How to Transfer All Your Documents in Windows to a New Computer Using a Flash Drive

By Contributing Writer

Learning how to back up your files is a good idea, whether you want to transfer them to a new computer, or just as a safety measure. Anyone who has used a computer long enough knows the horror of losing important files, whether they're business-related or of a personal nature. The good news is that any type of file you have created on your personal computer can be transferred to another computer, hard drive or portable storage device, such as a flash drive.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 GB flash drive
  • Organized digitized files

Step 1

Locate all of the files you want to back up or transfer. This may take some time, depending on the organization of your system. If you are not sure where all of your files are saved, likely locations are either in your “My Documents” folder or within a file on your main hard drive.

Step 2

Choose a flash drive appropriate to the size of files you have. You can tell how big your files are by opening the location where your files are saved. For example, if your files are located in a sub-file that is in “My Documents”, open “My Documents” and then right-click on the file. Click on “Properties” and look for “Size.” That number will tell you the size of every element within the file.

Step 3

Insert your flash drive into one of your USB ports. If this is the first time the drive has been used, your computer will walk you through a series of steps to format the drive. Once formatted, your flash drive will appear within “My Computer” under a drive letter.

Step 4

Open your flash drive and your location with the files to be transferred. Select the files currently on your computer by holding down your “Alt” key to select multiple files. When finished, drag the files directly to your flash drive.

Step 5

Eject your flash drive by right-clicking on it and select Eject. Insert your flash drive into the USB port on your new computer. Open the flash drive within “My Computer.” You may now click and drag the files to the desired location on your new computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are having trouble locating your files on your hard drive, open a program you have used in the past, such as Word. Go to the File menu and select one of your recently opened files. Go to “File” and then “Save As” and make note of where the file is saved. You can repeat this process for as many programs as you use.
  • Some files are much larger than others, such as photographs and videos. If you have many of these files, you may need to purchase a flash drive with a great deal of space (2 GB or more).