Transitioning to a new device can be an arduous process. Most smartphones have decent transfer and migration tools, but with a new PC, it’s essentially a clean slate. Soon, Windows will let you restore your apps from one PC to the next.
Whenever you get a new Windows 11 PC, whether it’s a laptop, a prebuilt, or you’re building your own PC, you’ll be able to restore data from another device during the setup process. All you need to do is have those apps installed on your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC. Then, Microsoft will back up your app list to the cloud, and when you go to your new PC, you should find placeholder icons for the apps you had installed on your previous computer.
If the apps you use are following a number of basic “tenets” outlined by Microsoft, including packaging the app, storing critical app state in the cloud, and writing user-generated content to Windows’ Known Folders, then app data and content should also move from one PC to the next in this process. User-generated content would be synchronized to the new PC using OneDrive, while app data should transfer as a result of this cloud migration. Note that if that app doesn’t follow these “tenets,” then in all likelihood, the app will transfer and start with a clean slate.
Update, 5/24/23: Microsoft has explained the feature in depth in a Windows Insider Blog post, explaining that pinned apps, system settings, and pinned apps in the taskbar and Start menu can carry over to a new PC. However, backing up a work or school account is not supported, and some settings aren’t copied over in this initial testing build.
The new migration feature is available to Insiders today, and should roll out to everyone within the next few weeks or months.
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