Backing Up or Transferring Data between Computers

There are many different ways to move your files from one computer to another, whether it is for re-imaging your current computer or upgrading to a new one.

  1. Use an external hard drive. Drag and drop folders/files from your computer to the external drive
  2. Use an external hard drive. Use Windows File History or a Mac's Time Machine to backup files to your external device.
  3. Use an external hard drive. Use the backup software that comes with the external drive. See provided documentation or find it online.
  4. Use a cloud backup service. Use a commercial backup cloud service of your choice. Follow the service's instructions.
  5. Use your Google Drive*. Using either Google Backup or Google Drive for Desktop.

Whichever method you choose, test your backup if possible. Connect your external drive or Google/Cloud drive to a different or new computer to see if it will work before deleting the data on your old system. If need assistance, feel free to stop by or call the Helpdesk at 227-2468.

Note: Using 2, 3 or 4 are the recommended ways to have a secure backup in situations other than just transferring files. In addition, it is preferrable to have two of these 5 methods in place in case one fails. For more information on forming your backup strategy, see the following article: How to Backup Your Computer


*Having a copy of your files synced on both your computer and Google Drive, will allow you to recover or use your files from another computer/device in case you no longer have access to the original computer due to damage or loss. This also works well when re-imaging your computer or switching to a new one. However, it does not provide a backup in the case you accidentally erase a file and the drive has synced (it will be deleted on Google's cloud drive as well). Similarly if the file gets corrupted, it most likely will be corrupted in the synced version. And finally if your files are encrypted due to ransomware on your computer, the encrypted files will most likely get synced up to the Google drive as well if your pc has an internet connection during/after the ransomware attack. Therefore we recommend you also use a backup drive with its provided backup software, built in system software or a third-party backup solution since those backups are usually meant to cover any of the above issues.

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