I’m switching from my 10-year-old Windows XP desktop to my new Dell laptop with Windows 7 Pro and XP mode. I’ve read your instructions on how to find and transfer my OE email files and address book. What is the best to way transfer all of my data documents and program files from my old machine to my new virtual machine? What else besides My Documents and program files should I transfer to end up with more and less what I knew and loved on my old desktop?
In this excerpt from Answercast #63, I discuss transferring one computer system over to another.
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Transferring files and programs
The data files are simple.
My Documents might be one case where I would not just copy the entire folder; I would actually carefully examine what’s in that folder and copy over the files that you recognize and that you need.
Programs need installation
Programs are more problematic.
You cannot just copy over program files. Windows doesn’t work that way. That will fail to copy all sorts of important settings and other things that may have been installed when the program was set up. The only reliable way to transfer programs from one computer to another is to reinstall them on the new computer.
What that means is that you’ll want to reinstall them on your Windows XP mode machine from the original installation media or the original downloads that you (hopefully) have saved.
Data and programs are different
Data files are easy. Like I said, just copy over the files that you know that you need. But the programs are an entirely different ball of wax.
I would strongly suggest that you make sure you’ve got a good inventory of the programs that you want and have the original installation media for all of those programs, including any product keys or unlock codes to activate the product once it’s installed.
Next from Answercast #63 – Why am I getting spam that appears to be from my IP address?