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Completing the Setup of New Velocity Micro PC

May 4, 2007

As I alluded in the last post, the biggest hitch in the setup of the new PC has been the transfer of about 300GB of files. These are comprised mainly of videos, applications and games. Most of the games and applications will need to be reinstalled when I use the again, but I like keeping the files around. The files remind me that I have a copy of the application and I hope (perhaps wishful thinking) they will prove useful if I need to reinstall.

I first tried to use the Windows Easy Transfer Companion, hoping that that would avoid the need for reinstalling a number of applications. Buy I discovered that only works for a transfer from a Windows XP machine to a Vista machine and I was transferring files between Vista machines. I trust this is something that will be addressed by the time the product gets out of beta.

In the past I have just moved the actual hard drives I wanted to transfer to the new machine and copied all the files over, then removed the old hard drives after the files had been transferred. This time I chose not to do this for several reasons: (i) the new PC is set up to use SATA drives and the old PC has IDE drives; I did not know if it would be possible to use them in combination; (ii) I already had a switch in my office and figured it would be easy just to lug both PCs into the network and transfer files between them that way; (iii) I did not want to bother with having a PC with and open case sitting on my floor while I swapped drives in and out to transfer files.

The first thing I tried was Windows Easy Transfer to move all the files with the suggested Easy Transfer Cable. I left that running over night, only to discover that there was a small blinking icon with a line through it on one of the Windows East Transfer windows and very few files had actually been transferred. It was quite annoying that there was no better indication of what the error was so that I could address it.

Without any confidence I could avoid this error if I tried again, I moved on to just a drag and drop of files from shared folders on the old PC to the new PC. Here I ran into issues with slow Vista file transfers that were eventually resolved by a combination of actions. These are neatly summarized here, although I culled the information from a variety of other sources.

Then I ran into a series of annoyances seemingly inherent in using Explorer for mass files transfers. So I finally ended up using RoboCopy for most of the transfers. Using RoboCopy, total time to transfer the 300GB of files was probably about 18 hours.

Then immediately after the files transferred I Windows Easy Transfer to move all of my settings to the new PC. Without many files to copy that was relatively quick and smooth.

Although I did discover after that that USB mice would no longer work with my PC, a call to Velocity Micro resulted in the suggestion to try a repair of Vista from the original DVD (which I think is probably the correct approach as I had run SFC which had revealed corruption that it could not fix). Unfortunately, I soon discovered that my DVD drive wasn’t functioning, so I await a replacement part and hope that it is a drive issue and not a motherboard issue.

Overall thought: Microsoft and hardware vendors have to do a better job of making it easy for people to migrate from one PC to another. The ability to easily do this is bound to lead to more PC sales. I know I hold onto machines for longer than I otherwise would just to avoid the hassle of migration. I suspect Microsoft realizes this, which is the reason for its purchase of Aloha Bob (which it is turning into the Easy Transfer Companion)– but obviously far more needs to be done and for its own good, it should be a higher priority.

Of course changing how applications are installed might help this too, but that’s a longer discussion.

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