How to transfer from your old computer to a new one...

Posted By : Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on October 2, 2000

Question

I am about to buy a new computer and want to transfer my data, scanner and printer from my old system. Any advice on making this go smoothly would be appreciated!

-Marsha

Answer

This question was answered on October 2, 2000. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.


The constant advances in computer hardware and software invariably puts us all in the position of having to figure out how to get the old and the new to work together Not only is the computer hardware being changed, most likely the Operating System (Windows, MacOS, etc.) is different, which adds to the complication The greater the age difference between the two systems, the higher the likelihood of a problem, because more things are different.

Here are a few tips for increasing your chances of a successful transition:

Don’t load old drivers on your new system

One of the most common mistakes that can be made during the transition is trying to load “drivers” (software programs that control hardware) from your old system onto your new system For instance, you may have purchased a printer or scanner several years ago when Windows 95 was the current operating system If your new system came loaded with Windows 98, 2000 or ME and you attempt to install a printer or scanner driver that was intended for Windows 95, you can potentially corrupt the entire system Everything from lock-ups to “illegal operations” to the B.S.O.D (Blue Screen Of Death) can occur from this simple attempt to get your printer or scanner to interface with the new system The best way to avoid these kinds of problems is to download the most current driver from the manufacturer’s (of the printer or scanner) website instead of loading from a CD that you have had in a drawer for the past few years.

Locate your original program disks

Another area that causes many users “heartburn” is getting their old programs to run on the new computer Unlike the old DOS programs that could simply be copied from one machine to another, Windows and MacOS programs should be installed on the new computer so that the system can be initialized to run that program The most effective method of avoiding problems is to install the program from the original disks and transfer just the data files to the new system For instance, if your old system had Microsoft Office installed, you would install from the program disk on the new system and then copy the contents of the “My Documents” folder (or wherever you stored your data files) from the old system to the new If you have a program that has an internal backup procedure built in, such as Intuit’s Quicken, run a backup procedure on the old system, install the program to the new system and then run the restore procedure on the new system from the backup disks that you created on your old system

Don’t load a program or a device unless you really plan to use it

It’s very easy to think that since the new system has so much more capacity and performance that you should be able to load anything and everything that you can get your hands on Chances are, your old system had some problems, so don’t transfer them to your new system Not only will you likely slow this new “hotrod” down, but the possibility of conflicts goes up exponentially with the addition of each new program or device

The minimalists approach to computing is one that will generally save you lot’s of time when trying to merge the old with the new!

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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on October 2, 2000

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