6 Ways To Prepare For A New Computer

Getting a new computer is exciting. Unfortunately, there is a lot of work getting it set up the way you want – and that’s only the installing software part!

When expecting a new computer, I start preparing a few days in advance by backing up my files. I use this procedure when backing up too. I do it all manually. That way I know what I have and where it is, and get everything installed in short order. I’m excited about a new computer, I want the transfer to go as easy as possible, and I like my computer set up a certain way – I’m picky. Taking these steps helps to ensure that process.

I’m working with the Windows XP operating system – I am not upgrading the operating system. This procedure will work with XP and below, for sure. The master hard drive is 80 gigs, the second hard drive is 30 gigs. I’m getting a 500 gig hard drive (which absolutely makes me swoon at the thought! I keep having flashbacks back to a time when I thought 1.2 gigs was a huge amount of storage space) in the new computer. Once the new computer is set up, I’ll transfer the files on the 30 gig to the 80 gig, since this is a newer hard drive.

Clean off the desktop. I tend to store most everything I’m currently working on, on my desktop. I do this because it’s easily accessible and can be trashed or moved quickly when no longer needed.

I move everything from the desktop to either my second hard drive or a thumb drive. Everything on the desktop will be put in to a folder, named desktopdate (with today’s date and year) and moved over to the second hard drive. I take this opportunity to organize my files as well, as they tend to become scattered.

Screenshots of the program menu. I make screen shots of my program menu, so I know what I’ve installed, and want to install on the new computer. I could write it down, but a screenshot is easier, and I don’t need to install a graphics program – I can use Microsoft Paint to view them.

Quick launch menu shortcuts. I keep several shortcuts to programs I use daily on a Quick launch menu for easy access. I would normally get these shortcuts thru the registry, but my computer shuts down before I can find them while searching the registry, so manual copy and paste it is.

Make a note of software customizations. I like to customize when installing software. I may run the software from my C drive, but I’ll store any backups from the program on the second drive. I do not use the “My” folder features – since these are on my C drive, I’m afraid of losing them if the master drive fails. So I have the download folder and a documents folder on my second drive and this is where everything goes when saving. If I have a hard drive crash, these files are safe. My second drive has held out for years.

Application Data and Local settings. I copy these folders to the second hard drive, but if you don’t want to, you don’t have to. I use some programs that do not require the registry to run, and all I need to do is copy these programs back to the C drive on the new computer – no installation necessary.

Mail and browser settings. My most important files are my Thunderbird and my Firefox settings. I have no desire to lose these 2 things – I could deal with anything else but this. I leave them to the very last minute because I don’t want to lose one piece of email, a cookie, or my browser history. I also install email and browser first, and I can pick up where I left off, without missing a beat. Everything else can wait, if need be.

These are stored in the Application Data folders, but I copy these individually so I have a recent backup of them.

Over time I’ve created CD’s of the programs I absolutely cannot live without. These are separated and marked so I can install them quickly after my new computer arrives and is set up.