New Computer? Be prepared…

I have spent much of the past week getting ready to use and then implementing a new computer. I have been reminded of a few things as I have gone through this process and thought I would share them with you just in case you are getting ready to go to a new machine any time soon.

This is not my first time changing machines. Over the past 30+ years, I have initiated the use of many new computers. As I have gotten older, I have become less good at making the changes and adaptations that must occur in this process. In fact, the last time I got a new desktop computer, I was so loathe to go through the time-consuming process of installing and setting up everything anew that I used a “suitcase” service to backup my old machine and setup the new computer from the image that had been created. As a result, certain registry entries were never properly initiated. I never had a working CD reader/writer in the last computer . . . even though three have been installed. I had mysterious failures and the blue screen of death way too often to make me happy. I won’t bore you with more details; just know that this shortcut method did not work to maximize my use of my new computer, but it did save me time initially.

Accordingly, here are my suggestions about going to a new computer.

  1. Don’t use the shortcut methods. They may save time at the front end but they will waste your time maddeningly over the years of your use of the new computer.
  2. Do make a complete list of all the programs you use on your current computer.
  3. Make sure you have installation CDs and license codes, or that you have downloaded the installer software for your programs to another computer on your network or with which you can share your new computer in order to get setup. Again, be sure you have the license codes somewhere other than on your current machine.
  4. Once you have made your list, check again. I was amazed at all the little programs I have downloaded over the years that are crucial to my day-to-day functioning. Do you use a zip program or a pdf creator/viewer or a screen clipping program? Do you have certain simple games that you enjoy for a quick break occasionally? Do you have gadgets or scratch pads or sticky notes or calendars that you rely on? Make a list and find the source of the programs before you make your switch.
  5. It is not usually necessary to have an expert set up your new computer for you, but it is very nice if you have the option of their assistance with installing the operating system and the larger/more complicated of your programs. If you are getting a Windows-based computer and buying Microsoft Office, having someone else install those programs for you can be a big time saver.
  6. Even if someone else installs these for you, you will still need to set up all your personalizations and special configurations. Your Favorites will be missing, so, if they are important to you print out lists of these things while you are creating your master setup list.
  7. If it is possible to continue using your current computer while you are setting up the new one, do so. That way you will be able to continue your work and productivity while all those installation programs are running.

Remember, your new computer is likely to be faster and to have some wonderful innovations that you have been anticipating with excitement. Don’t let yourself get so bogged down in the setup that you forget to enjoy all the new features and power!

Do you have a new computer story that you would like to share? Have you come up with some additional tips for getting started with a new machine that might be a help to someone who reads this blog? Please share your comments below. Thanks for reading.

0 thoughts on “New Computer? Be prepared…

  • Ug. I find new computers to be very intimidating. Earlier this year, my laptop, the one that housed my life, died. I was crushed. Luckily, the guy at the Apple store was magically able to retrieve most of my files and photos. My laptop was returned to me a week later with an entirely new hard drive. Totally awesome, but…I’d lost my licensing number and disc for the Microsoft Office Suite. This led me to discover Open Office, a free suite similar to the Microsoft one that I downloaded immediately. It’s pretty rad. And that, lovely aunt, is my story.

    • Love it when my family comments! Sorry for your loss, but always glad when one loss leads to a real find. Seth uses Open Office and likes it a lot. Thanks for reading and for sharing your story, my dear niece.

  • Dan Nommensen says:

    This is really great timing – my new computer arrived today! I’m taking your advice. I’ve also learned to take a screen shot of my desktop so I can set up my icons in a similar way. I would have forgotten about my favorites – I’ll maybe take a screen shot of those so I don’t waste paper :). Thanks Kathy!

    • Outstanding! I know lots of people get new computers over the holidays or at the start of the new year. This is the first time I have done so. Glad the timing worked for you. Good luck with the migration.

  • I do have the luxury of continuing with the old computer while migrating, so I have elected a triage method of migration – most frequently used & important first, then other programs later. I ditto Kathy’s experience with ‘suitcase migration’ and would add that relatively inexpensive migration help is also problematic. Do not underrate your own expertise in setting up the programs that you use.

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