Digital Heart Transplant

If you're wondering how to transplant your precious digital data from your old PC to your new system, read this as Windows shows you how…

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By  Cleona Godinho Published  December 1, 2005

|~||~||~|Purchasing a brand new PC can be both exciting and unnerving. While a new system means more speed, a larger hard drive and a spanking new case, it also means having to say goodbye to the familiarity of your old machine. Don't fret though, as you can have the best of both worlds by combining the performance and power of your new PC with the heart, soul, and content of your old PC, using a simple migration tool. Planning pays... Before we dive straight into migrating your data and settings, let's first lay down some important ground rules. Before migration, you first need to decide which transfer method you plan to use. The most common transfer option is a network or laplink cable. You can also transfer your data to your new PC using an external hard disk, flash drive, or by simply saving it to DVD. If you have more than 1GB of data to transfer, we suggest you use a network connection as this will send your data much faster. However, before you do this make sure you have a network card installed on both old and new PCs. Once you've decided on a connection, start up your old system followed by your new one. First, check for anti-virus updates online and make sure you run a virus scan, as this will prevent nasty viruses sneaking onto your new PC. Next, delete unwanted files by running Disk Cleanup within Programs/Accessories/System Tools. It's also a good idea to fragment your disk to further speed up transfer rates. When you've finished spring-cleaning and tweaking, close all open applications, anti-virus apps and anything running in your system tray. Also disable screensavers, as well as any personal firewall or internet security software you may be running. Do the same on your new system before you begin migrating your data. Do it the FAST way... For the purpose of this workshop, we have chosen to talk you through Window XP's 'File and Settings Transfer Wizard' (FAST). This tool helps you transfer all your program settings, documents, music, photos and PC settings from your old PC to your new one. Internet Explorer and Outlook Express settings and e-mails can also be transferred using this tool. However, the FAST wizard doesn’t actually let you transfer full programs, which means you will have to install all your old programs on your new PC manually. If you want to transfer settings for a particular program, make sure you first install that particular program on your new PC. For instance, if you plan on transferring *.ra or *.rm (Real Player) files, make sure you have Real Player installed on your new PC before you begin moving these across. To begin using Window XP's migration tool, go to your old PC and go to Start/Programs/Accessories/System tools, followed by the 'File and Settings Transfer Wizard' tab. If your old PC is running an older version of Windows such as 95 or 98, save the FAST Wizard from your new PC on a flash drive or CD and run it on your old one. To do this, go to your new PC and open the 'File and Settings Transfer Wizard' and select the 'New Computer' option. Next, select the 'I want to create a Wizard disk in the following drive' and your flash drive or CD drive and click Next, followed by OK. Now, go to your old PC and insert the Wizard Disk. Next, on your old PC click Start/Run and type: \FASTwiz (e.g. e:\FASTwiz). Once the wizard starts, click Next. Now, select the 'Old computer' option and click Next. Next, select a transfer method of your choice. For the purpose of this workshop, we have chosen to use a flash drive, which falls under the 'Floppy drive or other removable media' option. Now click Next and select which type of data you'd like to transfer. In the right pane of the window you'll see a list of all files and settings that will be transferred. Note: the transfer list does not list all your file names but the extension of the file instead. For instance, if you want to transfer all your Microsoft Word and Notepad documents, you should make sure that *.doc and *.txt are a part of your transfer list. Have it your way...... If all your settings and files are not specified in the transfer list you can modify the it. (Note: FAST doesn’t transfer your web browser favourites by default.) Therefore, click 'Let me select a custom list of files and settings' then Next. You may now add your web browser favourites (see step 3). To do this, click Add Folder and navigate to the folder containing your favourites. For Internet Explorer this can be found in C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Favourites. You can also add and modify other settings, folders, files and file types. Once you are satisfied with the list, click Next and Windows XP will transfer all the settings and files into one *.dat (data) file on your flash drive or chosen storage media. Making the move...... Next, go to your new PC, insert your flash drive or optical disc and open the FAST Wizard and select' New Computer' and click Next. Now select the 'I don't need the Wizard Disk' option and click Next. Select your chosen transfer method and click Next again. The wizard will now transfer all your settings and files from your storage media to your new PC. After the wizard transfers all your data, click Finish and restart your PC. All your old settings, files and folders should now be applied to your new PC. HOLD ON! Before you dump your old pc... 1. Make sure that you use your new PC for at least a week to check that you have all the data you need. 2. Completely wipe your hard drive to prevent others from gaining access to your data. We suggest using Summit Computer's free Hard Disk Scrubber 2, which is available from Or... 3. At the very least, delete all the internet and Windows logs and passwords on your old PC by using a program such as Privacy Eraser Pro, a free trial of which is available at ||**||Recommended Migration Apps |~||~||~|If you'd like to buy a more comprehensive PC migration tool with which you can transfer applications and generate reports, check out these Windows recommended favourites: - Move me - Alohabob PC Relocator - Easy PC Transfer||**||

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