How to Migrate Your Files to a New Computer
You can upgrade your system and still keep your older files and software
When it comes to technology, it’s great when it works well, and it’s a pain when it doesn’t. But no matter what, tools like computers are an integral part of life these days. With technology continuously advancing, tech experts advise that users upgrade computers every three to five years to stay on pace with programs they use.
From an outside perspective, getting a new computer is exciting. However, we know the idea of saying goodbye to a trusted device is challenging, and the task of transferring files from one computer to another is daunting. We have some tips to simplify the process.
If you’re ready to make a move to an upgraded computer, be sure to put these considerations on your list.
Clean house. No matter how long you have had a computer, it is common to have some old files and programs that you no longer need or use. Take the time to delete old files and programs that are no longer relevant. This will free up some of the space on your new computer. While going through files, take note of any items that you don’t necessarily need to delete, but that you don’t access often. This type of file could be archived on a flash drive or in the cloud for easy access instead of transferred to the new device.
Search your old system. Thoroughly search your old hard drives and common file folders such as Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos for files and programs you want to keep. Remember, too, to look through your internet browser for website bookmarks you have saved.
Create a backup. This step is the most critical and most overlooked. Before migrating, back up the existing computer. This way, if something goes wrong while transferring the files, you still have access to them and can try again. Otherwise, you could lose everything. We recommend creating a backup of the entire computer, including operating system, data and files. Thanks to cloud-based software, backing up is easy. Software such as Carbonite or tools such as Google Drive are dependable digital solutions.
Create a list of product keys. Before you clear the existing computer, create a list of paid software that requires product keys to activate such as Microsoft or Adobe. Check these applications to find the keys and add them to the list so you can enter them on the new computer without having to repurchase the programs.
Take screenshots. Though you might be able to easily migrate your favorite apps, there’s no guarantee—once you reinstall them on the new system—that your current settings will be set where you had them. One way to make the transition smoother is to take a screenshot from your app’s settings menus so you can easily see how you had the program set up on your old system.
Decide on a migration method. There are several migration options you can choose from, including manually, using a built-in tool, or migration software.
Manual migration allows you to choose which files and programs to transition to the new computer. This can be accomplished with a network solution that enables you to copy files through the sharing option on both computers or with a USB cable that connects to the two devices.
Built-in migration tools are usually the easiest to use and come pre-installed by the manufacturer on devices. The Windows version is Easy Transfer, and the Mac version is Migration Assistant. The tools walk you through the process step by step, so you don’t miss anything.
Migration software is third-party software that will automatically move all of your files, programs, and settings to the new computer.
Create another backup. Once you have successfully transferred all of the data, remember to take the time to create another backup of the new computer. It is a good idea to back up your computer weekly or monthly, depending on how much you rely on it. Once again, online backup solutions such as Carbonite are safe, reliable and secure. For businesses, you can have your entire IT network managed Arvig, which includes backup, disaster recovery and protection from cyber threats.
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Deauthorize apps on old devices. Some apps only allow you to install them on a set number of devices. Be sure to deactivate your profile on the older device so you can easily transfer the app to the new device.
Make a list. Finally, make a list of any hurdles you faced along the way. Did you forget your passwords, not have product keys, or overlook valuable files? (In the case of passwords, software such as LastPass can manage all your passwords in one app.) Take steps to manage this information for the next time you have to move to a new computer.
What to expect
Though your new device is sure to look familiar once you’ve finished moving over your old files, chances are, the new computer or device might be using a newer operating system, which is sure to come with a new look and an upgraded user experience complete with features you might not be familiar with. You’ll want to review the operating systems user guide for information about how to use your new system and locate your old data.
Finally, if you need help, ask a tech professional. They might even be able to take care of the whole process for you.