The best data migration tools make it simple and easy to transfer your data from one computer to another. This is especially the case when you need to transfer not just documents and photos but also file programs and other software as well.
This might be because you've just bought a new PC and want to transfer all of the data from your old one to the new one. Or, you might simply need to port your data from a laptop to a home computer.
However, the process of data migration can be 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 move all your files and folders from one computer to another can be scary, and that's before considering moving settings or applications, all with the threat of loss if anything goes wrong.
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 of the best 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.
Below we list what we think are the best data migration software tools currently available.
We've also listed the best data recovery software.
The best data migration tools of 2023 in full:
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Reasons to buy
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, 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.
Prices start at around $50 / £45 / AU$75 per year for one computer.
Read our full Acronis Cyber Protect review.
Reasons to buy
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.
Read our full MiniTool Partition Wizard review.
3. Laplink PCmover
Reasons to buy
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.
The cost for this software is a one off payment of around $60 / £55 / AU$90.
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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.
This software is little more expensive at around $80 / £70 / AU$120.
Read our full Paragon Hard Disk Manager review.
Reasons to buy
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.
Read our full EaseUS Todo PCTrans Professional review.
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.
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.
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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.