A myriad of file transfer methods complement the many reasons why you would want to move data between a laptop and PC. Data backup, project collaboration and replacing a computer are all good examples. The fastest processes will take only a few moments, and the file transfer occurs instantly. However, you should consider whether a one-time file transfer or a constant connection would better serve your needs, as there are methods for each.

File Sharing

If the laptop and desktop both use the same local area network (LAN) to connect to the Internet — wired or wirelessly — you can create a connection between the two computers to transfer and share files. From your laptop’s Libraries application, a Share tool located in the top Toolbar lets you share highlighted files or folders over your network. You can also set permissions to restrict what other people can do with your files.

Public Folders

By creating a Public folder on your laptop, you will be giving any computer connected to the same Internet network permission to use these files. Files in the Public folder will be open to all on the network, but you can block people from using the Public folder or from making changes to files. This gives you a continuous location where other computers can pull files from -- a handy tool if you need to constantly share files as you can drop files into the Public folder and they can be instantly retrieved on other PCs.

Cloud Storage

Using a cloud service works well if you need to move files between computers on the same network or computers a world apart. As long as both the laptop and PC can connect to the Internet, your cloud space will have files waiting for you. Microsoft offers SkyDrive, but there are many reputable third-party cloud services as well. Google Drive and Dropbox are some big names with highly reputable, reliable services. Bitcasa’s Infinite Drive and Box personal cloud storage services also serve as solid middlemen for file transfers.

Flash Drive

If you don’t trust file transfers over the Internet using a cloud service or creating a file-sharing connection over a network, you can go in a more traditional direction with a removable storage device. By plugging a flash drive into your laptop, you can drag-and-drop files and folders into the USB drive that you want on your PC. Typically, copying data onto a flash drive is faster than transferring files over a network. Also, flash drives offer plenty of space these days, so if you have a ton of files -- even large files -- a flash drive might be the fastest way to move data.


Most everyone has an email account these days. Virtually every email client offers a file-attachment feature. By emailing files to yourself or to others, you can move files between a laptop and PC. In many circumstances email clients put a ceiling on how much data you attach to a single email. If you’re moving many files you will likely need to send multiple emails, or if you have one massive file you may not be able to attach it to an email.