Get data and settings from your old computer

computer repairYes, it’s that time of year – the holiday season is upon us. With the holidays come all sorts of new electronic gadgets – especially computers! There will be a lot of men and women getting computers for the holiday season. While we are Raleigh computer tech pros at Lizardwebs Raleigh Computer Repair, we recognize that a lot of folks getting these computers are not. This leads to a number of common questions for most people. Let us analyze a few of these questions.

How do I get all my data from my old computer to the new one?

There are a number of methods to transfer data from your old computer to your new computer. The most frequent by far is the “Windows Easy Transfer” wizard. This alternative should be available to you, if you’re running any kind of recent operating system. Go to the Start and go to the “Search” region – the small space at the bottom of the menu where you can type things in to either search or to start. Only type in “Transfer”. You will find a few things come up and 1 of those will be the “Windows Easy Transfer”. You can see more here at the Microsoft site. This will give you the transport wizard interface. You can merely go through this wizard and transfer all settings from the old PC to your new PC with a minimum of fuss.

This specific process uses 3 distinct modes of data transfer. You will be able to pick from a transport cable, a network, or an external hard drive or USB Flash drive. Your best alternative will depend on the things available to you.

Windows Easy Transfer Cable

If you have the Windows transfer cable – an USB driven strategy – all you need to do is get the two computers close enough to use the cable. Cables are generally about 3 feet long. Position your computers so. This technique operates pretty well close enough if you can get your computers. Cables are usually in the 20 dollar range. They can be located at computer stores usually. You can order them online (you UNDERSTOOD about your Christmas present), if you have some advance notice that you will be doing data transfer and save a few dollars.

Network Transfer

This system of data transfer can work reasonably nicely, though it can be slower than other procedures depending on your setup. If you are running a wireless network for example, your data transfer speeds will be quite slow in comparison to one of the other techniques. If you have computers on either end of your house, and do not feel like transferring them close enough for the Cable transport approach, it can work nicely. Merely slow.

External Hard drive / USB Flash drive

This system functions very well. You will basically bring the info off your old computer to a hard drive or USB thumb drive that you will then use the “sneakernet” (walk it around to your new computer) to get to your new machine. USB transport can be pretty speedy, plus you will have a copy of the information on the thumbnail or external hard drive as a backup in case anything terrible happens. The negative is that it is two steps – get info from old machine and then join to new machine and transfer the data to the new machine. The other two approaches do it all as one step genuinely.

How about all my old PC applications?

The one big shortcoming of the data transfer wizard that most people just do not understand is that you still have to install all your old applications onto the new computer. Applications make a whole LOT of changes to your registry and in various files throughout your computer. Each of those changes is dependent on other things that are already on your computer – and that’s what makes moving applications so difficult on a Windows machine. Very in-depth install routines will check for various factors in a PC setup to make sure there will be certain base functionality available to the app, that there are no known problematic apps already installed, ensure that a number of settings WILL work properly for this software. When you short circuit this process and try to move an app from an old PC, it just doesn’t do all the things that are required to ensure that the app will run properly. And it almost NEVER does.

That is why you usually – with some exceptions (see below) – need to reinstall all your old applications with a new PC. Ideally, you need to do this BEFORE you transfer the information from the old PC. In some events, you will be updating those applications. In still other instances, you very well may decide that particular programs have outlived their utility and it is time to simply let them go. We consistently find a few of those when we do our internal machines here. Use this as a chance to do a little housework and get rid of the dead weight.

Can not EVERYTHING be transferred at one time? Data AND applications?

We did do some checking of apps and there are some data transfer utilities that assure exactly that. We have seen one called LapLink PC Mover that guarantees a experience by transferring the applications and data in one shot. We have read critiques suggesting that it is NOT as simple as all that, however, knowing what we have to go through using typical transport procedures, it STILL seems a whole lot easier. One comment when we reviewed the applications was that one individual still had to put in enrollment keys. Bearing in mind that hours upon hours can be spent installing all these programs, the time demanded to input a s/n is trivial. Still we can not automatically throw our support behind this until we have found it in actions. It is out there though.

The biggest issue we see with trying to move all data and applications
to a new machine is that there are so many variables in every computer setup. As we have consistently said – grab up two identical PCs, add EXACTLY the same software and you will STILL end up with two PCs with different functional characteristics. We can not tell you just why, but we have seen it many MANY times.  We have all sorts of tips and tricks over at Lizardwebs if you want to read more.  If you need help with this in our service area, find out more about our new computer set up services – Transfer data from old pc to new computer.