BOOT CAMP 485 (17/07/07)
Moving to a new PC part 1
It is said that after the death of a loved one and
divorce, moving house is one of the most stressful experiences you can have. No
arguments there but I would also put moving to a new PC fairly high on the
list, judging by my own past experiences, and the tales of woe and pleas for
help we receive.
Over the last few months the number of emails we’ve
been getting on this topic has been growing steadily and you don’t have to look
very far to see the reason why. Windows Vista, launched back in March, has
prompted a lot of PC owners to upgrade. Many of you, it seems, are making the
move to a new PC for the first time, or the last time you did it all the data
you needed to transfer across would fit onto a couple of floppies. Ah, those
were the days…
Now, with hard drive capacities often exceeding 100
gigabytes and PCs used to store everything from a lifetime’s music collection
to precious family photo albums and video collections things have become a bit
Apart from being highly impractical the use of
floppies is no longer an option for most of us since few new PCs and laptops
have the necessary drives any more. On the other hand there are now many more
ways to transfer large volumes of data and settings from one PC to another,
including a utility built into Microsoft Windows and we’ll be looking at some
of the most popular methods in detail over the next few episodes of Boot Camp.
But we begin this week with some general tips for organising your files and
ensuring that the data on your old PC is more accessible and therefore easier
to move around.
Most of what you will want to transfer to your new
PC falls into one of two categories, which for the sake of argument we’ll call
‘user’ data and ‘genera’ data.
User data includes personal and program-specific
items like your address book and contacts list, email account settings, web
page bookmarks, email messages, custom dictionaries for your word processor and
configuration settings for any other major applications.
General data is everything else and this includes
all of the files you’ve created, such as documents, spreadsheets, databases
etc., plus anything else you’ve stored on the computer, like audio and video
files, software downloads and zip files for the tools and utilities you’ve
accumulated over the years.
This covers a lot of ground to cover and it’s easy
to forget something so I would start by making a list of everything you want to
copy from the old PC to the new machine. Lists are good, they help to focus
your thoughts and you can tick things off when they’ve been done. By the way,
if you have any hidden or encrypted folders on the drive you’ll need to include
those as well, especially if you plan to dispose of your old computer or
reformat the drive.
User data is best tackled on a program-by program
basis and we’ll be looking at popular applications like Word and Outlook
Express in more detail in a couple of weeks. However, you can prepare the
ground by creating a new folder, which will act as a container for your user
data files. To do that open Windows Explorer or My Computer, highlight the C:\
drive icon then go to File > New > Folder and rename it ‘newpc’.
The next step is to gather all of your general data
files into a small number of readily accessible folders. If like most PC users
you have given newly-installed office and multimedia applications free reign to
create their own filing systems you probably have documents, image and audio
files all over the shop. You can either collect them together in the Windows
default folders (My Documents, My Pictures, My Music etc.) or better still,
create new ones, though this is only practical if you have a fair amount of
free hard disc space.
The idea is to leave everything where it is, just
in case you need to re-use your PC, and make copies of the files and folders
you want to move and put them in new custom folders. As before open Windows
Explorer and create a new folder on your C:\ drive called ‘Pictures’ and into
that Copy (keyboard shortcut Ctrl + C) and Paste (Ctrl + V) all of your
individual image files, and folders containing images. Create another folder
called Music and put your audio files into that and repeat for any other file
types that you have a lot of, and are currently in several different locations.
Next Week – Moving to a new PC part 2
List of words compiled by
a word processor’s spell checker, not recognised or contained in the program’s own
A simple and
ideally memorable sequence of two or three key-strokes, used to invoke a
frequently used action or activity within a program or application
scheme used reduce the amount of data in a file by discarding irrelevant or
TIP OF THE WEEK
Here’s something else you can do to help speed up and simplify the
transfer process, get rid of all of the rubbish in your General Data folders.
This means being ruthless and deleting all of those fuzzy, dark and out of
focus images in the Pictures folder, unplayable tracks in your music
collection, and old program downloads you’ll never need again. You should also
get rid of the duplicates, exact copies of files, which were created accidentally
or when moving things around. One easy way to do that is to use a freeware
program called HD Cleaner,
which has a duplicate file remover utility.
Don't forget, there's a
full archive of previous Boot Camp Top Tips at www.pctoptips.co.uk
© R. Maybury 2007, 1107
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