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Solutions: Transferring files between computers

Earlier this year I purchased an HP desktop with Windows 8. I've had a Dell with XP for several years. My tech set up both PCs enabling me to copy from one to the other. Sometimes when I try to transfer data from the XP system and try to delete the old data from the Windows XP PC, I receive the "You need permission to perform this action" message. My tech cannot figure out how to avoid the permissions issue.

I'm assuming that your tech copied the old data to an external USB drive and you access this data from the Windows 8 PC. It sounds as if the old data under "My Documents" was copied at the folder level and the special access rights belong to your old Windows XP PC user. That's why you're getting the permissions message. The way around this is to copy the files individually (selecting all files in a folder, but not the folder itself) when copying to the USB drive. But too late for that, what you need to do now is to change ownership of the files. Unfortunately Windows makes you jump a few hurdles to do this if you figure out that's the problem.

Try this: Right-click the folder you're trying to delete and select Properties. Click the Security tab, then the Advanced button and then the Owner tab. Under Current Owner you should see the old PC/user name. Click the Edit button and select your current PC/user under the "Change Owner to" box and click OK.

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For Windows 8 users, the long awaited 8.1 update was made available by Microsoft on Thursday.

You can read about changes and new features at

There are a few new features such as booting straight to the desktop and being able to search your PC, Internet and Xbox music all at once, but there is still not a real "Start" button. The new "Start" button just pops you back to your App tiles. So at this point I'm not sure how compelling this update will be.

The update is not delivered through Windows Update as previous updates were. You need to click on the Store app tile. This should bring you to the Windows 8.1 update screen. Be prepared to wait a while. It took me more than two hours to download and install on a 50 Mbps connection.

To read more about how to update to 8.1, go to

Send questions to or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.