Transferring data from one PC to another can be easy, quick


January 03, 2002|By James Coates | James Coates,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

My question deals with moving data from an old PC to a new one running Windows XP. I have purchased a new IBM NetVista A21 and would like to transfer some of the data from my old Gateway (100 mHz) with Windows 95.

Because you are upgrading about as far as one can do it (95 all the way up to XP), you've got plenty of options, and none of them are going to be all that pleasant. First a word to readers with not as far to go: If your computer is running Windows 98 or ME and has a CD-recorder drive, you simply can burn a CD with all of your data on the old machine and transfer it to the new one.

If you lack a CD-recorder, read on:

The two best ways to move data from older computers to newer ones are either to connect the machines via serial cables or to acquire something like one of Iomega's Zip drives, capable of holding 100 or 250 megabytes of data on individual super discs.

Iomega's Web site ( capitalizes on the exodus to XP by offering Iomega "moving kits" that amount to slight discounts on a variety of ZIP drives.

In the case of Windows 95 clunkers, you will need a $150 parallel port drive to connect to your PC, while those with machines using newer USB ports can get by with Zip drives costing $100 and under.

I bought a 250 MB USB drive the other day for $70 at a discount store because I have a lot of Zip disks, and my own parallel drive had worn out.

Iomega's Web site offers free downloadable software to help with data backups, but I wouldn't mess with it because it requires tinkering with the XP settings on your new computer in ways I don't like.

It's easier for anybody who has used a machine as long as you have to just copy the data from the old machine onto disks and then move them to the new one.

I favor using the Iomega route because at least you will have a device that you can use for other things afterward. It also is possible to move files between two computers using software products like PC Synch from Laplink for $80 (

This system worked great in my tests using the included serial cable and is a bit less bother for those with huge amounts of data because you don't need to change Zip disks.

However, with each Zip disk holding 250 MB, it's unlikely somebody with a Windows 95 machine is going to use more than two or three disks.

James Coates is a writer for The Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper. He can be reached at

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.