Transfer files between Laptops?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Aimee P. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I would like to transfer some photos from my work laptop to my personal laptop. What is the easiest way to do this? Is there some cord I can buy that can connect the two laptops which will enable me to transfer the photos quickly? The work laptop is a Toshiba Satellite Pro Pentium 4 on Windows XP. My personal laptop is an old Compaq on Windows 2000. Any advice is appreciated! "

My response:

There are a number of ways you can transfer your photos [or any other file type, for that matter] from one laptop to another. My answer is in no way an exhaustive list, but will help to guide you in making an educated decision (especially in terms of transferring multiple, large files).

In order of preference:

1. Burn the files to CD or DVD: this is probably the cheapest, quickest, and most convenient method. However, this method will only work if:

a) your work computer has a CD or DVD burner and your home computer has a CD or DVD drive to read the disc

b) the work computer has a CD or DVD burner program installed on it

c) you know how to burn a CD or DVD

2. Copy the files to a USB memory drive (also known as a "flash drive"): this device acts much like a hard drive and plugs into the USB port of your laptop (note: both laptops must have a USB port; most do). Memory drives can store much more information than a floppy disk and are also considerably faster. In your particular case, Windows 2000 (and especially XP) should have no problems detecting the memory drive without having to install a driver. I've seen 128 megabyte memory drives advertised for $25 on eBay recently.

3. Transfer the files over a network: this will require a bit of technical know-how to setup, but is good practice and will save you time because you won't need an intermediate medium (such as a memory drive or CD recordable) to transfer your files. There are a number of ways to go about doing this:

a) from wireless laptop to wireless laptop using a wireless router as a "bridge" between the two machines: if you have a network already setup at home, adding on 1 more computer to the network should be breeze. If you have little or no experience with a home network, you can refer to the article on Sharing Files and Folders using Windows XP for some tips.

b) from wireless laptop to wireless laptop without using a wireless router in-between: this type of connection is called an "ad-hoc connection" and has been discussed in our newsletter before (see: Connect 2 Wireless PCs with no Router).

c) from laptop to laptop using a cross-over Ethernet [wired] connection: no router or hub is required; a 6 foot crossover cable will cost around $10 or less. This is a very efficient connection and supported by almost 99.99% of all laptops, supported by all versions of Windows, and the cable is small enough to carry with you anywhere [click for picture of a crossover Ethernet cable].

d) from laptop to laptop using a standard Ethernet connection (connected to a hub or router). Similar to above, but a different cable altogether (and using a router or hub as an information bridge between the machines).

In any of the above networking cases, you will need to set up your network by enabling file printer and sharing on both machines, and define the folders you want to share. Refer to the below guide for more general information:

Share Files and Folders using Windows XP

Hope that helps ;-)

Rate this article: 
No votes yet