Byte Me Article 259 – Data Migration

Don’t Clutter Up a New Computer

Today we discuss one of the main issues facing users that are wanting to upgrade their PC – the issue of data retention or the more often referred to data transfer from the old PC to the new.  What we are talking about here is all of the files that you have created or collected over the life of your existing PC.  These files include but are not limited to photos, documents, movies, music, address books, emails, Internet favourite bookmarks, accounting files, presentations, product brochures, manuals and downloads.

As you can see the information that you create / collect can be quite varied and it is often unfortunately also undervalued.  We often talk to customers about replacing their PC with a newer one and they initially say that they only need “just a few things brought across”.  After reminding them of the range of things worth considering they start to realise there is more to this process than what meets the eye.

Further to the above it is sometimes only when we start on a transfer job that we strike real trouble.  This can easily be in the form of a failing hard drive, which is often responsible for slowing the existing computer and bringing the customer to our door in the first place.  When this happens we can battle for hours to retrieve valid copies of the customers’ important files and often resort to specialised ‘data recovery software’ to piece together what otherwise would be junk file fragments.

2016-02-13 Byte Me Article 259 - Data Migration

Another problem we strike is when file names and their folder locations exceed a 255 character limit which was long ago imposed by Microsoft as an official limit.  What is happening here is the customer has been too descriptive or lengthy in the name of their files and also often in the name of their folders.  When the above location and name identifiers are long winded such as the crazy example following – Documents/Work files from the old black PC/Files I need to keep/2008 financial info for XYZ merchandising company/cheques that were issued but not cashed/latest stuff to sort/Do not delete this folder – ever/Cheque 1092 to Rodger Rabbit hair dressing company – sent on the 12th of April 2008 for $112.55.doc

Don’t laugh but we see folder names like the above all of the time and they fail all of the time when we try to copy them.  So hint #1 – make sure that you keep folder names and file names as short as possible.  Another of the main problems we strike is when the customer has let previous IT companies transfer the entire contents of the previous PC to the existing PC and lump it all into one big messy folder.

This last situation can see the entire ‘C’ drive of a previous PC blanket copied to a folder often called “Old PC” on the ‘C’ drive of the PC we are trying to replace.  And we have even seen another folder in the above mess also called “Old PC” so that we are gifted with 3 ‘PC generations worth’ of important files amongst junk files that needs sifting through.  What’s more alarming is fact that the poor customer has had to sift through this mess for the last 3 to 5 years whenever they needed something important from the previous PC!!!

When we strike these sorts of mess I insist that we don’t propagate it further but do the correct thing by amalgamating data so that documents go to the new document store and photos go to the new photo store etc etc.  This way the customer simply picks up with the new PC where they previously left off with the old and they don’t have to go through a complete use readjustment simply because they have a new PC.

It may take a little more work at the time rather than cutting corners but it is the only correct way to transition to a new PC other than dumping all of your previous data and starting freshly with none.  If you are being offered data transfer enquire as to how it will be done and don’t get caught with an ongoing mess. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

For more advice and assistance from Kerr Solutions, like and follow us on Facebook