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Best data migration tools of 2021

Best data migration tools
(Image credit: Pixabay)
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VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best data migration tools make it simple and easy to manage data migration across different systems, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

The best data migration software tools

Data migration can seem intimidating if you haven't done it before. It doesn't matter if you're a business user or a home user, the idea of trying to migrate all your files and folders from one computer to another can appear scary, let alone settings or applications, with the threat of data loss if it goes wrong in any way.

However, whether you're migrating data for security or backup purposes, or are upgrading to the latest version of an operating system, you'll want to pick the best data migration tool for the job.

Different software suites perform data migration in different ways – from shrinking hard drives to fit on speedy SSD drives to cloning and transferring operating systems wholesale, removing the need for applications to be re-installed. The answer is to check out what features each solution offers, and see which one will best meet your needs.

Note that we'll only be exploring apps and services that migrate data in this list – we won't be including any cloud backup software that lacks data migration functionality, nor will we be covering solutions that will only help you clone a disk without migrating data.

Here then are the best data migration software tools.

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(Image credit: Acronis)

1. Acronis True Image

Data migration while you work

Reasons to buy
+Replicate folders in cloud+Mac compatible+Migrate while you work

True Image by Acronis is a software suite that will do everything from backing up folders and files to replicating local backups in the cloud. 

When it comes to data migration, it offers a feature called Active Disk Learning which creates an exact replica of a Windows or Mac system while the operating system is in use, removing the need to stop what you are doing and reboot the machine in order to migrate data. 

This makes transferring your digital life - from the OS to its files, applications, and settings - to another disk a cinch.

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(Image credit: Minitool)

2. Minitool Partition Wizard Free

Data migration with partition support

Reasons to buy
+Migrate partitions+Wide disk format support+Check and align systems

Used by tens of millions of people, MiniTool Partition Wizard mainly offers partition-related support. However, it's also a security-conscious software suite that sports a Migrate OS to SSD function that optimizes Windows 10's performance by migrating a system from a hard disk to an SSD. 

It supports migrating data from every version of Windows starting with XP, with supported file systems including FAT 12/16/32, exFAT, NTSF and Ext2/3/4. 

Other features include the ability to manage disks and partitions, check file systems, align SSD partitions, migrate operating systems to SSDs, and much more.

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(Image credit: Laplink)

Highly recommended data migration tool

Reasons to buy
+Recommended by Microsoft and Intel+Simple to use+Transfer all settings

The only data migration tool recommended by Microsoft and Intel, which collaborated on the software, Laplink PCmover makes it easy to transfer apps, files and settings between two PCs. Designed with ease of use in mind, simply install the software on both PCs, click a few buttons, and everything will transfer across in a matter of hours. 

If you get stuck, you can connect with one of Laplink's PC migration experts, who are available 24 hours a day, for help; that's once you've bought a software license. Alternatively, you can opt to be shipped a physical copy that includes a high-speed transfer cable and free SafeErase software.

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(Image credit: EaseUS)

4. EaseUS Todo PCTrans Free

A versatile data backup and migration tool

Reasons to buy
+One-click solution+Supports common applications+Backup/transfer/clone

EaseUS's PCTrans Free software offers a one-click solution to automatically migrate files from one computer to another without data loss. It supports common applications including Microsoft Office; Photoshop; Adobe software; QuickBooks; Google Chrome; Firefox and more. 

The company also offers Todo Backup, which comes with a tool called Migrate OS to SSD/HDD that lets you copy a system drive to an SSD or HDD; alternatively, it can clone an HDD to an SSD without requiring windows to be installed.

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(Image credit: Paragon )

5. Paragon Drive Copy Professional

Advanced data migration and amanagement

Reasons to buy
+Resize partitions+Virtually clone to a USB drive 
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively expensive

Paragon Hard Disk Manager covers the full range of disk duties, including disk cloning of the entire drive, and advanced activities such as cloning by the partition, and can even resize the partition while copying it, or copy a hard drive to another with a dissimilar sector size.

It also features some cool, additional features, such as being able to create a virtual clone of your PC to a USB drive, that can then run portably from another PC, or creating recovery media to be able to boot a non bootable PC with the included Recovery Media Builder.  

Also consider these data migration tools

A free app for Android users, Samsung Smart Switch is the best data migration solution for transferring data between smartphones that are running Google's mobile OS. It's cross-platform, so it doesn't matter which Android device you own, and you have the option of transferring data wirelessly or with the use of a USB cable. 

Windows 10 Accelerator from Ivanti will prove a huge time-saver for those that deploy anywhere up to thousands of machines. The software takes a snapshot of user profiles and local files from older Windows installations to port them across to a modern ones. Everything is maintained - from personalization choices such as desktop wallpaper to applications, to folder and file structures - meaning users can continue exactly where they left off.

Zinstall will help you to transfer all of your programs, documents, music, pictures, emails and more to a new computer. Compatible with every combination of Windows version ranging from XP to Windows 10, Zinstall is designed with simplicity in mind. Once your old and new machines are connected to the internet, simply run it, choose what you want to transfer, and the application does the rest.  

AOMEI Backupper Standard makes it easy to transfer to a desktop PC or laptop, and is offered as a free version with reduced functionality. It lets you clone a smaller hard disk drive to a larger HDD for a disk upgrade, or you can clone a HDD to an SSD for better performance. Its other features include the choice of backing up entire HDDs, SSDs or specified partitions as duplications.

Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology in a career spanning four decades. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.