Best data migration tool of 2024

The best data migration tools manage backing up data across hard disk (HDDs) or solid state drives (SSDs). Some of them support passive, periodic synchronisation, so you can set up a recurring task or process, and then forget about it.

Such tools will if you've bought a new business laptop and want to transfer all of the data from your old one to the new one, or you've want to make a backup to a new external hard drive.

It's July 2024, so even if you're not expecting data disruption or a brand new purchase this year, Spring sales are a great time to start planning ahead. World Backup Day 2024 and its deals have been and gone, but its message about the importance of data backup and migration is eternal.

From shrinking HDDs to fit on SSDs to cloning and transferring operating systems wholesale, data migration tools can achieve the goal of removing the need to set up an entire machine again in different ways.

The best way to find the data migration software for you is to break them down: compare the features you absolutely need with those offered by each data migration tool. As with anything, don't pay over the odds for 

Note that we'll only be exploring apps and services that migrate data in this list – we won't be including any of the best cloud backup software solutions that lack data migration functionality, nor will we be covering solutions that only clone disks to a file without actually migrating the data.

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We've also listed the best data recovery software.

The best data migration tools of 2024 in full:

Best overall

(Image credit: Acronis)
Data migration while you work

Reasons to buy

Replicate folders in cloud
Mac compatible
Free product upgrades

Reasons to avoid

Multi-machine licences cost extra
Automatic backups locked behind intermediate 'Advanced' price tier

Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office, formerly known as Acronis True Image, 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, the software offers Active Disk Learning, a feature that 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 to another disk as easy as it gets - from configuration files all the way up to an entire operating system - which we love.

What we liked less is that licencing additional machines will cost extra, regardless of the price tier that you opt for. Additional security features, such as automatic backups, malware and identity theft protection, plus cloud backup, are also locked behind additional pricing tiers.

We've previously spotted limited time offers offering 50% off all plans, so Acronis is absolutely one to watch.

Read our full Acronis Cyber Protect review.

Best for partitions

(Image credit: Minitool)
Data migration with partition support

Reasons to buy

Migrate partitions
Wide disk format support
Check and align systems

Reasons to avoid

Pro version is expensive
Upgrade model is byzantine
Middling legacy support

Used by tens of millions of people, MiniTool Partition Wizard mainly offers partition-related support. 

Minitool Partition Wizard 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.  

Unfortunately, the oldest version of Windows that it will actually run on is 7. Even that is arguably ancient at this point, but true legacy support would be appreciated.

Functionality of the free version is basic. For example, a Migrate OS to SSD function, sure to optimise performance as you'll no longer be dependent on a mechanical drive, will require, at minimum, a $59 annual Pro subscription, or a $159 Pro version offering 'lifetime upgrades, data recovery, and a 5 PC licence'.

On the face of it, this sounds fair, and free software serving as an ad for a paid upgrade, or shareware, is nothing new. 

However, MiniTool partition wizard takes pricing tiers to a new level, offering, on top of the Pro version, a Pro Premium subscription, on top of Pro Platinum and Enterprise subscriptions, on top of Pro Ultimate, Server and Technician lifetime licences.  Good grief.

While these plans are largely constant in terms of feature sets, the rub here is the amount of licences provided, and whether free upgrades to the software are included. We highly recommend consulting Minitool's own comparison spreadsheet (!) to check which plan meets your needs.

Read our full MiniTool Partition Wizard review.

Best for app transfer

(Image credit: Laplink)
Highly recommended data migration tool

Reasons to buy

Recommended by Microsoft and Intel
Simple to use
One-off purchase

Reasons to avoid

Customer support only available with a paid licence

The only data migration tool recommended by Microsoft and Intel, companies that happen to have 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; though that's only once you've bought a software license. 

Alternatively, you can opt to be shipped a physical copy of PCmover - very much a rarity these days - that includes a high-speed transfer cable and additional free SafeErase software.

What we really loved about this software is its cost: a one off payment of around $60 / £55 / AU$90: that's also a rare proposition in the era of software-as-a-service (SaaS).

Best advanced

(Image credit: Paragon)
The best option for advanced data migration and management

Reasons to buy

Resize partitions
Virtually clone to a USB drive 
One off purchase

Reasons to avoid

Relatively expensive
Business use requires a separate licence that only covers a single machine
No free edition as of 2024

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.

It may not be the best option for everyday users, but software from a respected developer that simply does it all (albeit at a fairly pricey but one-off fee of $79.95 for the Home version) sounds pretty great on our end.

Do note, however, that for business use , you'll need another version of the software called 'Business Workstation'. Licences for it only cover one computer instead of the Home version's three, while being priced at $99.

Read our full Paragon Hard Disk Manager review.

Best one-click solution

(Image credit: EaseUS)
A versatile data backup and migration tool

Reasons to buy

One-click solution
Supports common applications
Pro software pricing is simple to understand

Reasons to avoid

Free version is very limited and you are essentially pushed into the Pro option
EaseUS use temporary flash deals on their website

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

As always, the free version is essentially an advertisement for the 'Pro' version. The free version only allows for migration of 2GB of data and 5 programs: practically nothing in this day and age. Thankfully, however, Todo PCTrans has a fairly simple price-tier model that doesn't carve up features or licence terms. 

There's a monthly plan ($49.95), a yearly plan ($59.95) and a lifetime purchase option ($69.95). All purchases are for one license that covers two machines, and purport to offer the same feature sets and access to live chat / email support. 

We think that's very fair, especially compared to some of the other data migration products we've reviewed, and even those we recommend.

What we like less is that EaseUS hide temporary flash deals for their software within their website. Not only is this an intrusive practice that plays on a user's fear of missing out, but it makes it hard to recommend buying the software at the given price.

By just sticking around on the website for a while, you can get a far better deal, which sticks in our craw a bit. For example, we spotted a 1-month plan for $39.95, or $59.95 for a lifetime purchase.

Read our full EaseUS Todo PCTrans Professional review.

Also consider these data migration tools

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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.

We've also listed the best data loss prevention services.


Which data migration tool is best for you?

When deciding which data migration tool to download and use, first consider what your actual needs are, as sometimes free and budget software may only provide basic options, so if you need to use advanced tools you may find a paid platform is much more worthwhile. Additionally, higher-end software can really cater for every need, so do ensure you have a good idea of which features you think you may require from your data migration tool.

How we tested the best data migration tools

To test for the best data migration tools we first set up an account with the relevant software platform. We then tested the service to see how the software could be used with different files and folders, from different devices, in different situations. The aim was to push each data migration platform to see how useful its basic tools were and also how easy it was to get to grips with any more advanced tools.

Read how we test, rate, and review products on TechRadar.

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Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.