Plan your migration to a new PC

Planning, planning, planning.

I just ordered a new PC. That's right, I'm doing my part to help the economy (or so I told the missus). When it arrives, I'll get to enjoy the kind of fun that usually requires a visit to the dentist's chair: migrating all my programs, data, and settings to the new machine.

I've had a bit of experience with this over the years, and feel like I've just about got it down to a science. The secret to a successful migration? Planning, planning, planning.

For starters, I've got a week or so until the UPS driver delivers my new toy. During that time, I'm going to compile a list of all the programs I use regularly, if not daily: Word, Outlook, Firefox, IrfanView, iTunes, and so on.

My plan is to reinstall each program on the new machine, as opposed to using pricey migration software to try to move the apps. In my opinion, that's just asking for hassles. For each program on my list, I make a note: "CD" or "download." If it's something I can't download to the new machine, I'll start searching now for the CDs I'll need.

Also for each program on the list, I make a note of what kind of data goes with it. That way, I can determine the best way to migrate. Firefox, for instance, has bookmarks, passwords, and extensions. The bookmarks and passwords are a snap: After installing Firefox on the new machine, I'll then install the Foxmarks extension and sign into my account. It syncs my bookmarks and passwords to the browser and presto, I'm done.

As for Word, I keep all my documents in a Data folder; it's a simple matter to copy that over to the new machine. (I'll connect both PCs to the network for fast and easy file transfers.) Same goes for my photos, videos, MP3s, and the like.

Speaking of MP3s, iTunes is going to be tricky. So is Outlook. I'll cover my migration strategies for those apps in future posts.

In the meantime, I'm planning, planning, planning. In addition to listing apps and data, I'm making notes about drivers I'll need for printers and other accessories. I'm making sure I've got registration codes for programs I've purchased online. And I'm clearing extra home-office space so I can keep the old machine "live" for a few weeks after I've transitioned to the new one, just in case I discover I left something important behind.

You know how it goes with moving.

By the way, if you're wondering what kind of system I ordered (it's pretty sweet), you can read all about it right here.

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Rick Broida

PC World (US online)
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