Tag Archives: pc conversion

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.

My business computer upgrade choice

I have been needing to upgrade my office desktop for some time, , , I’m ashamed to tell you how old it is. The problem was everything worked and my philosophy of “If it ain’t broke, , , don’t fix it.”

Please excuse my southern heritage slang, , , “ain’t” is proper English in Tennessee and surrounding states.

The other problem was I dreaded, , , literally DREADED the thought of going through a system conversion. What a pain!

Then it hit me, , , my whole business is on this system , , , I can’t afford for this old server to conk out on me, , , better do something before it is too late. I already knew I had used my Dell desktop much longer than I should have.

What to do, , , time to decide what I need in my office, and what I want.

Here is what I decided from a non-technical point of view:

  • Fast processing speed with multiple programs running simultaneously
  • Large disk capacity
  • Multiple USB ports
  • Good handling of graphics, , , I use lots of graphics in my business
  • Multiple monitor capability, , , a “battle station console” for the challenging work I do
  • Microsoft Office 2010 (now is the time to upgrade)
  • An operating system that works (hated VISTA)
  • My personal data files from my DELL desktop
  • My Outlook file from my DELL desktop
  • Several software products loaded onto my DELL desktop
  • Easy setup and portability

I’ve been thinking through these issues for some time and the conclusion I came up with is that I need to replace my very reliable DELL desktop (which was a race horse when I bought it, but a snail today) with a robust laptop.

I don’t really plan to take this laptop on long trips to Dubai or Africa, but I do plan to take it to our Camp Liberty when we decide to spend a week or two down on the Buffalo River, , , we also call this “MDE West”. I have a satellite dish for Internet connection so I can work just as well down there as I can here in my office. It will be so much better being able to have my entire office with me when we are at the camp.

This means I need a very reliable laptop and one with a reasonably big screen.

My choice – a Lenovo ThinkPad W520.

I just completed the conversion last night and have been using my new “office laptop server” for a couple of days. VERY IMPRESSED !!

In my next post, I’ll outline the steps I took to completely migrate to my new system, , , it was much less hassle than I thought it would be and could not be happier with my setup.

The main reason I went with Lenovo is because I have had a Lenovo X60s for several years. I take it everywhere with me so it has probably logged well over 100,000 miles and has stood up to the travel test admirably. I like the small footprint of the X60s and the light weight for travel.

I find Lenovo laptops to be built sturdy and capable of handling true travel bumps and knocks you go through, , , I have had problems with two other popular brands over the years, , , disk problems and external power connection issues. No issues of any kind with my Lenovo X60s, , , “knock on wood”.

For my office, I need something a bit more robust than the X60s. The only major downside of the X60s is that it came with VISTA (have hated VISTA the whole time, but not enough to replace it) and isn’t powerful enough to be a true desktop replacement.

My initial thoughts of the new Lenovo W520 laptop:

  • Fast, , , especially compared to my Dell desktop
  • Screen is bright, sufficient size, and HD clear
  • Keyboard is one of the best in the industry, although I’ll use a full size wireless keyboard and mouse most of the time
  • 3 USB ports and two are USB 3.0 plus all are easy to get to
  • Multiple monitor capability
  • I’m liking Windows 7
  • Plenty of disk capacity with 500GB plus another 500GB on an external hard drive
  • Setup is easier than what I remember with my Dell desktop simply because of the weight, access to monitor port, etc. There is much to be said about “portability”.
  • Feels like a genuine desktop type of power
  • Did I say it is “FAST”? I spent a little extra money because this is for my office and business, , , felt the extra power and speed was worth the cost. So far, very glad I did, , , if only I could type faster.

I still have a few things to do to get my office computing environment completely where I want it but the “heavy lifting is completed”. Next steps are:

  • Order the docking station and a new 21″ monitor
  • Setup my “battle station console” with three monitors

In my next post, I’ll walk you through the migration steps I took to get fully functional with “what I had” plus the “new environment” I want for our MDE Enterprises office environment.