Moving to a new system ...
Migration is the "Gotcha!" of getting a new system.
This is a very complex topic and the answers are different for each category of thing that you want to move.
Moving things like pictures is easy. Just copy the files from the old computer to the new computer. But you have to understand enough about your disk drive organization and how Windows saves files to know where to find them on the old computer and where to put them on the new computer (if you don't ... get help from someone who does; there is no easy way around this). The actual movment is easy, you can use a network (both old and new computers running simultaneously, on the network and sharing files), or any kind of USB storage device (external hard drive, USB flash drive, etc.). To use a flash drive, copy the files from the old computer to the flash drive, take the flash drive to the new computer and copy them from the flash drive to the new computer (again, the real trick is knowing where to copy them from and to). Most photographs are stored as JPEG (.JPG) files. SUGGESTION: Burn your photos to a CD or DVD (sorry, you still have to know where they are), use the CD or DVD to move them to the new computer, but then keep the discs you made as a backup. Do not use "RW" (eraseable) media; use permanent, one-time media.
E-Mail: Personally, I think MS screwed up by not providing a native E-Mail client with Windows 7. One option: Try Thunderbird (free), install it on both the old and new computer. On the old computer, have it import everything from Outlook Express (which will remain installed and which can co-exist with Thunderbird). Then copy the "profile" from Thunderbird on the old computer to Thunderbird on the new computer (there are articles on how to work with Thunderbird profiles at Mozilla.org, the authors of Thunderbird. But it's going to seem complex to non-technical users).
Another solution, better, I think, but not free, is to install full version outlook (not Outlook Express, but Outlook) on both computers, migrate your outlook express stuff into outlook on the XP computer, then copy the ".PST" file (one file which will have everything) onto outlook on the new computer. [This, too, is kind of complex; an "IT Guy" would know how to do it, but it's beyond most users.] However the real problem is that Outlook is expensive, it is part of Office and, unfortunately, it is not part of "Home" edition of office. The least expensive way to get it is to find a copy of the 2003 "Students and Teachers" edition of Office, which does have Outlook in it. But they are hard to find (try E-Bay).
As for your recepies, you will have to [re]install the program you were using on the new computer, then find and move the data files (may be easy, nearly impossible or anything in between).
There are some migration programs, most of which don't even claim to be able to move programs but which can sometimes or often move data between a program that is installed on BOTH computers. In that case, the answer is to install the same program(s) on both computers and let the migration programs move the data. Windows 7 itself comes with a migration program, Windows Easy Transfer. There is a tutorial here:
[Note: this tutorial is for an upgrade, not a migration. That is not what you are doing. But the concept is largely the same. Perform "Step 2" to move your "stuff" from the XP machine to some intermediate "media", and then step 4 to move the "stuff" from the intermediate media to the Windows 7 machine.]
Again, however, it only moves DATA; not programs. So the key is to install all of the relevant programs (that you already have on your XP machine, with the possible exception of Outlook (full version) or Thunderbird) on the Windows 7 machine first, then use this tool to move the data from XP to Windows 7. A ***FEW*** of the commercial programs claim to move programs themselves as well as data, however such claims should be taken with a large grain of salt. [The best such program, Eisenworld's oddly named "Aloha Bob's PC Relocator", was bought by Microsoft and is no longer available.]
I hope that this helps. This is a complex subject and I've only touched the surface of it. You might want to seek professional assistance to get things moved and configured on the Win7 machine as they were on the XP machine (it IS possible).
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