When migrating data from one location to another, you don't want to take any chances. 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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Best data migration software tools - at a glance
- Windows 10 Migration Accelerator
- Acronis True Image
- Minitool Partition Wizard Free
- Laplink PCmover
- Samsung Data Migration Tool
- AOMEI Backupper Standard
- EaseUS Todo Backup/PC Trans Free
- Paragon Drive Copy Professional
- Samsung Smart Switch
Data migration for moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10
Microsoft officially pulled support for Windows 7 at the start of the year, prompting businesses to upgrade to Windows 10. 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.
Retain personalization during data migration
If you're looking to transfer all of your programs, documents, music, pictures, emails and more to a new computer, Zinstall has your back. 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.
A standard license for transferring files from one machine to the other will set you back $119, or you can opt for the Migration Pro kit for $169 which supports transferring data from broken computers, transferring to SSD drives, and transferring data without a network connection.
Data migration 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.
Data migration with partition support
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.
Highly recommended data migration tool
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 for $59.95, obviously. Alternatively, you can opt to be shipped a physical copy that includes a high-speed transfer cable and free SafeErase software.
Samsung's data migration tool
If a data migration tool is ever offered by a particular vendor for the hardware that you own, it's better to go with it than use a third-party solution. Samsung Data Migration is the company's tool for transferring files and programmes from a HDD or SSD to a new Samsung Drive.
The software - which is available for consumer, rather than enterprise SSDs - is designed to help users quickly, easily and safely migrate all data including the current OS, application software and user data. It's extremely quick to set up and is capable of storage trickery that makes it possible to transfer data from larger capacity disks to smaller SSDs.
Data migration and sync
This freeware tool backs up software, making it easy to transfer to a desktop PC or laptop. AOMEI Backupper Standard, which is also offered as a free version with reduced functionality, 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; scheduled backups or syncs; and an automatic file sync feature that lets you schedule files to automatically sync from one location to another.
A versatile data backup and migration tool
EaseUS's PC Trans 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.
Fast data migration
An affordable data migration solution, Paragon Drive Copy Professional now supports Windows 10 and claims to perform any migration no matter the source or target. It supports fast data migration to new hardware and virtual machines without the need to re-install operating systems, and it can also migrate data to hard disks with different sector sizes.
It ships with full support for major virtual machines and now comes with Recovery Media Builder 3.0, a tool for creating a bootable recovery medium in just a few clicks.
Data migration for Android devices
A free app for Android users, Samsung Smart Switch is the best data migration solution in 2020 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.
It supports many file types including contacts, calendars, messages, pictures, videos, call logs, memos, alarms, wallpapers and documents. And, if you own a Galaxy device, it will also transfer your app data and home layouts.