Move files from old Windows PCs to new ones with free PCmover Express

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 1, 2015

While it is clear to tech savvy users how to best transfer files from an old computer to a new one, it is something that less tech savvy users often have problems with.

It is usually the case that you want to take some files with you when you buy a new computer or build one from scratch.

Maybe it is photos, programming projects, videos or documents. The question that comes to mind often is how; how do you get the files from the old system to the new?

There are multiple options for that that vary in how comfortable and time consuming they are. One easy option may be to connect both systems to the same computer network and move files this way.

Other options include using cloud storage, copying files to an external hard drive or even burning them to DVD.

Microsoft teamed up with Laplink to provide users with an easy to use program for that task.

PCmover Express has been designed to move files from old Windows systems, starting with Windows XP, to new devices running Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.

Note: Please note that you need to enter a valid email address during setup and register during the process. It is also interesting to note that the program runs well on Windows 8.1 and 10 systems.

The program walks you through the process using an on-screen wizard. It displays a checklist on start which highlights the process and things you should do prior to starting the transfer.

PCmover Express works by connecting both devices, the old and new PC, to the same network which can be wired or wireless.

Install the program on both devices and click on the next button on the source device (the old one with the data that you want to moved).

Select whether this is the old or new PC on the next screen to continue.


Select WiFi or Wired Network on the next screen. The two other options displayed on the page, Laplink Ethernet Cable or Laplink USB Cable require special cables that you need to purchase.

You are then prompted to run PCmover on the destination PC. There you need to register an account before you can proceed and select the PC name after selecting the desired connection method.

Information about files on the old PC are transferred to the new one which may take a moment depending on their quantity. The analysis checks all connected hard drives automatically and provides you with detailed options when it comes to which files are transferred and which are not.

The following options are provided:

  • User Account Selection: Select which user accounts you want to transfer to the new PC.
  • Drive Selections: Select drives you want to transfer to the new computer. This is done by adding drives as folders to a hard drive of the new computer.
  • File Filters: Use these to exclude file types from being transferred. You may want to block temporary files for instance.
  • Folder Filters: Block folders from being transferred.

PCmover Express does not warn you at this stage if destination drives have less free storage space than needed to transfer all data. This happens after the configuration stage which is not ideal considering that you may need to go back and make adjustments if source files exceed the free space on the destination PC.


PCmover Express is an easy to use program to transfer files from an old Windows PC to a new device running Windows 8.1 or 10. The program has a couple of usability issues that make the process less intuitive as it could be but overall it is an easy way to move files between PCs.

Move files from old Windows PCs to new ones with free PCmover Express
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Move files from old Windows PCs to new ones with free PCmover Express
Microsoft partnered up with Laplink to provide PC users with a free copy of PCmover Express to move files from an old Windows PC to a new one.

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  1. DaveBG said on September 3, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Today i had to move my old SSD to the new Samsung 850 Pro… DriveImage XML failed in raw mode. Several times it said it cannot lock the drive and after it could after 30 or so agonizing minutes the new drive was with wrong partition. The drive was 119GB and showed 59,9 like my old drive.
    Then i used the SD in the Samsung box and with the software transferred the data in less than 10 minutes and had the full capacity.

    1. Marco said on September 3, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      I only use Samsung SSDs on my PCs, and only used their proprietary HDD to SSD transfer tool, called Samung Data Migration which works perfectly.
      For those who need to move to a Samsung SSD, this is the link to the software download:

  2. Declan said on September 2, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    My questions would be, “is this just for files and folders residing in the My Documents folder? or is this for full programs and applications, including all the files, folders and registry entries scattered across multiple locations on the HDD?”

    1. Marco said on September 2, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      Have you checked the URL provided in the article? I mean this one:

      Ir clearly states “The free data transfer will not migrate your apps.”

      1. Black SUri said on September 9, 2015 at 4:55 pm

        I just came across this on, and Luke DeSmith gives a succinct explanation of the difference between programs and apps:

        an “app” is a small or stripped down executable designed to run on low end hardware, like phones and tablets, which are incapable of running full fledged “programs”. For example the “program” PhotoShop CC will not run on an iPad, but the “app” PhotoShop Express will. A powerful OS like windows 8.1 or 10 can run both.

      2. Tycho said on September 7, 2015 at 4:09 pm

        It won’t transfer apps or settings, for that you would need a paid tool.

        See tutorial here:

      3. Marco said on September 3, 2015 at 4:40 pm

        @Black Suri
        ‘App’ or ‘application’ nowadays just means software program. In consumer-oriented communication they tend not to make distinction. I know this is sad, for me anything I install on my Windows PC (I never use the Metro/Modern interface) is a ‘program’. But most (younger) users just call them apps…

        I never said Declan’s question was not a valid one. I just pointed out to him that by visiting the link Martin provided you could easily gather that what Microsoft is offering freely, and for a limited time only, is just a basic version of the program that does not move programs. In order to do that you need to buy the paid version.

      4. Black Suri said on September 2, 2015 at 6:37 pm

        You wrote, “Ir clearly states ‘The free data transfer will not migrate your apps.'”

        Declan’s question was a valid one. He asked, “or is this for full programs and applications”. The real question to your answer might be, what is an application? The first screenshot says “If you want to transfer applications from your old PC to your new PC, upgrade from PCmover Express to PCmover Professional.” (If “applications” are programs from the Windows Store, then I’m not interested.)

        However, like Declan, I would like to know if this actually transfers programs, or merely copies them. Does it transfer registry entries? Both computers need to be physically connected to each other, either directly or over a network. Once that is done, I don’t need PCmover Express to copy programs from one computer to another — I can simply drag and drop. However, because registry entries and hidden files aren’t copied with them, those programs will be on the new computer, but they won’t run.

        So, like Declan, I too would like to know what is included with a PCmover Express transfer.

      5. Martin Brinkmann said on September 2, 2015 at 6:48 pm

        The free version only transfers files and folders but not programs you have installed. It does well for portable applications but won’t move installed software from the old to the new so that you can use them without re-installation.

  3. jasray said on September 2, 2015 at 1:41 am

    And this would take the place of Easy Transfer which works well on Windows XP – 8.1?

    Nice to have a choice.


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