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Help me move my files and contacts from Win XP to my new Win 7 laptop

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 12, 2010 5:19 AM PST

Help me move my files and contacts from Windows XP to my new Windows 7 laptop

My son gave me a gorgeous new HP laptop for Christmas. My
daughter gave me the coordinating printer-scanner-copier-fax
combo. My youngest son gave me the wireless router and set it
up for me. Now my problems begin. My old desktop computer
(about 5 years old) ran on Windows XP and I was very
comfortable with it. I loved Outlook Express, my new computer
says "Goodbye to O.E." Hello to Windows Live Messenger. I
don't know how to import all my e-mail addresses and the rest
of the information in my address book. Do you have any ideas?
Also, I can't seem to get Live Messenger going, so I'm going
to my provider's Web-based e-mail. It's very hard on me. Of
course, I also don't know how to import my huge recipe file
documents and more importantly my Picture files. It's making
me crazy going back and forth between computers. I would
really like to dismantle the old computer and just work from
the new one. Any and all tips would be much appreciated.

--Submitted by Kathie D.

Here are a couple of featured member answers to get you started, but please do read all the advice and suggestions that our members have contributed to this question.

Help moving to a new computer --Submitted by waytron

Moving to a new system ... --Submitted by Watzman

Thank you to all who contributed!

If you have any additional solution or some suggestion for Kathie, click on the reply link and submit it. Please be as detailed as possible when posting your answer. Thank you!
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XP files to Windows 7

Suggest the new Laplink product made for that purpose.

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open your contacts, then choose export.
by stalker6recon / March 26, 2010 12:30 PM PDT
In reply to: XP files to Windows 7

Open your contacts in windows XP, chose export, and save the file to your desktop. Then send an email to yourself, with that file attached, save to the new desktop. Then open your contacts in windows7, and chose import, then browse to the new file you have created on the desktop, you are finished.

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Moving an address list from an older computer to newer

I don't mean to preach but, having lost a lot, I printout my present listing and date it, so that you never lack for what it contains. All of that should be a part of your backup anyhow.

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Re: Help with moving files
by dotdoug / March 29, 2010 3:32 AM PDT

I too have lost a lot of information over the years. Only once was a computer tech able to retrieve it for me. I do print out my addresses and certain files that I would cry if I lost! Thank you for the timely reminder...I haven't done it lately.

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Configuring Messenger in W7.

Had the same problem,Automatic updates should have given the option to install Windows Live Essentials,if not then just type it into your search box,and you should see the download screen for this application,you can download all the options if you wish,messenger is part of the installation,and when installed you can set up your windows live email address.nd also use this to sign in to messenger.
And for lots more free downloads go to cnet.Whatever you do,don't get rid of XP,because after you have had W7 for a while you will see that it is far better than W7.

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Easy answer

So everyone helped you get a New Win 7 laptop running but no one's helping you move "your stuff" over to new mochine.

So bribe your son to git back over there and show you how to wirelessly transfer some of you files to your notebook like your recipes and "my documents" and pics and so on.

If you can't stand the bother of Winders Live mail, check out Firefox/Thunderbird, or some other NON MS solutions and AGAIN HAVE YOUR SON show you how to import your acct settings and perhaps even your past mail and folder structure from OE Express to whatever you decide to use.

I agree having to use webmail exclusively can really be a drag. Bribe that kid and get him back over for a Saturday at least to help you get that new rig fine tuned the way you want it.

Phil in La Habra, Ca

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Re: Easy Answer
by dotdoug / March 29, 2010 3:38 AM PDT
In reply to: Easy answer

I agree with you about getting him to do the file transfers for me...except he really isn't as smart as he thinks. He is also a little condescending...types too fast and zips over important steps so I'm a little off kilter. I really want to understand this process for my myself and to reach that loft goal I'm studying all the great replies I've gotten here. Amazing how generous people are with their time and knowledge. I have a good idea now of where I'm headed.
Thank you so much for responding.

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How to move your files from xp to win7

My suggestion would be tp get rid of win7!
I absolutely HATE win 7.... give me xp any day. It just lacks so many of the conveniences of xp.

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XP Pro versus W7
by terryblount / March 12, 2010 9:44 AM PST

You are right about W7, it's very pretty to look at,but it's like having a Rolls Royce with a VW engine,it's useless.

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XP Pro versus a virus
by UACudo / March 12, 2010 10:27 AM PST
In reply to: XP Pro versus W7

XP Pro was a pretty nifty OS back in the day. Today of course it's warts are growing warts.

The good news for the orignal poster is that moving your data from XP to Win7 is actually pretty easy. There is actually some data migration tools built directly into Windows 7. Depending on what you want to do that can be overkill. The question is what the exact data is you want to move. It can be as simple as moving a folder or a complex as moving many files and folders. Unfortunately that because XP has so many old and non-standard places to keep the data, unlike Windows 7 which has standardized many of these things.

Best advice, figure out what exactly you need to move and do a bit of research via Bing or Google and you are sure to find easy solutions. And get rid of that old XP beast as fast as you can. Its making everything you do so much more complicated than it needs to be.

People recommending you stick with XP are mostly technophobes who have gotten comfortable with the old tee-shirt with all of its holes and stains. I would ignore their hysterics.

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windows xp is the best . bring it back
by cboardwoman / March 27, 2010 12:10 AM PDT

i think i can speak freely on this..xp is the best operating program ever . the eu union was pissed that they couldn't come up with anything that rivaled xp. so bill gates lost and gave them windows7 is a downgrade to xp and you all should know that already. hope you never bought a comp with vista becuase it is now a paperweight.

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OE not on win 7

If you have OE on cd just reload. and export addresses to flash drive
and import after you load OE. Worked for me.

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Win 7
by MReed58 / March 12, 2010 12:13 PM PST
In reply to: OE not on win 7

Outlook Express is now called Windows Mail. Windows Live Mail is different.


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Actually... You're wrong.
by Wolfie2k5 / March 12, 2010 3:02 PM PST
In reply to: Win 7

Outlook Express is the email client shipped with versions of Windows/IE prior to and including XP. The program got a new name with Vista - Windows Mail. It was essentially the same app with a new name.

Windows 7, by default, does NOT come with Windows Mail/Outlook Express. You ARE however given the option to download Windows Live Mail - which is the latest version of the program. Win 7 does come with a "stub" portion of the program that can handle contacts.

Microsoft likely decoupled Windows Mail/Live Mail from the flagship product in order to head off any potential legal action (ala the Opera/European browser ballot thing) with Windows 7.

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Didn't know I could install OE on the new computer...
by dotdoug / April 1, 2010 2:49 AM PDT
In reply to: OE not on win 7

I was told (yes by the son that set up the new system) that I couldn't intall OE on the new computer. Something about different operating systems. Seems he was wrong...imagine! I got along really well with OE and miss it. I know it shows my age, but once I learn once system it's very difficult for me to switch. Thank you so much. I will be investigating this right away.

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PC Mover

The program Laplink PCmover should work to move programs from Windows/XP to Windows/7. It is available from many computer stores or on-line.

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Moving Files

Hi Kathie - I take the techno-ignorant method to transfer files from my desktop to my laptop. I use a pen drive, copy and transfer the files from one to another.
Time consuming but does have the advantage of having the program stored on the pen drive.

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Here is a direct link to Microsoft that helps you with transfering settings and files directly from the XP machine using Windows Easy Transfer.

I hope that helps,

As far as not being able to get Windows Live messanger and going to your Web Mail Provider - this is confusing because I don't undertand why you are mixing Live Messanger and Live mail.

However here is the link to Microsoft for Windows 7 HELP AND HOW TO'S.

Hope this helps you.

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A better idea than using Live Messenger

Install Mozilla Thunderbird and use Thunderbird as your mail program.

I've been playing with Live Messenger, and Thunderbird works better.

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Rocket Science
by msgale / March 12, 2010 12:21 PM PST

This is not rocket science. If both PCs are on the same network, share the folders via the network and "drag and drop" the files/folders between the machines

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Happy to help as much as possible.

First, what you want is Windows Live Mail, not Messenger. Messenger is a program primarily centered on instant messaging although it can retrieve mail if you have a windows live account (such as, etc.)

Install it at

When it opens, use the same settings as you would put into outlook express. (for comcast, use the same settings at

If your server does not require "secure password authentication" like comcast's, use "log on using clear text authentication". Otherwise everything should be exactly the same.

To export contacts in Outlook express, use:

To import the contact file, use this:

Just click on contacts on the left side and then hit alt to get to the file menu. From there you can import any kind of contact file you should need to. Note that you can do a similar process to transfer your messages into windows live mail.

Hope this helped. Enjoy your new computer!

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Moving address book to Win7 from Win Xp
by Charles C Chen / March 26, 2010 12:09 PM PDT

I use Safari as my browser because its by far faster than Explorer. My mail client is gmail. Safari in Win7 works just like in my Xp and Vista. So I have no address book problem.

My net book is Win7. I have yet to find out how to share files even though it shares my home network printer. I think I may have to buy a external DVD drive. At the time when I bought the net book, the external drive was not available.

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Moving to a new system ...

Migration is the "Gotcha!" of getting a new system.

This is a very complex topic and the answers are different for each category of thing that you want to move.

Moving things like pictures is easy. Just copy the files from the old computer to the new computer. But you have to understand enough about your disk drive organization and how Windows saves files to know where to find them on the old computer and where to put them on the new computer (if you don't ... get help from someone who does; there is no easy way around this). The actual movment is easy, you can use a network (both old and new computers running simultaneously, on the network and sharing files), or any kind of USB storage device (external hard drive, USB flash drive, etc.). To use a flash drive, copy the files from the old computer to the flash drive, take the flash drive to the new computer and copy them from the flash drive to the new computer (again, the real trick is knowing where to copy them from and to). Most photographs are stored as JPEG (.JPG) files. SUGGESTION: Burn your photos to a CD or DVD (sorry, you still have to know where they are), use the CD or DVD to move them to the new computer, but then keep the discs you made as a backup. Do not use "RW" (eraseable) media; use permanent, one-time media.

E-Mail: Personally, I think MS screwed up by not providing a native E-Mail client with Windows 7. One option: Try Thunderbird (free), install it on both the old and new computer. On the old computer, have it import everything from Outlook Express (which will remain installed and which can co-exist with Thunderbird). Then copy the "profile" from Thunderbird on the old computer to Thunderbird on the new computer (there are articles on how to work with Thunderbird profiles at, the authors of Thunderbird. But it's going to seem complex to non-technical users).

Another solution, better, I think, but not free, is to install full version outlook (not Outlook Express, but Outlook) on both computers, migrate your outlook express stuff into outlook on the XP computer, then copy the ".PST" file (one file which will have everything) onto outlook on the new computer. [This, too, is kind of complex; an "IT Guy" would know how to do it, but it's beyond most users.] However the real problem is that Outlook is expensive, it is part of Office and, unfortunately, it is not part of "Home" edition of office. The least expensive way to get it is to find a copy of the 2003 "Students and Teachers" edition of Office, which does have Outlook in it. But they are hard to find (try E-Bay).

As for your recepies, you will have to [re]install the program you were using on the new computer, then find and move the data files (may be easy, nearly impossible or anything in between).

There are some migration programs, most of which don't even claim to be able to move programs but which can sometimes or often move data between a program that is installed on BOTH computers. In that case, the answer is to install the same program(s) on both computers and let the migration programs move the data. Windows 7 itself comes with a migration program, Windows Easy Transfer. There is a tutorial here:

[Note: this tutorial is for an upgrade, not a migration. That is not what you are doing. But the concept is largely the same. Perform "Step 2" to move your "stuff" from the XP machine to some intermediate "media", and then step 4 to move the "stuff" from the intermediate media to the Windows 7 machine.]

Again, however, it only moves DATA; not programs. So the key is to install all of the relevant programs (that you already have on your XP machine, with the possible exception of Outlook (full version) or Thunderbird) on the Windows 7 machine first, then use this tool to move the data from XP to Windows 7. A ***FEW*** of the commercial programs claim to move programs themselves as well as data, however such claims should be taken with a large grain of salt. [The best such program, Eisenworld's oddly named "Aloha Bob's PC Relocator", was bought by Microsoft and is no longer available.]

I hope that this helps. This is a complex subject and I've only touched the surface of it. You might want to seek professional assistance to get things moved and configured on the Win7 machine as they were on the XP machine (it IS possible).

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List Files
by GJEyles / March 28, 2010 10:35 PM PDT

Thanks for the informative article, you stated a few times that knowing where the files are is key and I would agree with you.

My system over the years has mushroomed in size and I have multiple copies of files and multiple copies of directories and I really want to clear them up.

I have tried to find a way of printing a complete list of files by directory which may be huge but would at least enable me to see the organisation of my files currently and then to be able to devise a new hierarchical file structure in a logical fashion. Do you know how I could get a print of all files on my C: drive. It may be simple but I have struggled to achieve same previously when I have tried. I am a finance man with reasonable PC literacy but not an IT techie type.

Many thanks

Graham Eyles

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DOS soloution.
by Waseem Iftikhar / March 29, 2010 2:55 AM PDT
In reply to: List Files

Click on Start button.
Click on Run...
Run window will open. It may have "cmd" already typed.
If not then just type "cmd" and click "OK" button.
DOS window will display. If it is not at "C:" prompt then
Type in "c:" then press Enter.
Type in "CD c:\" then press Enter. (This is to ensure that you are at root directory.
Then type "dir /s >> myFiles.txt" and then press Enter.
The list of all the directories and files they contain will be generated and stored in the file named above as "myFiles.txt" no you can use any editor(Word etc) to open this file.

You may replace the file name "myFiles.txt" with any valid name of your choosing.

Good luck.

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Thunderbird Transfers
by ac0mputerguru / March 29, 2010 2:25 PM PDT

It's even EASIER to transfer items from one machine to another. Install Firefox and Thunderbird on both computers and have them import the MicroSoft data. Then, get MOZBACKUP ( ) and backup the old computer's Firefox and Thunderbird to a flash drive (or anything you are comfy using). Take the flash drive to the new machine and run MOZBACKUP on the new machine, restoring the old machine's Firefox and Thunderbird. This method worked FLAWLESSLY for me MANY times, and even captures bookmarks, site passwords/cookies, and forms information. So much so, that I have started putting it on EVERY machine I work on. You can also backup/restore your browser/email ANY time you want to with this programme, so I use it weekly to archive my "important things" onto a re-writable DVD :-D

I hope this helps!

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Thunderbird Transfer
by K9er / March 29, 2010 11:33 PM PDT
In reply to: Thunderbird Transfers

Forgive me for being numb today! I'm not a real teckie.
Install Firefox and Thunderbird on both computers and have them import the MicroSoft data.? How is this done? Please stet by step.

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Use old HD as an external

Since you're dismantling the old PC, install the old HD into an enclosure to convert it to an external HD. Plug it into the USB port and drag and drop folders and files at will. If Win7 offers a compatibility mode (I don't have 7 yet), you may be able to run OE in the XP compatibility mode. Otherwise you might like Eudora. But you will be able to import your address book into whatever e-mail client you choose.

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moving files to a new 'puter
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Help Move Files and contacts

Hi Katie,
I used many different methods to move my files from one computer to new one.
Regarding files like pictures, documents, etc. (not applications) the best metod is to use flash (thumb) drive. Four GB drive costs around $10. Insert it into USB connector, copy all you want, remove flash drive, insert it into USB of your new computer and copy to any place you want.
I think all your files would total less than 4 GB.
Contacts are different. There are many techical ways to copy your address book to new file/folder on old computer and transfer this file/folder to new machine, but I would recommend old good method: open your address book on the old machine and manually enter contact by contact into your new computer's address book. Boring and prone to errors, but simple and straitforward.

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