
  4. Write your email in the field “From”.
  5. Fill in who you want to send the files to in the field “To” (your alternative email).
  6. Click on “Send”.
  7. Open your alternative email, and you will find an email from which you can download the files.
  • PlusTransfer

Another fast way to do a computer-to-computer file transfer, similar to Smash, is to do it with PlusTransfer.

  1. Open PlusTransfer in your browser.
  2. Click on the Plus button over “Transfer Big Files”.
  3. Choose your files and click “Open”.
  4. Click “Next” and then write down the email address where you want to send the files.
  5. Click on “Send”, open the email address you’ve sent the files to and download them.
  • Resilio Sync

Our last cloud-based data transfer option is Resilio Sync. This short guide will show you how to transfer data from an old computer to a new computer easily:

  1. Download and install Resilio Sync.
  2. Open the program and add a folder from your PC by choosing the “+” button.
  3. From the menu, you can choose a Standard or Advanced folder. Choose Standard.
  4. The permission segment of the Standard folders offers two permissions: Read Only and Read & Write. Choose whatever you need.
  5. Transport the link (key) to the PC where you want to move the files to by sending via email or copying it.
  6. Copy the link and paste it in the “+”-> “Enter key or link” field, and then choose “Connect”.
  7. The last step is to accept the already sent sharing request on PC no.1.

Nearby Sharing on Windows 10

Windows 10 lets you share files, pictures, or any kind of data in your close proximity using Wi-Fi or a local area network as a nearby sharing connection. How fast you’ll be able to transfer the data depends mainly on the connection speed and connection reliability. To share files this way, follow those 4 easy steps:

  1. When you are on the PC you’re sharing the data from, go to the search bar and type “Nearby sharing”. In the “Shared experience” turn on the “Nearby sharing” switch.
  2. On the computer that has the data, you want to share, open File Explorer and find the files you want to transfer.
  3. To transfer files from PC to PC on Windows 10, click on the “Share Tab” in the File Explorer and select “Share”, and then find the name of the device you want to transfer the files to.
  4. On the computer you’re sharing with, choose “Save” and open the files when the notification pops up.

Cable Transfer

A way to transfer files from one PC to another using a cable? To use this method, you need a USB-to-USB cable or USB network cable to bridge the two PCs. If you have one, follow these simple steps:

  1. Switch on both PCs. Wait till both of them are ready to be used.
  2. Link the PCs with the USB cable. As soon as both of them recognize the USB cable, an installation wizard should pop up.
  3. Find and select “USB Super link adapter” and click “Next”. When the “Mode” menu appears, click on “High-Speed Data Bridge“.
  4. To transfer files from PC to PC on Windows 10, type “Run…” in the search bar on the bottom left. When you’ll open it, type “devmgmt.MSC” and press “Enter.”
  5. Select the little + sign and choose “System Devices.” The USB cable should be listed as Hi-Speed USB Bridge Cable. But the file transfer cable may be named differently; it’s up to the cable producer.
  6. Install and launch the transfer software of your choice on both PCs. When a two-sided window appears, note that on the left side it will show your computer, and on the right the (remote) one to which you want to transfer the data.
  7. Select the partition you want, drag and drop the files or folders you want to transfer to the location you choose.

External Drives

How to transfer data to a new computer using external drives? I’ll show you three very easy and straightforward ways to do this:

  • Flash Drive

  1. Plug the flash drive into any available USB port.
  2. Find the files you want to transfer on your PC.
  3. Select the folders and files you want to transfer and then select “Copy”.
  4. Open “This PC”, navigate to the wanted destination for your files, right-click to open the menu, and click “Paste”.
  5. Plug the memory stick into PC no.2 and paste the files in the wanted destination.
  • External Hard Drive

  1. Connect the external drive to your computer.
  2. Navigate and find File Explorer.
  3. Locate and choose the files or items you want to copy, select them, and right-click “Copy”. When you need to transfer files to a new computer and want to select multiple files, you can use “CTRL”.
  4. Paste the files onto the hard drive.
  5. Unplug the drive, connect it to the PC you want to copy your files to, select, copy and paste the files to the wanted destination.
  • Solid-State Drive

  1. Pair the external SSD drive with your PC.
  2. Copy the necessary files from your computer.
  3. Go to the external SSD and paste the files.
  4. Unplug the SSD and plug it into the computer you want the files to be transferred to.
  5. Right-click on the wanted destination and click “Paste”.

SSD file transfer is one of the fastest ways to migrate Windows 10 data to a new computer, as well as speed up your computer.

DID YOU KNOW: There is software that can speed up your data transfer significantly. One example is LapLink PCmover Ultimate, which uses an Ethernet cable to connect two computers and help you transfer files quickly.

Key Takeaways

The speed with which you move your files depends on how big the files you transfer are.
Web data transfer and cloud storage methods include using Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Smash, PlusTransfer, or Resilio Sync.
There is an option for nearby sharing on Windows 10 using Wi-Fi or LAN as a connection for sharing files on nearby devices.
A USB-to-USB cable can be used to transfer data to a new computer.
You can move your files using external drives, like flash drives, hard drives, or SSD.

After the Transfer of Files

When you successfully finish the transfer, you should do 2 more things to complete the whole process: wipe the old hard drive and back up the new hard drive.

Wiping the Old Hard Drive

So, how to completely wipe a hard drive on Windows 10? Built into Windows, there is a recovery tool. It can help you to reset your computer and wipe the HDD at the same time.

To do this, choose Settings > Update & Security > Recovery and select “Get Started” under “Reset this PC”.

Next, Windows will automatically ask you if you want to save your files or remove all of them. Click on “Remove Everything”, then choose “Next” and “Reset”.

This is an important step to take after you transfer files from PC to PC, especially if you want to sell your PC or give it to someone else.

You can also do this with some hard drive wiping software like Redkey USB, Destruct Hard Drive Data Eraser by Lovell, or DBAN.

Backup the New Hard Drive

To back up your data to an external drive, you can use the File History function on Windows 10. Select Start​ > Settings > Update & Security > Backup > Add a drive. After this, you should locate the external drive, click on it, and make a safe backup of your files. With this, the computer data transfer will be complete.

DID YOU KNOW: The hard disk drive (HDD) was invented by IBM. It was supposed to provide secondary storage for computers. The first HDD was roughly the size of two fridges, weighed a ton, and its storage capacity was 3.75 megabytes – the size of one modern digital photo.


After reviewing all the above methods, I can conclude that transferring has never been easier. Regardless of whether you want to do it virtually with the help of cloud storage or via a cable or external drive, you should choose the most suitable method for your needs and follow the steps I provided.


What is the fastest way to transfer files from PC to PC?

There are a few ways that are faster than others. First, it’s the USB cable with which you connect the two PCs and transfer the files quickly. If the volume of the data is bigger, it’s recommended to write it on an SSD disk and to transfer it with it.

Can you transfer files from PC to PC with a USB cable?

Link the two PCs with the USB cable. One side of the cable goes into the USB port of your PC no.1, and the other end goes to the USB port of PC no.2. Wait until both of the PCs recognize each other and the USB cable. After this, continue with the installation wizard.

How do I transfer everything from my old computer to my new computer?

If you’re wondering how to transfer files from PC to PC, don’t worry. You can choose between multiple ways depending on your needs. A USB-to-USB cable or LAN cable, any external drive or USB stick, or cloud storage web transfer can all be used.

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