When I purchased my Vista laptop, I too had to copy files from an XP machine to Vista. In my case, I already had a small wireless home network so all I needed to do was connect the laptop to the network and copy files from my XP machine to the laptop. I did have to turn on file sharing for my XP's hard drive and make sure it was visible on the network but once done, it was a simple matter of copying from files from one computer to the next. Granted, it took some time but it was easy. If you have a network, you can do something similar.
If not, other options are available. If you have XP Service Pack 2, you can use Microsoft's Windows Easy Transfer tool to transfer files as well as settings to your new Vista computer. First, you'll need to download the Windows Easy Transfer tool from Microsoft and install it on to your Windows XP computer. Your Vista computer already has the necessary software installed.
Once installed, you will need a transfer method. Available methods include: a USB Easy Transfer cable connecting both computers, a network connection, a USB flash drive or external hard drive, or a recordable CD or DVD.
One advantage of using the Windows Easy Transfer tool over copying and pasting files from one computer to the next is that you can also transfer user settings such as user accounts, e-mail accounts and settings, Internet favorites, and other settings and preferences. Best of all, you can transfer music files including playlists and album art.
Once you have the software installed and a transfer method ready to go, you will need to start the software on the new computer and tell it "This is my new computer." Sounds silly but it's important that the software understands the source and destination. You can find the Easy Transfer tool by clicking Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Windows Easy Transfer. Follow the prompts to get started.
Next, go to your old machine and navigate to the file called migwiz.exe (you will have created this on your Vista machine) and double click it. Follow the prompts. Microsoft has detailed instructions posted in their Vista Migration Step-by-Step Guide should you need further help.
While getting the music files from one computer to the other is fairly easy, getting them to play is another matter. If you have music files that have DRM (Digital Rights Management) licenses, they may not play at all! For example, if you purchased albums with licenses restricting playback to your local computer only, the DRM won't necessarily recognize your new computer as being a replacement computer. This restriction is designed to stop music piracy but can be frustrating when replacing computers. You may be able to solve this buy contacting the music store and explaining the situation. I had a similar issue with music I purchased from Wal-Mart music and they issued me new licenses. However, I had no luck with Sony Connect music.
Hopefully, you'll transfer your music files over and have no further issues.