How to use Windows Easy Transfer to migrate your personal files to Windows 8 Release Preview

If I am using Windows 8 Consumer Preview and would like to upgrade to the Release Preview, the Setup program does not give me an option to keep my personal files, settings, or user accounts.  I can only do a clean install of Windows 8 Release Preview.


Can I use Windows Easy Transfer to transfer my existing files and settings to Windows 8 Release Preview?

Using Windows Easy Transfer to move Windows 8 settings or apps settings from the Consumer Preview to the Release Preview may cause the Release Preview to not function properly.


While it is possible to transfer your personal files from Windows 8 Consumer Preview to Windows 8 Release Preview using Windows Easy Transfer, we do not recommend using Windows Easy Transfer to also move your settings.   If you do chose to use Windows Easy Transfer to transfer your personal files, it is very important that you follow these steps precisely so that you do NOT also transfer any Windows settings or apps settings.


It should also be noted that Windows Easy Transfer will not move your apps – they will need to be reinstalled after installing Windows 8 Release Preview.


To move your personal files to Windows 8 Release Preview:

Step 1:  Save your files prior to installing Windows 8 Release Preview

  1. Obtain a USB drive or external hard disk and connect it to your system.  Windows Easy Transfer creates a single file containing your files and settings.  The file could be quite large depending on the amount of data you have, so we recommend using an external hard disk.
  2. From the Start Screen, type Windows Easy Transfer.  Tap or click on Windows Easy Transfer to start the program.
  3. Tap or click Next.
  4. Select An external hard disk or USB flash drive.
  5. Select This is my old PC.
  6. After Windows Easy Transfer scans the user accounts, clear the check boxes next to any user accounts that you don’t want to transfer data from.
  7. IMPORTANT:  For each user account that is still selected (including “Shared Items”), tap or click on Customize and uncheck both Windows Settings and App Settings (if it appears in the list).  Failure to deselect these settings may cause Windows 8 Release Preview to fail to function properly after transferring the settings.
    Note:  Windows Easy Transfer will prompt you to decrypt any encrypted files chosen for migration.  This will prevent any permanent data loss of encrypted files.
  8. After you have cleared all of the necessary check boxes, tap or click Next.
  9. Enter and retype a password, and then write it down and keep it in a safe place; or leave the boxes black, and then tap or click Save.
  10. Browse to the external hard disk or other storage device where you want to save your Easy Transfer file, and then tap or click Save
    Warning:  Make sure you are saving the file to the external hard disk or USB flash drive, and not to the default location of the system drive (or Local Disk).  If you don’t save the Easy Transfer file to your external hard drive or USB flash drive, the file you just created will be deleted during the installation of Window 8 Release Preview.
  11. Windows Easy Transfer will begin saving you files and settings.  Do not use your computer during this time.
  12. When you see the message These files and settings have been saved for your transfer, tap or click Next.  Windows Easy Transfer will display the file name and location of the Easy Transfer file.  Write down the file name and location so you can easily find it when you’re ready to transfer files to Windows 8 Release Preview.
  13. Tap or click Next, and then Close.  Ensure that the file is saved to your external hard disk or USB flash drive and then disconnect the device from your computer.


Step 2: Install Windows 8 Release Preview


Details for how to download and install the Release Preview can be found at


When Windows 8 Release Preview starts for the first time, create your choice of a Microsoft account or a Local account, and sign into Windows.


Step 3: Move your files and settings back to your PC.


Be sure to run Windows Easy Transfer on Windows 8 Release Preview before you reinstall your apps.  That’s because Windows Easy Transfer moves your files back to where your apps will expect them to be when you reinstall them.

  1. Reconnect your external hard disk or USB flash drive that contains your Windows Easy Transfer file.
  2. From the Start screen, type Windows Explorer and tap or click on Windows Explorer
  3. Browse to the location where you saved the Easy Transfer file, called Windows Easy Transfer – Items from old PC, and double-tap or double-click the file.  (If you gave the file a different name, browse to and run that file.)
  4. If you entered a password when creating the Easy Transfer file, type the password, and then tap or click Next.  If you receive an error that you don’t have enough free disk space, you can use Disk Cleanup to delete temporary files and free up additional disk space.
  5. On the Choose what to transfer to this PC page, you can decide how the user accounts from Windows 8 Consumer Preview are transferred to the Release Preview.  To accept the current account mapping, tap or click Transfer.  To change how the accounts are mapped, click Advanced Options.
  6. On the Your transfer is complete page, tap or click See what was transferred to view a list of the user accounts and files that were moved.  Tap or click See a list of apps you might want to install on your new PC to view what was previously installed on Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
  7. Tap or click Close.


Your file transfer is now complete.  You can now reinstall your apps and check for new or updated drivers.

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Question Info

Last updated September 17, 2013 Views 6,075 Applies to: