Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Computer Setup Lessons Learned

Photo by Michelle Goodrum
Last summer my laptop suddenly began having significant issues, so I decided to make the switch to a different laptop while I still could - before mine totally crashed. As always, one learns a few things when setting up a new computer and transfering data. Today I would like to share with you, what worked, some challenges encountered, and a couple of discoveries. Hopefully this will help you out when you have to set up a new computer.

What Worked

Dropbox: After installing Dropbox on the new computer, all of my files were just "there." No transferring necessary. The files were right where they had been. Since I keep most of my genealogy files in Dropbox, this was a huge time saver. I didn't even miss a step as far as research. It was business as usual.

Evernote: Ditto Dropbox. What more can I say? Whatever was in Evernote, still was in Evernote when installed on the new computer.

Having a current backup:  You knew this was going to come up didn't you? I have an online backup and also backup periodically to DVD. It was time for a new set of DVD backups so I went ahead and made one and used it to transfer the majority of files that weren't on Dropbox or in Evernote. A few items it was easier to retrieve from the online backup. So this part of the setup process while time consuming was relatively easy.


Outlook files: Oh where, oh where, does Outlook save those files? This was the biggest challenge and I finally solved it in my post, "Solve a Problem - Outlook 2007."

Photoshop Elements: I hadn't given a thought as to where Elements Organizer was saving the catalog of photos brought into Organizer. I had been using Organizer just long enough to be worried when I discovered this little issue. So after some searching, I was able to find the file and transfer it. Now it's stored in my Pictures folder.

The real point here is that we all probably have some files that we don't know where they are saved and thus will have a difficult time transferring them to a new computer. Do you know where all of your files are saved?


Saving as much as possible in as few main folders as practical was a time saver. My main folders:
  • Dropbox
  • My Document
  • My Pictures
  • My Videos
  • My Music
I try and discover where a program is set to "save" and if it's not to one of the above, change it (well maybe not Outlook that seems to cause a lot of problems for me). This is especially true for the various genealogy programs. Having them save to Dropbox or at least My Documents is helpful when the time comes to change computers.

I hope this helps you prepare for the time when you switch to a new computer. Or at least that I have given you some things to think about. What have some of your experiences been?

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum


  1. Dropbox has an app for your Droid. I have to get my files organized, I wrote a Word Document and can not find what file it is in. I should start a file entitled My Document, I think there is already one out there and I need to clean it up.

  2. Claudia, I love the Dropbox app. It has come in handy several times in the short time I've had my Droid.