How to Copy A Program from One Computer to Another? – 5 Methods

Last Updated on November 6, 2020

Whether you have just bought a new computer and want to load all the programs on the older one on it, or you’re just moving a few programs to another computer, you need to know how to copy a program from one computer to another.

The traditional copy and paste don’t work when moving programs between different computers. Instead, you will need to make use of an additional tool like a network connection or a USB drive to act as the bridge between the two. 

Furthermore, just copying the EXE file in the program’s folder may not be enough. You sometimes need a few extra steps to get things done correctly.

You may also need to move the data associated with the program and that makes things a little more complicated.


How to Copy A Program from One Computer to Another

Here is a quick glance, we discuss these methods in depth below:

  1. Using an external hard drive
  2. Using a phone
  3. Using the Network
  4. Using Cloud Services / Email
  5. Attaching Your Internal Drive to the Other PC

Copying from Old PC to a New One

buffalo mini station
An external drive is the method to transfer stuff, but what if you don’t have one? Read On

Buying a new PC is exciting and it’s even better if you have the programs you had been used to in your older computer available in the new one as well.

To do this, you need a method that will transfer all or most of the programs from the old computer to the new one.

Manual Transfer

This is by far the least convenient way to carry out this task. To do this manually, you would need an external flash drive or hard drive depending on the size of your programs.

You would then need to go and manually copy the setup files. Many programs will require a new installation, instead of just copying the program’s files and executing them directly.

This is slow, tedious, and can be error-prone if you miss getting some vital files from the computer.

The Easier Way

If you have many files that need to be transferred, you may need to make use of third-party applications to move your programs to the computer.

You can use PC transfer software to make the program transfer much easier and more accurate. The good thing is that you may not even need to have the computers physically connected and you can even transfer the program’s data.

A network connection gets used for this, and the software will scan the host computer and identify all the programs that it can safely transfer. From here, a click of a button will begin moving the programs.

Details: How to Copy A Program from One Computer to Another

Copying programs between two computers can be as easy or as complicated as it’s made out to be. It all depends on what options you have and the physical locations of the computers.

When the computers are far apart, you can copy files from one to another through the cloud. All you do is pick a provider like Dropbox, upload the program and share it with the intended recipient. The other party can then download the program to the computer.

Frankly, you may not necessarily be looking to copy all your programs from one PC to another, maybe a few programs at a time.

In this case, there are a few things you can do. You can use an external hard drive or a flash drive. You’ll insert the flash drive in the host computer, find the program’s setup file in the host computer, and copy it onto the flash drive.

Once this is done, you take out the drive and plug it into the target computer. You can then proceed to copy or cut the setup files from the drive and paste them in the target computer in a directory of your choosing.

From there you can proceed to install the program.

1. No External Drive, No Problem

This process can still be done if you have neither the flash drive nor a hard drive. For one, you can use your phone and run an application like Xender.

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Using a Phone

On the application, find the option that says “Connect to PC”. Clicking on it will instruct you on how to make the connection.

Once connected, you can upload a document from your computer which will send it to the phone.

Afterward, disconnect the phone and connect to the target computer the same way as before. Choose the file and download it.

You can even your phone and USB cable for the transfer like you would with an external drive.

Also Read: How to Update Motherboard Drivers?

3. Using the Network

You can create and share folders on your computer and these will be made available to other users who are connected to the same network as you are.

These can even be secured by a password to keep your shared files safe and whatever files are stored on this folder can be copied to another computer on your network.

This is a great idea for sharing programs between computers on the same network where all the other options are not possible.

Shared Folders

shared folder

To create a shared folder on Windows, select the folder, right-click it, and select the properties option.

Under the sharing tab, click advanced sharing and allow sharing of the folder. You can then move the programs to this folder and to copy the files in the target computer, open the file explorer, select network at the bottom, and find the computer you want to copy your files from.

Then, select the shared folder, and copy the files from there and paste them in a local folder on your personal computer.

Also Read: How to Install Motherboard Drivers Without CD Drive

4. Using Cloud Services / Email


Another easier way to transfer software from one PC to another is to use a cloud storage service like Dropbox, Google Drive etc.

With these services, you can use a single cloud drive across all of your PCs. Thus you can transfer stuff from place to another without having to rely on any other device.

You WILL however require an internet connection.

The same process can be done via using an email account. Email accounts can be used to send software, however, there are few concerns with this.

First the email provider may block certain software from being attached to your folder and secondly, there is a limit to how large a file you can send at a time. Gmail for example has a limit of 25 MB.

Also Read: How to Clean the USB Ports in Laptop Computers?

5. Attaching Your Internal Drive to the Other PC

How to Copy A Program from One Computer to Another

If all else fails, you can attach the internal drive which contains the required software to your PC where you want to transfer the software to.

Basically, in your second PC, you will need to have a second connection for a hard drive. For instance, if your primary drive is connected to SATA port, you will need another SATA port to attach the second drive containing the software to.

This way, when you start your PC, you will see the second drive in your “This PC” or “My Computer”.

There, you can access the software and transfer it to your primary drive.

This is the least recommended method but you can use it as a last resort.

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We have seen how to copy a program from one computer to another. There are many options available for users and each has its particular use case. From leveraging the cloud to using external drives.

Whichever method a user chooses will depend on their needs as well as what they have at their disposal.

Moving many programs will take a lot of time and as such will require some software to ease the trouble.

At the same time, for just one or a few programs, you can use your phone if you have adequate storage for all the files.


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I am an engineer with a keen interest and a passion for PC builds and hardware. is essentially the culmination of our enthusiasm towards this subject. We review PC peripherals and hardware, talk about custom builds and informative topics regarding troubleshooting issues, understanding a component better and general tips for DIY PC builders.