How To Transfer Files From One Computer To Another

I was recently asked by a friend if I knew a way to move files from one computer to another. She recently bought a new laptop that she wanted to use on her daily commute. There are many different ways to transfer files from one computer to another. I’d like to introduce a handful of them in the coming paragraphs. Each method has its distinct advantages and disadvantages which I will mention as well. Lets get started:


You can email files to yourself. Just add them as attachments and make sure you retrieve the messages with an account on the second computer. This works best for small files, as messages have attachment storage limits which are usually around the 20-25 Megabyte mark.

File Hosting Sites

file hosting mediafire

File hosting services such as Mediafire can be used to upload and download files. Just upload the files first, send or copy the download link to the other computer and start the download.

Both methods above have the disadvantage that you have to upload the files first before you can download them, which means that you will waste bandwidth in the process.

Direct Connection

Another option, especially useful if both computers are connected to the same local area network. Install a program like Mouse Without Borders on both systems to transfer files via drag and drop between both computer systems.

This works if both computer systems are in the same network, and if both use the Windows operating system.

External Storage

You can also transfer files first to an external hard drive or USB thumb drive, or burn it on DVD or CD, to transfer the data from one computer to the other. Not all options may be available though. Netbooks for instance have often no optical drives which means that you cannot use burned CDs or DVDs for the process.

Remote Desktop Software

Another viable option is a remote desktop software like Teamviewer. While not as easy to install and configure as other solutions, it can be used for the purpose. While not really a remote desktop software, you could use a service like Dropbox to keep files in sync all the time, provided that the computers have an Internet connection.

Closing Words

If the files that you want to transfer are large in size, you should consider a direct transfer option if both PCs are in the same location, Remote Desktop Software or (S)ftp if they are not. For medium sized files, you could use USB thumb drives or DVDs.

Email is only an option for small files, like spreadsheets or Word documents that you need to transfer quickly.

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