How-To Geek

Migrate XP to Windows 7 with Easy Transfer Over the Network

If you get a new computer with Windows 7  and your current machine is running XP, the thought of transferring your files and settings can be quite daunting.  Microsoft has created a program called Windows Easy Transfer that is already included in Vista and can be download for XP and 2000.  Here we will take a look at the process of using it to transfer files and settings from an XP machine to the new Windows 7.

Starting with the Windows 7 machine open the Start menu and go to Getting Started and under Tasks click “Transfer your files”.


Click through the welcome screen and choose the method for transferring the data…in this demo we’ll use a network connection.

3 method

Next select that this is the new computer.


The next screen click on “I need to install it now”.


Choose a network or external drive to install the latest version of Easy Transfer.  If you use a flash drive a freshly formatted one is recommended as it installs Windows Easy Transfer like a portable app which runs directly from the drive.

copy to USB drive

The next screen prompts you to go to the old computer, start up Easy Transfer and run through the wizard until you get a transfer key.


Now on the XP machine run Easy Transfer from you flash drive.


A progress screen will be displayed while it starts up and produces the transfer key.


Enter in the transfer key from the old machine on the new Windows 7 and hit Next.


It will scan the old computer and determine what can and cannot be transferred over. 


When done you can select the general settings and files from all the accounts on the machine.


Click on Advanced to get a detailed explorer view so you can specifically select what to transfer over.  When you’ve decided what to transfer then click Save and then transfer it over.  The amount of time it takes will depend on how much you’re transferring, speed of the network, etc.


When it is all complete you can view the transfer and program report which shows the files and settings transferred and also what programs are or are not compatible with Windows 7.


To finish the process a Restart is required.


Windows Easy Transfer can be downloaded for XP and Windows 2000 from their site but you might want to use the process shown above as it supplies the latest version of Windows Easy Transfer.  We ran into a problem with running the downloaded version which was installed on XP and was not compatible with the Windows 7 version. 


Not all programs and settings are going to transfer to your new OS but this definitely makes it easier to transfer compatible program settings, your files, folders and important documents.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 08/11/09

Comments (22)

  1. Bimal Roy

    Really good post. I liked it.

  2. Santo

    Very well explained!
    I am sure these steps will be very much helpful for all Windows XP users who prefer to transfer their data to Windows 7 PC.

  3. Synn

    very well explained, but Im looking step by steps guide on how to back-up my file from my current laptop(running winXP) so that I can install windows 7. I cannot do dvd burn for backup due to machine failure(cannot read any files from cd/dvd/cd-rom, basically it’s not working anymore.) As for my external hard drive, it’s full already and haven’t got budget yet to buy new one :). Anyone know how apart from I have to buy a new external HDD. Thank you

  4. Nicole

    My old computer crashed and will not turn on. Therefore there is no way that I know of to install the program. I have connected the hard drive from the old computer which had XP to my new computer which has windows 7. My itunes cannot locate the songs from the old harddrive! please help!!

  5. nancy

    I started the Windows Easy Transfer last night about midnight and went to bed. It’s now 10:23am and it is still creeping along very slowly about 3/5 finished. What can be taking so long?
    It is transferring about 140 gb from my XP desktop to my new Win 7 laptop.

  6. Craig

    I downloaded Windows Easy Transfer to my old computer running XP. First I received a file called “wet7xp_x86. I “ran” that file and it created a Folder entitled Windows Easy Transfer. When I double click that folder it displays three subfolders and about 20 different files. I never saw a “transfer key” displayed. Any hints?

  7. Shawn

    You are transferring 140 GB. It is going to take a LONG time for it to finish transferring.

    @Craig, Did you click the I need to install now and put it on an External hard drive, shared network folder, or flash drive? If you downloaded it from Microsoft’s website, like it says in the guide, if you download it you can experience errors. Also, what option did you select? (Transfer cable, network, external hard drive, flashdrive) The only option that requires you to enter a transfer key, is if you transfer over the network.

    @Nicole, You might have to redownload the songs.

    Nice guide by the way.

  8. Bob

    I have a desktop running Windows xp on one partition, and Windows 7 on another one. Can I get a way to transfer the files and programs I have on xp to 7?

  9. Brad

    Is it faster to transfer via 10/100 Network or using the Easy Transfer cable?

  10. russ

    really the only program files i am concerned about are Quicken which i use for banking and itunes for my music. i assume my documents and pictures transfers easily. are there any issues with the Quicken or itunes?

  11. Norman S. Weinfeld

    As above, I downloaded Easy Transfer to my XP computer. It was specifically for transferring to Windows 7. However, I, too, saw no Transfer Key, either on initial or repeat running of the program. Help?

  12. Appmen

    You may use free portable tool PickMeApp to transfer your programs from XP to win 7

  13. hla win

    i would like to change my window xp to win 7

  14. Doug. Bell

    Excellent explanation! A video with graphic illustrations would put this over the top. I went to a computer shop to buy PCmover and was advised that it was a one time process with this software. Nice man who advised me about easy transfer. Saved $65 and once again I’m thankful to PC & MS. Thanks

  15. NotSoBright

    I am going crazzzzy. Not that it is that big of a trip. I have an XP computer and a new Windows 7 computer. I loaded the WEFT programs from the 7 onto a flash drive. I then started the XP WEFT fron the flash drive and selected the files to transfer. I put the flash drive into the 7 computer and ran WEFT. After starting the transfer I got a list of folders but no files. What did I do wrong? I do not want to have to save and restore all my files (and foget some I am sure). PLEASE HELP.

  16. Wendy

    What is with everyone or is it just me. You start this demo with the words “Click through the welcome screen and choose the method for transferring the data…in this demo we’ll use a network connection.” but you don’t use a network connection at all, you use a flash drive. So, no one noticed this but me. Well, I need the network connection transfer not using an external device. I tried it on my own and my XP is having nothing to do with the Windows 7 computer and network is not doing any transferring. This is why I attempted to seek help here, but you switched up on me. I don’t have an empty flash drive in the house and need this download now. Am I seriously out of luck?

  17. Wendy

    I remember when computers were supposed to save time and space. It takes longer to set up applications than it does to just pull out the old typewriter sometimes. As much as I love the ease of correction and recalling docs, User Friendly and Frustrating seem to go hand-in-hand. Maybe you computer Geeks could update the “…For Dummies” books for all the new applications and program changes Microsoft and others are continuously throwing at us. Better yet, Programers & Developers: Slow down and give us Users a chance to become familiar with our systems before you antiquate them.
    The economy isn’t allowing us to upgrade as frequently as you would like, and our landfills don’t have room for all the hardware that you insist we replace.
    Let’s become more Earth friendly and make use of what we already have sitting in front of us. Here is a challenge that computer programers and the like can make good use of. Make it for what we have for the next five years. Give the concept a catchy title like the Five In One or 5:1 Development and cut down on the consumption and waste of plastics.

  18. me2


    If both computers are on the network, why don’t you just download the latest version of easy transfer to the old computer?


  19. Eric


    The USB flash drive is only used in this demo to copy the Windows Easy Transfer installer to the XP machine, which doesn’t already have it. The installer could just as easily be shared with the XP machine through a shared network location.

    The rest of the demo shows the transfer process as it would happen across the network, with no USB drive involved.

  20. Andrew

    I have a PC with a 500GB Hard Drive (50GB free space) running on XP Home.

    I unplugged that drive, installed a new 1TB Drive with Windows 7 then unplugged that (new) drive and am back to using the original (500GB XP) Drive until I can figure out a smooth way to transfer files and/or settings. My intent had been to plug in both drives, boot to the newer 1TB Wdws 7 drive and access the older drive from it. Or, would that not work? Easy-Transfer sounds like a good solution.

    Is it possible to do this if XP and Wdws 7 are in the same PC? Would it be easier to Easy-Transfer to an external drive or is there a one-step method to transfer all my files and data from the old Drive to the new Drive?

    Finally, is there a way to transfer my Browser settings and History?

  21. Bryan

    I followed all of these steps in attempting to transfer from a Compaq Presario 7AP135 running WP Pro to my new HP s5610f running Windows 7. All went well (using the flash drive to install on the old PC, and transfering over the network) until we got to the point of actual transfer, when it announced that “there was not enough room in the new PC’s hard drive, free up some disk space and try again”!! Windows Easy Transfer on teh new PC appears to be mapping all or part of the transferred data to the partition D: HP_RECOVERY which has 1.47 GB free of 12GB, instead of C: OS which has 549 GB free. The C: partition is shown but “grayed out” in Easy Transfer. The HP Support person (in India, I think) referred me to this article. Any ideas??

  22. Judy J.

    I noticed no answer to Nicole (above)..I have the same situation, can not boot my computer..therefore can not download transfer software??? is there some way to help….I’m really bummed about losing my doc’s and pictures;…

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