The easiest way to move your old PC's informationits files, programs, and settingsonto your new computer is to perform a hard drive transplant : extract your old PC's hard drive and install it into your new PC (see Section 9.6 for details). That moves over everything: your operating system, your applications, your cute desktop picture, and so on. But that's like putting parts from an old car into a new one. Your new machine will constantly be throttled by the slow speed of your old hard drive.
Instead, consider making the transfer by resorting to a method that requires a little spare time and a bit of thumbtwiddling. First, install your old programs onto your new PC using their original CDs.
Next, use Windows XP's Files and Settings Transfer wizard (see Section 14.8.3) to pack up your old PC's files and settings and move them to your new PC. The wizard creates a huge backpack of files and settings. You can make the transfer, either by linking the two machines in a two-PC network (see Section 14.10), or by copying the file package to an external hard drive (see Section 9.6.3) and then moving that drive to your new machine.
Complete the move by running the wizard again on your new PC to unpack the old PC's files and settings, placing them in their proper places.
The wizard's not the only data-moving van on the block. Detto's $49.95 IntelliMover (www.detto.com) can also transport your files, and Alohabob's PC Relocator $29.95 (www.alohabob.com) claims to pack up not only your data but your programs, as well.