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.

Transference

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.

Anyway…

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…

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