New Year, New Computer

I have been putting it off for almost three years. Over the holidays I bit the bullet, and set up a new computer. It’s faster. Has a bigger CPU. Better graphics. More hard drives. Yay.

The problem with changing your computer system, of course, is migrating everything from one to the other in a way that doesn’t cause heartache or pain, or slow down production. Tricky.

There are as many ways to do this as there are people to tell you you’re doing it wrong. I’ll avoid that debate and just tell you what I did, because it works for me. On the original PC, I went through the Windows folder to see what programs are installed. I like to do this because this folder contains every program that was ever installed, even those that were deleted years ago. This helps ensure I don’t forget an obscure program I may later want, and I can recreate most of those programs on the new PC prior to migration. This saves a lot of downtime.

What I discovered was that there were some programs I would like to revisit, but a larger number I could happily lose, and just keep the core. That will help the new PC run faster. No bloat to slow it down. The new PC was a fresh install on a custom build. I’ll spare you the details.


I consolidated all the data files and documents from the old PC hard drives on to it’s C: drive, and with a sigh turned the old PC off for the last time. I took that drive and installed it in the new PC, gave it a new drive letter, and booted up. Boom. Instant temporary workstation.

This method provides a safe backup (on the original PC hard drives) while I’m working. Just in case anything gets fried. The configuration data and program settings for every program on the old PC are at my fingertips, should I need them. I can review everything including the system registry files, and work at leisure to recreate my working environment one program and folder at a time.

This seems an unnecessarily complicated method, but this is not my first rodeo. Over the decades I have bought many new computers. I learned the hard way not to take the easy route. Let’s just say I haven’t lost a file since the 80’s and my email archive goes back to the millennium. Not many can say that, though I guess I’m tempting fate saying it.

This manual approach works for me and my OCD, and down the line I know I won’t have the anguished forehead slapping moment experienced by many, that then call GYST for repairs and data recovery.


Because of the prep I did the migration process took an hour one evening. It’s been three weeks since transference. Zero business hours downtime: Priceless.

I have since consolidated all my hard drives and data, set up my backups. All programs I had not preinstalled are now installed and running as I want, including configuration – I cannot exaggerate how good it feels to open a program for the first time and find everything from music playlists to Lightroom presets, watermarks and even recent file histories are exactly where they should be.

Today, no issues having been found and all data migration complete, I reclaimed all that file space on the original PC hard drive. Taking ‘ownership’ I deleted the C:/Windows, Program Files, Users and other protected directories. This gave me one last check point. I like to be cautious with data.

That drive is 2 terabytes in size. I deleted almost half a terabyte of files. Along with all the other drives I have about 5Tb free space now. Room to breathe. Room for the future.

After throwing around all that data between a dozen drives, there was one final step. To empty the recycle bin. I just finished that. It is a sad feeling, watching the files disappear. I felt I was pulling the plug on a friend. We have been together for a long time.

763,127 files taking up 147Gb of space in the Recycle Bin. And that’s not even my personal best. Farewell, old PC. You and I produced some amazing things over the years. You will not be forgotten. Thank you.

This was the end of an era. But as is the way of these things, it’s the start of another. New beginnings.

With a new OS drive installed, the old PC has gone on to a better place, where it can live out its remaining days in peace. It will be productive for years to come and has a new lease of life. That makes me happy.

And I have a new PC to fill with graphics and animations and video, oh my! Onward…

Somewhere In Niagara: Gypsy Caravan

A beautiful sunrise. An old gypsy caravan. A meadow.
The sound of laughter, running water, geese. Peace.
What more could you want?

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Port Colborne marina and Welland canal entrance

Flight Over Port Colborne

A couple of weeks ago I took to the skies with Nikki and the friendly Jim Hutchinson, squadron pilot and flight trainer for our local air cadets, 79 Lynton Davies in Port Coborne. Into the blue, we spent a happy hour or so aloft seeing the Niagara region from entirely new angles as we took a flight over Port Colborne.

From our take-off point at the Dorothy Rungeling airport on River Road in Welland, we went South West to Mohawk Point and the lighthouse there before turning East for Port Colborne. After a couple of turns around the city we went East toward Point Abino, another lighthouse way point. Finally, we flew over a section of Brookfield road where an annual memorial was taking place for a cadet that lost his life there in a car accident three years ago. Jim dipped the wings in tribute as we passed overhead: He knew this cadet.

Jim is a highly experienced pilot and enjoys nothing more than getting airborne. His personality makes him a great guide, and his experience as a DJ shines through. He has a wealth of stories to share, and is a fount of knowledge about all things aviation and local history. We can’t thank him enough for taking us up and letting us share the clouds with him.

The Air Cadets

Jim is a proud advocate of the Air Cadet program, which he went through himself. Coming out the other side with his pilot’s license, he has been flying for decades now. He tries to go up at least once a week and gives back to the air cadet community by training the future pilots of 79 Lynton Davies squadron. The air cadet program has taken him and his trainees around the world. Nikki is an ex-cadet and recalls her time there fondly. There are worse ways for adolescents to spend their time. I can definitely recommend this as a way to channel youthful energy. If you know anyone that may be interested, the contact details for the Port Colborne air cadets are in the video itself. Check it out.


In the air, the cold made me keep the window of the single-engine aircraft firmly closed, though Jim said I could open it. Interestingly, it uses a similar twist lock to the old quarter-windows cars had back in the 60’s, when the plane was built. I wanted to poke my camera through that opening to get around the condensation and scratches on the dusty glass, but as cold as it was on the ground, a few thousand feet up it’s way colder. Hand wringing, foot stamping cold. Which reminds me, here’s a Top Tip: Don’t actually stamp your feet inside a training plane unless you want to give the pilot a coronary when you hit the dual pedals. Oh, how we laughed. Well, me. I laughed.

Next time, at Jim’s gratefully received invitation, we will do it in better weather. I look forward to some amazing photographs with that window open, when the sun isn’t playing hide and seek behind the snow clouds. We are looking at a spring flight over Port Colborne, and Jim suggested going up in the Autumn when the leaves are changing. With all the trees in this area I can only imagine the colours.

There is much to see. With Jim’s help we may make aerial journeys to explore the North, and the shore of Lake Ontario. Maybe even the Falls themselves. Now that would be something to write about. To be sure you don’t miss it when I do, you can subscribe to this blog and be automatically notified.

Video Of Our Flight

Being me, I could not sit there quietly during this. While juggling a photo camera in one hand I held a video camera with the other. Quite the challenge. I really must choose one or the other. Doing both at the same time is not easy. I shot an hour of video while we were up there. This video is cut to just over 20 minutes and features Jim’s potted history of the Air Cadets as well as all our banter on the ground.

Here’s the video on Youtube. I encourage viewers to like and subscribe for future vids, of course. Please and thank you, a little encouragement goes a long way – this took a day and a half to put together.

To finish, I must say that seeing your home town from above is quite an experience. It looks nothing like you might imagine. Winding roads take cars the long way round, and you can see it would sometimes be faster just to walk across a field. If you live in the area between Dunnville and Ridgeway you may want to watch right through. There is a chance you may see your house. We did. Twice.

Update: After posting this blog and video to the socials I was rewarded with the response below.
You know you’re doing something right when you get a ‘thumbs up’ from Adobe.

Thumbs Up from Adobe