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Windows 8 upgrade: how to migrate to Microsoft's new OS

Again, this is a good way of moving data, but you'll still need to reinstall programs.

Migrating to Windows 8

Your existing backup may offer an easy way of transferring your files and folders

Using disk-to-disk copy to move to Windows 8

If you've bought yourself a shiny new PC with Windows 8 pre-installed, then of course you'll want to move your files across from the old one.

You can use Windows Easy Transfer, or a backup as above, but if you're handy with a screwdriver then there's another way.

You can take the hard drive out of your old machine and connect it to the new one. External enclosures can be bought for a few pounds that allow you to plug the old hard drive in via a USB port.

You can then simply use Windows Explorer to drag the files you need across. Your programs will need to be reinstalled though.

A slightly different approach to this for people with a network is to use a NAS drive to save the data you want to keep so that it's accessible over the LAN. Whilst convenient, this method isn't really suitable for large volumes of material.

For those who want a lazy man's approach and don't mind spending a bit of money, PCmover from www.laplink.com will cost you £27.95 for the Home edition, and allows you to transfer not only files, but also your applications between machines.

Spend a bit more (£39.99) on a boxed Ultimate version and they even throw in a cable so that you can connect two PCs via their Ethernet ports to do a direct transfer.

Whilst it's not a cheap option, PCmover is attractive for its ease of use, particularly if you want to migrate applications from XP or Vista systems.

You can choose exactly what you want to transfer, then simply let the machine get on with it.

The Ultimate edition has the added bonus of a SafeErase program so that you can wipe the personal data from your old PC before disposing of it.

Migrating to Windows 8

PCmover is easy to use and can transfer applications from older Vista and XP systems

Upgrading Windows or moving to a new PC is never something to be undertaken lightly. Select the right tools for the job, though, and it needn't be as daunting a task as you might think.