Daily Archives: October 23, 2011

My simple system migration steps

In a recent post I wrote about how I decided to replace my office desktop with a laptop. If you recall, I put this project off as long as I could because I dreaded the conversion effort.

The great news is that the conversion was not as much of a pain as I thought it would be, , , so thought I would share what I did. The other good news is that I really like my new office setup.

What I did not tell you is that I completely renovated my home office where I hang out and do much of my work. When I say “renovate”, this means I took my complete office apart and put it all back together again in order to replace carpet with hardwood floors.

I was dreading this project so much, , , but once started I essentially rebuilt my office, , , did some rearranging to give me more desk space. Maybe I will share this part in a later post. If you spend as much time in front of your PC as I do it is important to make your environment functional and comfortable.

Back to my office computer system upgrade project, , ,

There were several things I wanted to accomplish in setting up my new office computing environment. I’ve managed to do most of it in a reasonably short amount of time and relatively easy process.

My goals were to create a highly functional computing environment:

  • Simpler to manage
  • More portable
  • Able to create a “battleship console” environment with several monitors
  • Access all my personal data files from my old desktop
  • Access saved email messages from my old desktop
  • Use my wireless printer and other peripherals (scanner, etc.)
  • Upgrade to current OS and Microsoft Office applications
  • Transport several key software applications I use every day
  • More power, , , more speed, , , stability and reliability

Here are the steps I went through:

  1. Purchased a Lenovo ThinkPad W520 laptop with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010 preloaded.
  2. Setup the laptop, , , pretty much as simple as taking it out of the box and plugging it in.
  3. Setup e-mail and accessed my wireless router, , , very simple as long as you know the information like passwords, WEP key, etc.
  4. Activated MS Office 2010, , , part of the setup prompts.
  5. Added my wireless printer/copier/fax to the Lenovo laptop and tested printing, , , piece of cake since the Lenovo found the printer automatically.
  6. Copied my personal files from my Dell desktop to a USB backup drive. To give you an idea of how old this desktop was, it took 21 hours (YES, , , 21 HOURS) to copy 46GB of personal files.
  7. Copied my Outlook .pst file to the USB backup drive, , , another 1.5 hours to do this.
  8. Uploaded the personal files to the new Lenovo system, , , a total of 30 minutes, , , WOW, , , already impressed. A key thing I did with this step was to set up an “archive directory” in my C-Drive file structure. Over time your file folders and structure gets a bit convoluted or messy, , , with the new file folders separated from the old files folders, I can simplify my file storage architecture but still retrieve old files when needed. It also allows me to only worry about backing up the newer files created since I now have multiple copies of all the files that were on the Dell system.
  9. Uploaded the Outlook .pst file to the Lenovo, , , 2 or 3 minutes. I also kept this .pst file as a separate Outlook file and now I can access both new email message activity “post conversion” and old email activity “pre-conversion”. Keeping these two files separate allows me to reorganize and simplify new messages but still retrieve the old messages when needed, , , all from the same Outlook screen.
  10. Created a “Mike Window”. This is a user window I use to place icons of all the software programs I use, , , it is always open and makes it easy to launch a new program when I need to.
  11. Loaded the key programs I use onto the Lenovo and added their icons to my “Mike Window”. Click on the image for a better look. At this point, I’ve only added the essential programs I use, , , more will be added as needed.
  12. Added my professional microphone and audio software to the Lenovo.
  13. Added my scanner to the Lenovo.

What is really neat is being able to access both new files or email messages as well as any of the older files or email messages even though I keep them separated, , , see steps 8 and 9.

The conversion took me about 2 days to do it all, but 21 hours was in copying personal files and folders to a USB drive. I also took my time and gave some thought about how I want to operate and how I want to access new and old data.

I’m extremely pleased with the new setup and think it is going to improve my productivity quite a lot.