Migrating smoothly from your old computer to a new computer* - Part 3

Put a few hours aside.

In my experience the average basic migration takes about 2 hours.

HOWEVER, everyone’s is different and there are LOTS of VARIABLES that impact on this e.g.

  • Attempting data recovery from old backup systems of an indeterminate state = slower migration.

  • Thousands of photos on an old slow machine = a SLOWER migration.

  • Not having disks and other necessary items handy = slower migration

  • Not having logins and passwords ready = slower migration

  • Having to download lots of software over slow internet = slower migration

Avoid interruptions

Often people think that business and life can continue while the migration takes place.

  • It can but it takes longer and if you are paying for the job to be done, it will cost more.

  • False starts and re-starts because you/we aren’t paying attention consume time and money

  • Customers arriving, other trades people etc., also interrupt and make the job take longer.

  • Your IT person WILL need information and “things” from you during the process e.g. what username? What password, where is this? Where is that?

Interruptions introduce mistakes.

Have paper and a pen ready.

You will need to make note of things; be it new passwords, things that need following up etc.

Where things used to be, where they are now.

How things used to be done, how they have to be done now etc.

Once the migration is done you should try to “live” entirely on your new machine BUT with your old one still available, and to hand, if you hit a roadblock.

Make notes on the gaps while using your new machine for the next week or so.

You will more than likely hit the odd bump and not know how to do something on your new PC that was easy on the old one.

Often you’ll fix or find the way as you familiarise yourself with the machine, but if you don’t the noted gaps can be plugged with a little follow-up help from your IT person.

There may be some data that didn’t come across because we didn’t know we needed it or where it was.

As time goes by your old computer will be retired completely. You can forget about it for now, but you can’t just “chuck it out”, and maybe you shouldn’t…

While your old PC may have been a pain, it may be worth keeping as an emergency machine.

After all it is already set up the way you like.

If this sounds like a good idea to you, then beware that you should turn it on from time to time BEFORE it is needed in a crisis.

Old machines and machines left OFF for long periods can often fail the moment they are turned on again.

Your old machine will still have needs – automatic updates, anti-virus updates etc. Do you want to bother with that pain and cost?

Re-purposing your old machine can often give it some new life.

Re-imaging the machine like it was new is often fairly straightforward and not too costly. But older machines can be a costly.

Attempting to install a new operating system on an old machine may not be possible or render elements of it unusable.

If the machine is not leaving your house, or your family, then allowing it to be used as a “kids machine” is often a lot cheaper than letting ANYONE use your new computer. Trust me.

Just giving it a lighter, less critical load may also mean it isn’t frustrating and potentially of some use.

When it does come time to get rid of it, don’t just send it to the tip.

Even if the machine doesn’t turn on your data will mostly likely be easily accessible.

Yours wouldn’t be the first case I’ve had where a “dead machine’s” data got harvested by someone scrounging at the tip.

Ask your IT person how to thoroughly destroy the computer’s hard disk so that your data stays private.

Ask your IT person about recycling and SECURE erasing of your hard disk WITHOUT destroying it. Sometimes, just sometimes, your old PC can be used by a charity.

That should be about it. Now it is just a matter of getting on with life on your new computer. It will be different at first, but much better in the long run.

Here I’ve focused on moving from one computer to another, there can be lots more involved with a migration, for example, physical relocation or networking migrations.

Lastly, don’t feel overwhelmed and tempted to listen to offers of “One Touch” and “Simple, Complete Migrations”.

Some software and hardware vendors will attempt make migration look magical and simple. They’re misrepresenting the truth and often the gaps that they leave after a “simple” migration are more painful than having just done a bit of homework first for yourself.

Happy Computing.

David Moore – PC Wrangling at I Hate My PC.

*Individual needs and requirements will vary. You should seek specific advice for your context. Advice provided here is generic and indicative only.


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