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I'm buying a new laptop and still have lots of videos, pictures, pdfs, and code etc on my old laptop. At least 30-40 gb. What's the most effective way of transferring these?

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possible duplicate of What is the easiest way to connect two computers? – sleske Jun 18 '11 at 8:37
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Passport HDs are very cheap right now.

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External hard drive or network transfer via crossover cable. If the computer is already networked to a router in your house you could just set up file sharing on the old laptop and transfer from it to the new one.

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An external hard drive is the easiest way to transfer files. There are some settings to setup in Windows that can prevent the user from seeing the computers. – setatakahashi Jul 25 '09 at 23:39

I would just connect it up using a crossover cable, or via a switch to set up a quick and dirty internal network. Change the settings so that the new laptop can access files on the old one, and set the folders you want to share over the network. Then just download the data over.

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what do i need to setup a network? an ethernet cable? – Click Upvote Jul 25 '09 at 22:13
A crossover ethernet cable let you connect directly between the 2 computers. Or two normal ethernet cable to connect the two laptops via a network switch of some sort. After that, it's just settings on the OS (and switch). – KTC Jul 25 '09 at 22:18
If you use a crossover calble, Windows and Mac OS will setup temporary addresses for you if the IP configuration is on automatic (DHCP), so you don't even have to assign the IP address manually. Just type \\computer-name and you should see the file shares. – Jul 26 '11 at 19:05

If the time it would take to copy isn't an issue, then I'd put both laptops on a network and use SyncBack (it's free) to copy the files from one to the other. I don't what you have in terms of networking, but wirless is one route or has been suggested, a Cat-5e coverover cable will do. There's an example on the Microsoft site on how to configure Vista for it for example (you don't mention what OS you're using, I'm assuming Windows).

Alternatively you could buy an external USB drive and copy them onto the drive from the old drive, then from the drive onto the new laptop. That would be slightly quicker than network transfer.

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The transfer may be much faster using an external hard drive casing, especially if the new laptop PC has an e-SATA port (and the HD casing as well of course), than any solution involving an ethernet cable. Basically, external drives connected via e-SATA operate at the same speed they would in a internal setting. USB2 is much slower, but I've read USB3 was supposed to have similar performance to e-SATA (I'm not up-to-date on this).

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