Help Moving to a New Computer

Moving your data from your old computer to a new computer is one of those things that is really not all that difficult if you have done it before and know exactly what you are doing. I am guessing that since you posted your question here in this forum that you are probably opposed to paying someone to come in and do it for you. However, my recommendation would be to bring it to your local computer shop and let them do it for you.
Having said that and seeing as you are still reading this, I will outline some of your options for doing this yourself. The key to an easy transition and moving your data successfully is to plan ahead because in many cases it is much easier to convert or upgrade an application on your old computer first before trying to move your data to the new computer. This is especially true for moving data associated with specialty applications like accounting software, email, itunes or even a Palm pilot and also becomes more of a issue when transferring to a new operating system. In many cases (i.e. Quicken or Quickbooks) , you will want to use the backup routine supplied by the program to backup your data first and then use the programs restore function move the data to your new computer. Moving files like documents and photos is a much easier task and can usually be done by simply copying them to a Flash drive and then to your new computer. Just keep in mind that Windows 7 stores some files in a different location than Windows XP did.

Moving from an old computer to a new computer that are both running the same version of Windows is a much easier task than moving to a new computer that has a new operating system too. As you have indicated, you can run into many road blocks such as having to change to a new email program or having to upgrade some of your applications and drivers or even purchase new hardware or software because of compatibility issues with a new version of Windows. There are also some file folder structure differences between Windows 7 and Windows XP that can cause you to copy some files to the wrong folders. You can run into some of the very same issues when migrating from a PC to a Mac or Mac to PC.

DATA TRANSFER METHOD - Anyway, the first thing you are going to need is some method to transfer your data from your old computer to your new one. You have several choices here:

1. USB Flash Drive Small memory device often known as a thumb drive that is available in different sizes and can store up to about 32GB of data. This is great for most people providing you dont have a huge amount of data on your old computer.

2. USB Hard Drive Larger than a flash drive and can store or backup a far greater amount of data. Once you are done using it for the transfer, you can use it as a backup drive.

3. USB Transfer Cable There are several transfer kits on the market that come complete with software and a double ended USB cable to transfer data from one computer to another. You will still need to decide and plan ahead so that you take into account any email changes you will need to make and in many cases make the conversion on the old computer first before the transfer.

4. USB Enclosure This method would require that you remove the hard drive from your old computer and place it into the USB enclosure and plugging it into your new computer thus allowing you to access the all the data on the drive. Again, once the transfer is complete you can install the drive back into the old computer or keep as is and use it as a backup drive.

5. Online Backup There are many online backup companies out there where you could setup an account and backup your old computer and then restore the information to your new computer all over the internet. Carbonite.com or Mozy.com are both excellent choices for this.

6. Home Network If you are savvy enough to connect both of your computers to your home network and setup file sharing, you could then transfer your files between your old and new computers.

7. CD or DVD Finally, you could burn the files that you want to a CD or DVD and then move them to the new computer.

DECIDING WHAT TO TRANSFER There are several ways to approach deciding what it is you want to move to your new computer. Some people like to take this opportunity to start with a clean slate and move only essential data and documents thus leaving them with the job of repopulating there desktop, favorites and in some case even email and address books all over again. Others prefer to move as much as possible to the new computer in an effort to retain all their original settings, favorites and desktop look and feel. Personally, I prefer to take the clean approach and move just the basics.


MOVING GENERAL DATA (Documents, Music, Photos, etc.)

If you are familiar with the process of coping and pasting, you could simply copy the contents of the My Documents folder to your flash drive, CD or other backup drive and then copy it to your new computer. The problem with this method is that it becomes a little more difficult if you want to copy more than just the contents of My Documents. If you are looking to transfer, most all of your information including Desktop settings and Internet Favorites you might find it easier to use the Microsoft Easy Transfer Wizard. This little program from Microsoft can perform the whole job for you in a few simple steps. Here is the link to the Microsoft Easy Transfer Wizard for migrating from XP to Windows 7 http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=734917d8-0663-4c26-89d0-2d00b632ebdb&displaylang=en . This wizard will also let you transfer the data from one computer to another using a USB cable or over your network. You have the option to choose to transfer your data files ONLY or data files and settings. Please note that neither of these methods will allow you to transfer things like installed programs or printer software and drivers. These items will need to be installed on the new computer from the installation CDs or in many cases you may need to download the latest versions that are compatible with Windows 7 from the manufacturers website. NOTE: There are several programs that claim to migrate everything, including programs, from one computer to another. While this may work for some users with a very basic setup, it generally results in a new computer that does not perform up to par and often leaves you with a bunch of problems, especially when migrating to a different operating system.

EMAIL
I dont know if it is because of antitrust and monopoly lawsuits or some other crazy reason, but Microsoft has chosen to supply Windows 7 without a built-in email program. As you may recall, previous versions of Windows all came with Outlook Express email as an integral part of the operating system. Then along came Windows Vista and Microsoft replaced the long standing Outlook Express with what they called Windows Mail and now with Windows 7 they have dumped Windows Mail and have decided to include nothing for email. BUT, just because Microsoft has not included an email program within Windows 7 does not mean that they dont have one. They have replaced Vistas Windows Mail with a new application now called Windows Live Mail that you can download and install for free. Live Mail does everything that Outlook Express did and more. There are all kinds of applications that Microsoft has chosen to not include but you can still download and install for free. Why pay for something when Microsoft is giving it away for free. Free online storage, free Security, free Movie Editor, free PDF converter (for Office 2007 only) and a free email application to name just a few. I can only guess that if Microsoft included all of these applications in Windows, you might not have to purchase any other software and you would have every 3rd party software company crying fowl. When you really think about it, Microsoft could probably provide us with the perfect operating system that we all want if it did not have to protect itself from lawsuits. What a great system!

Moving On

MOVING EMAIL - Since you were using Outlook Express before and it is no longer available you have to decide which email application you would like to use. You have several choices, some free and some that you may have to pay for :

1. Microsoft Outlook You can think of this as the full version of Outlook Express (even though it is really completely different) and it normally comes bundled with many of the Microsoft Office Suites (EXCEPT the 2007 Home/Student Version) or you can purchase it separately for about $110. If you already have a version of Office that has Outlook installed on both of your computers than you can convert from Outlook Express to Outlook very easily. Simply setup Outlook on your old computer and import your Outlook Express email and address book directly into it. The first time you use Outlook it will usually discover that you have Outlook Express and ask you if you want to convert to Outlook. Follow the simple instructions to convert to Outlook and then you can copy the single Outlook PST file to your new computer and import it into Outlook there using a USB Flash Drive. Here are some links to how to do this in Outlook: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HA011166031033.aspx or http://support.microsoft.com/kb/287070

2. Windows Live Mail (FREE) Not Live Messenger - This is Microsofts replacement for Outlook Express but it does not normally come with Windows 7. Some PC manufacturers may pre-install it for you so take a look in All Programs for a folder called Windows Live and you may find Windows Live Mail in there. If not, you can simply download it from Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=56883de5-2024-4631-806e-757693072a1c . The easiest thing to do is to download this to your old computer first and let it do the conversion from Outlook Express automatically and then you can move it to you new computer.

3. Mozilla Thunderbird (FREE) This is simply another email client application and just like Windows Live Mail, you would want to download, install and make the conversion from Outlook Express on your old computer first and then follow the instructions provided by Mozilla for backing up and restoring your profile to move it to your new computer. http://www.mozilla.org/support/thunderbird/profile .

4. Others There are many other email programs such as Eudora and Incredimail that you could use and most all of them will convert from Outlook Express automatically and then can be moved to your new computer with relative ease. But again, it is much easier to perform the switch from Outlook Express on your old computer first and then transfer to your new computer.

I must apologize for running on and well, I have run out of time and probably have missed a bunch of things. I hope this will be of some help to you.

Dana
Wayland Computer