How to Get Pictures Off My Old Desktop to My New Laptop

By Laurel Storm

Connecting both computers to your home network is one way to move files.
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Getting a new computer is always a pleasure, especially if you're finally replacing a clunky old desktop with a sleek new laptop you can use anywhere. Part and parcel of upgrading, though, is having to deal with moving all your files from the old computer to the new. There are several ways to do this; which method you use can depend on many different factors, including the equipment you have available and whether your old computer still works.

Home Network

If your old computer still works and you have a home network set up, you can use that network to transfer your pictures, whether the network is wired or wireless. Ensure both your old computer and your new laptop are connected to the network and can see each other. On your old computer, share all folders that contain pictures you want to move, and then access them on the laptop and copy the pictures over.

Cloud Storage

Assuming your old computer still works and can connect to the Internet, you can use a cloud storage service to not only transfer your pictures to your new laptop, but also keep a backup of them and ensure you can access them from any computer. Sign up for a free cloud storage service such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Microsoft SkyDrive or Amazon Cloud Drive (see Resources), upload your pictures to it from your old computer and then download them using your new laptop. Although you can usually upload and download files using your browser, consider installing the stand-alone software associated with the service you chose, especially if you have a lot of pictures you want to move -- doing this can save you a lot of time.

External Storage Drive

If you have access to an external storage drive of some kind, you can transfer your pictures from your old computer to your new laptop without needing to access either the Internet or a home network. Any kind of external storage will work, from a full-fledged hard drive to a USB flash drive. You might even be able to use your MP3 player or smartphone, if it supports this functionality -- check its manual for more information. Depending on the number of pictures you need to transfer and on the size of the external storage you are using, doing it this way may take you some time.

Hard Drive Enclosure

If your old computer is beyond repair but its hard drive is still fine, you can use a hard drive enclosure to turn it into an external storage drive from which you can pull files at will. Hard drive enclosures are available at most brick-and-mortar computer stores, as well as online, and exist in two different sizes, one that fits desktop hard drives and one that fits laptop ones -- be careful not to accidentally buy the wrong one. To remove the hard drive from your old computer, you will need a screwdriver and some care (see Resources) -- if you are unsure on how to do this, take your old desktop to a computer technician, as you may accidentally damage the drive and lose your files.