Move Files from Old (Non-Bootable) Laptop to New Laptop?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'Kapilarora' writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I own two laptops. One laptop is not booting (I.E.: I can't load Windows on it) and therefore, I can't access my files. The second laptop works fine, and I want to transfer all my data from the first laptop to the second laptop. How can I do this? "

My Response:

There are a number of ways to do this.

In short, my suggestion is to get the non-bootable laptop temporarily working (bootable), copy over all your files over to an external harddrive, then copy them back onto the other laptop.

This will surely be the fastest method as you won't have to take the laptop apart and copying files directly to another harddrive is always faster than backing up onto CD / DVD or over a network.

Moving Files from One Laptop to Another using Puppy Linux v4.31

  1. To get your non-bootable laptop in working order (temporarily), use your other laptop (or PC) to download a live distribution of Linux. My recommendation is Puppy Linux as it is very friendly to Windows users and it's easy to use. Download Puppy Linux 4.31 here (105 megabytes).
  2. Once Puppy Linux is downloaded (it will be in .ISO image format), burn it to CD using your favorite CD burning program. When finished, insert the CD into your non-bootable laptop and turn it on.
  3. Puppy Linux should boot up; follow the on-screen instructions. Once you're at the desktop, plug in your external harddrive and turn it on.
  4. Next, you'll need to mount your drives. Puppy likely won't recognize your C drive or the external harddrive automatically, hence you need to "mount" the drives manually. To do this, look at the lower left bottom of your screen and click Menu -> File System -> PMount ("Puppy Mount"). Using PMount, mount all the drives available listed in the PMount window. This _should_ mount your old laptop harddrive plus the external USB harddrive.
  5. Next, prepare to copy the files. Click Menu -> Utility -> PBackup. This will start Puppy Backup. To select your old laptop harddrive for file copy, go to the "source" heading of PBackup and click the Plus Button (+). Now, navigate to the MNT ("mount") folder and choose sdb1 or sdc, or similar -- one of these drives will be your old laptop drive. You can browse the contents of each drive to be sure which drive is which.
  6. Once you have the source folder selected for backup, look for the Destination heading and click the Plus Button (+). Once again, go to the MNT folder, and then choose your external harddrive.
  7. Finally, click the Backup button near the top left of PBackup. This will start the backup process.

Hope that helps.

Note that this method only copies files from one machine to the next: it will not "re-install" old programs on your new laptop. If you want to install a program on your new laptop, you will need to download / install the program using the proper Setup file (as you normally do when you download a program from the Internet, for example).

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