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How to transfer files from one PC to another PC

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Transfer files with a USB flash memory drive or external hard drive

USB flash memory drives — also known as memory keys and memory sticks — can copy a few files or an enormous amount of data, depending upon the capacity of the drive.

But in general, this technique is a good option when you have just a few files to transfer.

1. Insert the flash drive in an available USB slot on your computer.

2. Open a File Explorer window and find the entry for the flash drive in the pane on the left.

3. If you need to delete everything on the drive to make room for the new files, right-click the drive and choose “Format…,” then click “Start.” Alternately, you could just select and delete unwanted files from the flash drive.

4. Drag the files you want to copy onto the folder for the drive.

5. When you’re done, remove the flash drive and insert it in a USB slot on the other PC.

6. Open a File Explorer window and copy the files to the new PC by selecting and dragging them into another folder.

If you need to copy a very large number of files, you can use an external hard drive instead.

External hard drives come in large capacities (1TB or more) and are generally very compact and portable. They plug into your PC’s USB port and you can use the exact same process to copy files with a hard drive as you used for a USB flash drive.

Transfer files with OneDrive, Dropbox, or other cloud storage systems

Cloud storage has made it simple to copy files between PCs without needing any intermediate drives, cables, or other hardware.

You can get a few gigabytes of online storage with a free OneDrive or Dropbox account, or a much larger capacity with a paid subscription. If you have a subscription to Microsoft Office 365, for example, it comes with 1TB of OneDrive storage. Google Drive starts with 15GB.

1. In a File Explorer window, click your OneDrive or Dropbox location in which you want to store the files for transfer.

2. Drag the files you want to transfer from your computer into the folder.

3. On the other computer, install the OneDrive or Dropbox software and log into the same account.

4. After it has had a chance to sync and copy files, open the cloud storage folder in File Explorer and copy the files to the new location on your new PC’s hard drive.

Transfer files with a transfer cable

While it may seem like something of a throwback, a file transfer cable is still a solid way to move files between two PCs if the computers are in close proximity to one another (for example, you can position them on the same desk or table).

The Plugable Transfer Cable is a reliable and affordable option and works with virtually every version of Windows still found in the world, from Windows XP through Windows 10.

To use it, you connect the cable to both PCs via USB ports and use the included transfer software to select files and folders to move from one computer to the other.

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