The dreaded machine migration

Last year I bought a new Sony laptop, but I never moved onto it because it was so badly set up. (full of crapware, no discs etc)

I finally bit the bullet last weekend to rebuild it from scratch to be usable. I have so many customisations and specific settings I was absolutely dreading this.

The final kick came when the touchpad of my trusty Samsung really started playing up. It had a mini fit during my Excel User conf presentation last year, but I assumed that was the heat. Remember the heat? I’m presenting at Eusprig next week and didn’t want a repeat performance. (of the heat or the flaky touchpad)

I tried to move everything using Norton Ghost, but it failed (badly) (could have been operator error). I had heard Acronis could be used to back up from one machine and restore to another. So I bought it (60 quid ish) and tried it. It took about 8 hours!, but it worked. Yea! I have my full set up on my new(ish) laptop, and I havent had to install a ton of stuff and change hundreds of default settings. There was a bit of excitement around getting the right drivers, but the Sony site had it covered.

I have always dreaded moving from one machine to another, but having got Acronis working, I’m already planning my next (hardware) upgrade. No idea if it works with software that needs activation based on hardware, I don’t use that stuff.

Not sure what to do with the Samsung, it will probably be reborn as a Linux box. (maybe with my Windows set up as a WMWare machine?).That Dell/Linux thing doesn’t seem to have panned out as well as I was expecting.

Anyone else got other/less painful approaches to migrating?




7 Responses to “The dreaded machine migration”

  1. Marcus Says:

    I usually allocate a day to it: carefully backing up everything, blowing away the hard drive (figuratively not literally) and installing everything from scratch.

    I’m currently eyeing off a new laptop (Toshiba) so I’ll need to go through the whole process again soon. I don’t use imaging software because by the time I’ve reached a migration there’s usually too much crap (technical term) on the machine.

    I have used imaging software (Drive Image) successfully and happily on the desktop which has dual HDDs. The slave drive contained images of different OS/MSO combinations for testing. Now days you’d use a VM.

  2. Rob Bruce Says:

    The trouble with ‘ghosting’ from one machine to the next is that you take all of the crap (registry bloat, unnecessary services, bits and pieces left over from uninstalled software, etc.) as well as the useful stuff.

    I generally bite the bullet and install completely clean, though I’ll usually export certain portions of the registry to retain Office, VB6 and VS.NET settings.

    I got bitten by this recently, however. I went to re-install VS2005 and the DVD no longer worked. This is my software – I bought it, but you wouldn’t believe the hoops you have to jump through in order to get a working copy.

  3. Simon Says:

    youre right about the crap, and as a VB developer, I know my registry is only a couple of compiles short of full corruption.
    ‘luckily’ I reversed the polarity of my drive last year and totally nuked it, so the build is only 18 months old or so.
    I didn’t realise VS2005 needed activation?

  4. Rob Bruce Says:

    I meant the physical media. I didn’t look scratched or anything, but half the files on it suddenly started exhibiting CRC errors.

  5. Harlan Grove Says:

    Last did this 3 years ago. I’d already created a CD with batch files and .reg files to restore the trickier (or the more irritating) bits. Otherwise I prefer clean installs without accumulated cruft.

  6. Harlan Grove Says:

    This may not belong here, but what would you all think of MSFT replacing the Visual Studio UI with a ribbon?

  7. Rob Bruce Says:

    Harald, they wouldn’t do it. They don’t think the kind of people who use VS.NET are idiots who need a dumbed-down UI.


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