It’s easy to copy your precious information to a new PC, using a home network
If you’ve got a broadband internet connection at home then you’ve got pretty much all you need to set up a home network.
The first step is simply to connect both computers to your broadband router. The easiest way to do this is with a wireless network connection, but if your old PC doesn’t have wireless features then you can connect it to the router using an Ethernet cable (costing a couple of pounds), which is usually faster, too.
Most PCs sold in the past 10 years or so will have an Ethernet network port already built in, so this option should work for most people.
Although your two computers are now connected to your router and can access the internet, they can’t yet talk to each other and share files, so we need to give them a little help.
Let’s start with an old Toshiba laptop that is still running Windows 8. Click on the main Start Menu, then select Control Panel.
When the Control Panel opens up, double-click on the Network Setup Wizard and follow the instructions to set up your network. The most important thing is to make sure you turn on the options for ‘File And Printer Sharing’.
Now we’ll switch over to a new Dell PC that is running Windows 10
Let’s open the Control Panel on this machine too, select ‘Network And Internet’, followed by ‘Network And Sharing Centre’. Windows 10 is smarter than Windows 8 or Vista, so it has already detected that it’s connected to a network.
But just to make sure everything is set up correctly we’ll select ‘Change Advanced Sharing Settings’ in the Sharing Centre.
Now just double-check that the ‘Network Discovery’ option is turned on, along with the ‘File Sharing’ and ‘Public Folder Sharing’ options too.
After adjusting these settings it’s a good idea to restart both machines.
If we open Windows Explorer on the new Dell PC and click on the ‘Network’ icon on the left-hand panel we can see that the Dell machine and the old Toshiba machine are both now connected to the network (along with our BT Homehub router).
All we have to do now is locate the various files that we need on the Toshiba laptop and then copy them across to their new home on this Dell machine.
If you click on the little arrow by the name of the Toshiba laptop at the left of the screen, you can get a view of all the folders on it that we have access to.
The Network Setup Wizard that we ran earlier provides access to the folders for My Music, My Pictures and My Videos – and you can even view individual files to make sure you’ve got the right file.
All you have to do now is use your mouse to copy these files and folders from the old Toshiba across to the corresponding Music, Pictures, and Video folders on the new Dell machine.
We can provide access to other folders as well. There’s a folder on our old Toshiba laptop called ‘My Work Files’. To make that folder available to the new Dell machine use the mouse to right-click on the folder and select the ‘Sharing And Security’ option from the pop-up menu.
This opens the Sharing dialogue box. Tick the option marked ‘Share this folder on the network’ and the folder and the files within it will be available on the network, so that they can be copied to the new PC too.