Microsoft removing Windows Easy Transfer in Windows 8.1

Windows Easy Transfer in Windows 8.1

What happened with Windows Easy Transfer in Windows 8.1? You launched tool and you noticed that the options to transfer items to a new PC using the transfer cable, network, and external hard disk are nowhere to be found. The only option available is to bring items from another PC running Windows 8, Windows RT, or Windows 7. This is because Microsoft is removing the feature in Windows 8.1.

Something similar happened with the “Backup and Restore” tool from Windows 7. Microsoft simply renamed the feature “Windows 7 File History” in Windows 8, signaling that in the new OS the backup tool was mainly for recovery purposes and surely enough the feature was removed in Windows 8.1. Now users wanting to create and restore a system image backup have resource to a PowerShell command-line tool.

The same thing is happening to Windows Easy Transfer and there is a clear reason. This transfer tool was able to backup user accounts, documents, music, email, pictures, and videos. Items that now can be easily transfer by using SkyDrive in combination with other services and tools, such as Xbox Music to backup your music collection, and File History to keep files always backup and up-to-date.

SEE ALSO: Windows 8.1 Guide: SkyDrive app, a seamless integration to the cloud

Windows Easy Transfer UI in Windows 8.1

Although, when you go to Start and do a search for transfer, the actual tool is there, the only thing you’ll find is a stripped-down version of migration program, good only to migrate data over, but not to move files and settings from Windows 8.1 to another PC. This is one of many examples that shows how Microsoft is moving forward and pulling the plug on different features and adding new ones that are suited for the 21st century.

Will this affect you when moving to a new PC? Did you ever use this file transfer and backup tool?

Mauro is a technology writer at and He’s been recognized as a Microsoft MVP, he’s also a technology enthusiast and enjoys writing content about Microsoft, Google, Apple, and other interesting technologies. Got a hat tip? Send him an email with your rants, rumors, tips and tattles.

Email @Pureinfotech
  • Nathan

    This frustrates me a little bit. I love Windows 8 and 8.1 even more but the lack of my Easy Transfer tool is really annoying. (I work in a shop and use it all the time). But I guess we will just have to cope.

  • Joe W

    I really hate this as sky drive is not an option when you live in the northern neck of Virginia and a Verizon hotspot is the only option. Microsoft does not think about the 3rd of the country that has limited or no internet access. Microsoft Please put easy transfer back.

  • Alex Smith

    It would be nice if the crippled 8.1 WET had a message telling what had happened.. Or that Globalsoft had a mention of it on the official site. So now what? I’m trying to copy files from a desktop win 7 machine. So how would I move files and settings with this marvelously advanced system?

    • Mauro

      Hello Alex,
      You can use Windows Easy transfer using Windows 8 and 7 to move to Windows 8.1. However, you can’t use Windows Easy Transfer in Windows 8.1 to move to another Windows 8.1 or later version…


      • Alex Smith

        I’m trying to copy files and settings from a Win 7 desktop to a win 8.1 laptop. I’m getting the same useless options as was cited in the article. Windows website doesn’t seem to offer any help. So how do I accomplish the transfer?

      • ericthemadman

        Ok, the question still stands? I have already migrated from XP to 8. It has been updated to 8.1 and my new PC is 8.1. How do I transfer files & settings?

        • Mauro

          Honestly, you’ll be spending more time finding a way or tool may or may not transfer your settings correctly. I would suggest to move your settings manually. Once in Windows 8.1, make sure to go to PC settings and let OneDrive backup all your settings for the future.


  • Randy May

    After reading the various posts regarding the the missing WET in Win8.1, I went into a panic and looked in my brand new HP Envy with 8.1 to see if WET was missing. Sure enough it wasn’t there. What do I do now…… I had just backed up my Win7 machine to a new 3TB Seagate USB hard disk and what was I supposed to do. Well, out of pure curiosity, I plugged in the Seagate to my new HP and then selected the drive. When I clicked on my WET transfer file, behold, WET came and is now downloading all of my files to the new machine. It appears this is a little known secret and I just blundered into it by accident. I will report back if I have any issues, but it appears to be working as I type this……..

    • Mauro

      Hello Randy,
      Yes, that behaviour is expected, in the way Windows Easy Transfer is disappearing if that you cannot create a “Backup” with this tool Windows 8.1 and later operating system, but yes you can restore from previous operating systems. With Windows 8.1 is just the beginning of the end for WET.

      Thanks, for commenting :)

  • Orbi1

    I just copied the Windows 8 migwiz folder to my 8.1 desktop and ran the backup utility just perfectly.
    I just now transferred that file to my new 8.1 computer.
    works great… you just need the Win 8 Migwiz folder

  • Leslie Dugger

    Terrible if you work in a domain environment. Using Easy Transfer was essential for efficient migrations for our staff. Easy Transfer would recreate the user on the machine so they just need to re-login on the new machine after the transfer was complete.

  • ericthemadman

    Thanks Mauro….was hoping for a magical solution? Guess I’ll have to muscle through it.

    • Mauro

      No problem. Remember from scratch is always better.


  • Alan McBee

    OneDrive does not back up *settings*. It backs up files only. Microsoft will transfer settings (using the cloud) *as long as* both the source and the destination are signed in using the same online Microsoft account (not a local account).

    So OneDrive is not an option if, for example (as has happened to me), the File History feature completely failed, and the only way to get it to work again is to create a whole new account on the same machine, because you can’t have both the old account and the new account using the Microsoft online account at the same time. This means you can NOT transfer settings in this case. You must reinstall everything manually, reconfigure everything manually, and transfer all files that are not in OneDrive manually.

    • Ana

      I agree totally! I’ve been super frustrated at this whole Easy Transfer thing because it took me literally forever to figure out that I don’t have the same options as all these stupid tutorials. It’s useless. I NEED Easy Transfer because I need to transfer all of the apps and programs on to my other computer and OneDrive isn’t doing crap. Yeah I have all of my files but there is NO WAY in heck that I’ll be able to reinstall of those programs that cost money and are in the past with all this key nonsense. Is there a way to install a Windows XP version instead, without having to pay buttloads of money? Probably not. So I’m basically screwed huh? Cool

  • kegmon

    Absolutely ridiculous… USMT might work if you’re a command line wiz, but you have jump through 10 hoops to get that far.. Microsoft really screwed the pooch on this. Don’t expect them to either admit that this was a huge screw up on their part, or actually listen to the people to have to support their products in the real world and issue any fix whatsoever. Arrogant bastards!

  • Vicki Gound

    How do I transfer my apps and programs from Windows Vista to Windows 8.1? I just bought a new computer and can get the data transferred but not the game save data. It looks like I’ve never played. Some of the games I have years invested in and do not want to lose progress. Any Suggestions?

    • Mauro

      You cannot migrate desktop programs from computer to computer. Even if you can find a way it’s not recommended. However, depending on the app you can go to the settings and see if you can export the settings.
      Your best scenario is to manually reinstall all the apps.


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  • ES

    I’m trying to transfer a WET file from an external harddrive which was created under Windows XP to Windows 8.1 and receive an error message saying hat Windows EasyTransfer can’t transfer files from Windows Vista or Windows XP. I’ve now discovered that there is this free tool called Laplink PC Mover – however, it only works if you still have both Computers. But I don’t have the old laptop anymore or any old Laptop. Is there another possibility to somehow load the WET file created under XP to 8.1?

    • Mauro


      I haven’t tested this solution, but you might be able to use this tool (this is a third-party software please proceed with caution, use it at your own risk) to open and extra the content from a Windows Easy Transfer file.

      Whenever possible, I recommend you to avoid using transferring software, you will be better of backing up your data, and starting on a new computer from scratch. It’s clear, safer, and sometimes faster.