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June 29, 2018

How to move from a Windows laptop to a Chromebook

by John_A

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Moving operating systems is easier than you think.

Chromebooks are the perfect computer for most people: they’re easy to operate, all your data is backed up automatically, and set up is a breeze. But, if you’re already in another ecosystem, it can be a little daunting when you think about moving.

Here’s how to move from a Windows laptop to a Chromebook!

  • Sign up for a Google account
  • Move your bookmarks to Google Chrome
  • Backup all of your data
  • Set up your new Chromebook
  • Grab some accessories
  • What to do with your old computer

Sign up for a Google account

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All of the magic of a Chromebook’s data backups and synchronizing settings happens through your Google account. It’s entirely possible to use a Chromebook without a Google account by sticking to guest mode, but you’ll get so much more out of your Chromebook with an account.

More: How to set up a new Google account

If you have your favorite websites saved in Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox or another browser, you’ll want to move these to Google Chrome. You’ll also want to be signed into the Chrome browser with your Google account so everything synchronizes over when you sign into your Chromebook.

More: How to transfer your bookmarks and favorites to Google Chrome

Backup all of your data

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A cloud backup is a good idea no matter what ecosystem you’re in. All of your documents, music, photos, movies and other files can be uploaded to Google Drive. If you want to make things easier for yourself, you can upload your music to Google Play Music for later listening, and upload your photos to Google Photos to have everything neatly organized for you.

You get 15GB for free with your Google account. Everything you upload to Google Drive and Google Photos will count against this limit, but music in Google Play Music will not. If you need more space, consider purchasing a microSD card or external hard drive for your files.

More: Google Drive: How to upload, download, view and share files and documents

More: How to upload and download music on Google Play Music

More: Running out of space on your Chromebook? Try these tips

Set up your new Chromebook

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Once you’ve purchased the best Chromebook for you, it’s time to set it up. The whole set up process takes less than five minutes once you plug the Chromebook in and sign in with your Google account. All the data you backed up earlier will still be there in Google’s cloud services, and your web bookmarks will be there to let you get to your favorite sites.

More: How to set up a new Chromebook

Grab some accessories

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Once you’ve got settled in with your Chromebook, you can look at some accessories to make the experience even better. If you had an external keyboard and mouse for your old laptop, those will still work with your Chromebook. Most external webcams and microphones will as well. And there are plenty of great hubs available to only require one plug from your Chromebook.

More: Best USB-C hubs for Chromebooks

More: How to pair Bluetooth accessories with your Chromebook

What to do with your old laptop

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Just because you moved onto a new laptop doesn’t mean your old one stops being useful. If there’s a specific application you don’t use much that isn’t available on a Chromebook, you can use your old laptop for that — either directly or by remoting in with Chrome Remote Desktop.

If you’re totally done with your old laptop, you’ll want to factory reset to get rid of all the data you had on it. From there, you can sell it, recycle it, or donate it.

More: Chrome Remote Desktop: Everything you need to know

What about you?

Did you run into any troubles moving to a Chromebook? Let us know down below!

Chromebooks

  • The best Chromebooks
  • Chromebooks in education: Everything you need to know
  • Should you buy a Chromebook?
  • Chromebook Buyers Guide
  • Google Pixelbook review
  • Join our Chromebook forums

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