General Question

Jeruba's avatar

Do you have a checklist or drill for getting on board with a new computer?

Asked by Jeruba (52823points) January 24th, 2022

When you have to move into a new computer, do you have a standard routine for getting everything transferred over or reinstalled? I fear and dread the prospect almost as much as I fear and dread having the current laptop fail on me.

Is there a Best Way to approach this? My current laptop is four years old, so I’ll probably be in that position sooner rather than later, and my husband is no longer here to coach me and hold my hand.

This question is piggybacking on @jca2’s question here.

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18 Answers

Sam4One's avatar

No need to follow routine or anything. Laptops generally comes with OS and all the necessary programs pre installed. So you just need to backup/transfer your personal/work files into the new system. That way you can continue where you left off. You can also remove the hard drive of the old laptop for save keeping.

YARNLADY's avatar

We use one drive, the cloud and copy to disc or use a cable to copy straight across.

Caravanfan's avatar

I have everything backed up on Backblaze. So I get the data from there. I reinstall all my programs.

ragingloli's avatar

All my data is stored on a separate hard drive and NAS, so all I do is make a list of programs that I need to install.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I do use cloud storage but I also have a couple of big drives that back everything up. When it is time for a new machine and reinstalling programs I only do the bare essentials like Chrome, office etc.. It’s best not to load programs on a computer unless you really need them. I will typically build but if you’re buying a new one it’s going to come with a bunch of bloatware that’s not so easy to remove but is worth your time to do so.

flutherother's avatar

I replaced my still working PC before it failed as its operating system was no longer supported. The transition wasn’t as bad as I feared. I had everything backed up on an external hard drive and I could refer back to my old PC to remind myself of my settings and favourites etc.

My new PC didn’t have Word or Excel pre-installed and I didn’t have the product keys so I ended up having to buy new versions, which was an unexpected expense.

Another issue was that all my passwords had to be reset but this was only a minor inconvenience as where I hadn’t written them down, it was easy to set up new ones.
On the upside my new PC was much faster than my old one and I am very pleased with it.

Lightlyseared's avatar will download and install most commonly used programs in one go. You pick what you want and let it do the rest. It’ll also say no to all the junk spam options for you as well which is quite handy.

janbb's avatar

I would pay someone from the Geek Squad or a savvy friend to help me. My hardware skills are zilch at this point.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I agree with the others about moving stuff over from other devices using backups.

The very first thing I do is go to Windows Settings and adjust the privacy settings. Windows ships with a lot of intrusive applications turned On in settings – things that suck up data and make it easier to be tracked.

I have to go practically every setting (especially APPS) and turn off the ‘give access’ configurations.

Then I go to Services.msc and turn off a whole slew of ‘services’ that they have set to run, which gobble up memory and processor and do nothing for me. (Example: I always turn off Windows Search. It is a pig of a program. There are better Search tools.)

Then I set myself up as an Administrator, so I can use my PC without being nagged,

Inspired_2write's avatar

Most software programs and photogrphs ( 3000 or more) I left on the old computer and use that one only for editing photographs with the old Photos software
program that is no longer available.

I have the new desk top computer with per-installed updated programs .

I have both computers seated side by side on my desk and can switch to either one for what ever task that is best to use on it.

I can also download from old computer the old pictures that were edited
( using the no longer found program) to an USB Drive and upload to new computer to continue upgraded Photo software ( new tools).

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

If I understand correctly, you have a laptop currently, and you store your files and pictures on it. If that is correct, I understand your fear. If that laptop fails, all the files will be lost.

You must then transfer those files to a new computer or figure out some other way to store them.

There are 2 basic ways to alleviate that fear of the hassle of transferring or of losing the files. You can get an external hard drive, or you can get online storage, also called cloud storage.

An external hard drive from what I understand is simple. It comes with instructions. You plug it into your laptop and follow the instructions to transfer everything to it. I’ve never used one, so I don’t know the steps you must take to work on a file stored on an external hard drive. I’m sure it comes with instructions.

I prefer to use cloud storage. There are many services who will store your files on their multiple computers to keep it safe for you, but you must pay them a small fee.

I have an annual subscription to Microsoft Office, and it includes free cloud storage, so I use that. You can buy storage from Google for a few dollars a month.

Using your internet connection, you follow the instructions from the cloud storage provider and transfer all your files to their computers. Later when you want to access a file, you open the app for the cloud storage, work on the file, save the changes, and then close the app. The file is always safe on their computers.

The advantage of cloud storage is that you can access your files from any device with an internet connection. I can see my files from my laptop, my tablet, and my smartphone.

For you, I think an external hard drive might be simplest. You buy it once, and you’re done. There are no monthly fees. I’m on a mobile device, so I can’t link to an example of an external hard drive. I suggest you go to Best Buy and ask someone to show them to you. They’ll be happy to help. You can also do a Google search for them.

Good luck.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Here are 2 examples of external hard drives. One is available on Amazon, and the other from Best Buy.

Amazon example

Best Buy example

If you use an external hard drive, you won’t have to worry about losing files in case of a computer crash. You can plug it into any computer and access the files. You also won’t have to transfer the files from one computer to a new computer when the time comes.

Zaku's avatar

Like @elbanditoroso , I first go through all the settings and change all the evil settings I can find to reduce the evil as much as I can.

Then I go through all the pre-installed crapware and shortcuts to terrible programs and uninstall as much of that as I can.

Then I look for any other annoying things to remove or change, and research the current version to see if there are any things I don’t know about the new OS version that I might not know about, that I can change or fix.

Then I try making a system backup of that clean / fixed state, if there is a reasonable way to do that.

Then I start moving over my data, and installing the software I want to use, starting with the things I need/want the most.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

What @Zaku mentioned: “I try making a system backup of that clean / fixed state”
Very important, at least to me to have a cleaned, configured OS backup. It’s worth the effort to learn how to do. I’ll add that I usually put my critical programs in that backup also.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Jeruba Many of the answers you are receiving on this thread are very good. They outline the steps you have to take to get rid of unwanted apps the computer manufacturers put on new laptops when they send them to retailers. They put these extraneous apps on computers in the hope you will use them allowing the manufacturers to gather data from your use that they can capitalize on. Unfortunately almost all manufacturers are guilty of this practice of loading a new laptop with junk.

In my research before buying a new laptop, I discovered that the Microsoft Surface Laptop is almost completely free of junk. Microsoft wants you to use their Office apps from which they will gather data to capitalize on. They don’t have to trick you into using junk.

Please note, Microsoft also makes a machine called simply a Microsoft Surface. This is a tablet that you can purchase an extra keyboard that will attach to the tablet making it like a laptop. I’m not talking about a tablet.

Here is an example of a good quality machine that will be powerful enough for most use. This page on Amazon will allow you to play with the specifics of the configuration of the machine and buy exactly what you want. You can change the type of processor and the memory resulting in a change in price. The example I’ve linked is their low end. This low end is more expensive than many machines on the market, but it has no nefarious apps you must disable. It’s a great machine for peace of mind for someone who doesn’t want to worry about disabling junk apps right at the beginning.

There are many more variations of the Microsoft Surface Laptop that you can browse on Amazon or by doing a Google search for one.

Good luck.

jca2's avatar

I only use my home computer for email and internet and photos. I keep passwords, login information, account information and magazine subscription information in a paper notebook so when I get a new computer, it’s just a matter of putting in the passwords for the first time.

I just get a basic laptop, usually from Costco. My last was a Lenovo and my next will be, too. They’re only a few hundred dollars. I don’t use them for any graphics or office work, but if I wanted to, they’d be fine.

Inspired_2write's avatar

I wasa told by a good source that to unplug the external hardrive when NOT using it, as yes it can get viruses etc

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