Migrate to Windows 8 Using Windows Easy Transfer (WET)

Before you start

Objectives: Learn how to use the WET tool to migrate files and settings from the older computer to the computer running Windows 8.

Prerequisites: you should have a basic understanding about data migration methods.

Key terms: transfer, WET, files, computer, Windows, option, PC, tool, drive, password, run, simply

Running WET

In this example we will run the WET tool in Windows 8. This is simply to show you where to find WET in Windows 8. Of course, you will have to run the WET tool on other operating system first to collect data, and then run the WET tool in Windows 8 to import that data. We have a separate article in which we describe how to work with WET in Windows 7, and how to work with WET in Windows Vista.

To run the WET tool in Windows 8 we will simply search for it. To do that, first go to your Desktop, and then go to the upper right-hand corner with your mouse. A new menu with the Search option will appear, which we will select.

 1 Right Menu

Right Menu

Once we enter “Windows Easy Transfer” in the search box, we will see a Windows Easy Transfer option on the left side of the window. We will select it.

2 Search


From the WET welcome screen we can see that we can copy user accounts, e-mail, documents, music, etc. When we go to the next screen, we will have to choose the method of data transfer.

 3 Transfer Options

Transfer Options

The first option is the Easy Transfer Cable. This is a special USB cable. When using this cable with WET, one end of the cable is plugged in to the old computer, and the other end is plugged in to the newer computer running Windows 8. The second option is to transfer files directly over a network connection. The third option is to use a flash drive or an external hard disk. In this case, WET will create a special file containing all the collected files from the computer, which can then be imported on newer computer. For the purpose of this demo we will select the third option. When we do that we will have to tell WET which PC are we using now.

 4 Which PC

Which PC

At this point we basically have to decide if we are going to grab files from this PC, or if we want to put captured files to the new computer. In this case, let’s imagine that we want to grab files from this PC, so we’ll choose the “old PC” option. When we do that the system will scan all drives and check what can be transferred.

 5 Checking


Once the scan is finished, we will be able to choose what to transfer. In our case we will only transfer files related to our original user account. We won’t transfer shared files in this case. Notice that we can also click the Customize link to choose specific files for transfer. We can also click on the Advanced link to get into folders.

 7 Customize

What to Transfer

In the end, we end up with the total size of files to be transferred. Because our demo user account is brand new, the total size of all files that are to be transferred is less then 1 MB in this case. On the next screen we have an option to enter password to protect the saved Easy Transfer file. If we don’t want to use a password we can simply leave it blank.

 9 Password


When we click the Save, we will have to choose where to save the Easy Transfer file. Of course, at this point we would choose our USB flash drive or an external hard disk, but for the purpose of this demo we will simply save it to our C:\ partition. Notice that the default name of the file is “Items from old PC”.

 10 Save Location

Save Location

Once the save is complete, we will see a report of the exported file and it’s location. So, now we have our exported files which we need to move to another computer. We can simply run the WET tool on the new computer, and the only different thing now is to select the “This is my new PC” option in the WET tool. When we do that, it will ask us if the USB drive or external disk is already plugged in.

 11 USB Plugged in

External Drive or USB Flash Drive

We will click Yes here, and then select our exported file.

 12 Open File

Open File

If we set the password on the file, we have to enter it now.

 13 Password


On the next screen we can again customize what to transfer to the new computer.

 14 What to Transfer

What to Transfer

Once we click the Transfer button, we will have all files and settings from the old PC on our new PC running Windows 8.