Moving your files to Vista
By Jay Dougherty Jul 30, 2007, 6:22 GMT
Washington - You've got Windows Vista. It's attractive, and it's fun. But there's just one problem: all of your important files - including e-mail - are on your old computer. What's the best way to migrate your data to Vista? Read on to find out.
Q: My new desktop computer has Windows Vista Home Premium installed on it. Is there an easy way to move all of my files from my notebook, which uses Windows XP, to the new machine?
A: Yes. Vista's new Windows Easy Transfer program can make the process of moving your personal files, user accounts, e-mail messages, and even some program settings pretty painless.
Before you start, you'll need to think about how or whether the two computers can be connected. If you happen to be on a network, set up the computers so that they can 'see' each other. Otherwise, just start the Easy Transfer wizard by opening Vista's Start menu and navigating to All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Windows Easy Transfer or just type 'transfer' in the Start Search field of the Start menu, and then click Windows Easy Transfer.
Easy Transfer is wizard-based, so you'll be stepped through the process of moving your files. You'll be asked whether you're working on your old or new computer and then whether you have an Easy Transfer cable. An 'easy transfer' cable is essentially a special USB cable with identical male plugs on both ends. You can purchase one of these at most computer stores - either online or in person. Generic versions are available at about 10 dollars.
But you don't have to have an Easy Transfer cable to complete the job. Instead, you can use the transfer wizard to indicate that you do not have a cable and instead use one of the other options provided, including using an external hard drive or a blank CD or DVD. In essence, the Easy Transfer wizard will walk you through the process of installing an Easy Transfer program on the old computer and then copying all of the desired files from your old PC to the device - external hard drive, CD, or DVD - that can connect to the new computer so that the transfer can be completed.
Depending on how much data you have on your old computer, the transfer process, once started, could take all night, so it's a good idea to plan ahead. The time spent will generally be well worth it, however, since moving your files in another manner can be both tedious and prone to error.
Q: I upgraded to Office 2007 when I upgraded to Windows Vista. The new files that I create using Office 2007, however, cannot be read by my old computer, which still has Office 2003 installed. What can I do?
A: Microsoft changed the file format in Office 2007. The new format results in file sizes that are considerably smaller than those produced by previous versions of Office's applications.
The bad news, as you've discovered, is that older versions of Office 2003 applications - including Word and Excel - will not be able to open files created under Office 2007 unless the files are specifically saved in the older file formats. Since the new format is the default, and most of us tend to forget to save in the older format, Office 2007 users will have to deal, once again, with requests to re-send or re-save files in the older formats so that files can be shared.
Users of versions of Office older than 2007, however, save themselves the headache of receiving files from Office 2007 users by downloading and installing Microsoft's Office Compatibility Pack (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/products/HA101686761033.aspx).
This large download (27 megabytes) will enable Office 2000, OfficeXP, and Office 2003 users to open files that were saved natively under Office 2007. The compatibility pack is free and should be installed by anyone who anticipates receiving files from Office 2007 users.
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