The First Eight Things to Do with Your New Computer

Congratulations! You got a new computer!

Of course you want to jump right in and start using it right now, but if you can hold on a bit, there are a few tasks you might want to do first. When all heck breaks loose later and the machine dies, the software crashes, or you get a massive malware infection, the steps you take now can save you lots of time and grief later.

Every day, people lose data, precious memories, and valuable time because they didn’t take a few simple steps to prepare.

And by far the best time to prepare is at the very beginning.

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Restoring an Image Backup from One Computer to Another

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If I want to restore an image backup from a previous computer, complete with its operating system, onto another computer with a different operating system, will the operating system on the backup be allowed to install and override the operating system on the other computer? If so, how do I get around this?

It’s not a question of “allowing”.

Restoring a full image backup will completely overwrite everything that exists on the hard disk, replacing whatever was there before, no matter what it was. The previous operating system, along with everything else on the hard disk, will be overwritten and replaced with the contents of the image backup.

The real question is: will the result work?

Most of time, the answer is no.

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Can I Combine Two Drives into One?

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I have a PC, which I’ve upgraded about as much as I can, and I’m just looking to get a new one. My current PC has two hard drives: operating system drive and a secondary storage drive of 256 gigabytes, approximately. So would it be possible to transfer the data from both hard drives on to one… say, one terabyte drive installed into the new machine?

As long as the new hard drive has enough room for everything, you can absolutely transfer data from both hard drives onto it.

I want to cover the process, how I’d go about doing it, and some of the options for actually getting the data transferred.

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How do I restore my backup to a new machine?

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My wife’s PC, which was running Vista, died. Fortunately, we have a backup hard drive. We’re replacing our old computer with a new machine running Windows 7. Can we do a complete restore using the new machine? Or will that overwrite Windows 7 as the operating system? How do we restore all of her content including the applications that were on the old machine? Do we just copy folders? Sorry, but I’m a Mac guy and I know very little about PCs.

There are several approaches to restoring what you have from a backup. Unfortunately, when you’re restoring to a new machine,  things aren’t nearly as clean as you might want them to be.

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Do You Recommend a Transfer Cable for Transferring Files from My Old Computer to My New One?

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I plan to buy a new computer running with Windows 7. My present (old) computer has Windows XP. As an optional accessory for the new computer, I can purchase a Belkin Transfer Cable (which comes with its own software) to transfer everything from the old computer to the new one.

Is this what you recommend? Or do you recommend something else?

Typically, I don’t recommend this kind of approach.

I know that software exists that claims to transfer all of your installed programs, settings, and so forth. I don’t have a lot of experience with them, but my understanding is that they are sometimes incomplete and can be problematic. Again, I’m not saying yea or nay to the Belkin software. I just don’t recommend it because it’s not typically something that I trust with a transfer as major as going from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Instead, I suggest doing a couple of different things.

Read moreDo You Recommend a Transfer Cable for Transferring Files from My Old Computer to My New One?