Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Easing the Move from Old Computer to New. (Personal Computing)

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Easing the Move from Old Computer to New. (Personal Computing)

Article excerpt

The only constant with computer technology is change. No matter how comfortable you are with your current PC, at some point you'll need to move on to a new one.

Perhaps you want to use programs that won't run on your old PC. Perhaps you've run out of hard disk space and memory. You can upgrade or replace these components, but with a computer more than three or four years old, it's often better to buy a new system.

"Migrating" to a new PC can range from hellish to exhilarating, depending largely on how well you prepare, whether you're dealing with one PC or several hundred.

First, check if you can use your old programs and hardware peripherals with any new computer you're considering.

One key is the new computer's operating system. Check the Web site of the operating system vendor. Microsoft, for instance, lets you search the "Windows Catalog" to see if programs and peripherals are compatible with its new Windows XP operating system. You also can check the Web sites of the software and peripheral vendors.

If a program or peripheral is incompatible, all is not lost. Though it will cost you, upgrading a program usually brings added benefits. With peripherals, sometimes you can overcome compatibility obstacles.

In upgrading recently to a new HP Pavilion 2.0 gigahertz machine, I knew that my versatile 10-year-old Maxi Switch keyboard wouldn't work with it. It has an old keyboard-style plug, which I had been using on a newer computer with the help of a PS/2 adapter. So I bought a second adapter to let me plug the PS/2 adapter into the USB port of my brand new computer.

Belkin Components of Compton, Calif., at , sells a lot of adapters like this. You also may be able to buy a Belkin adapter less expensively, as I did, from a third party vendor such USB-Shop.com, at .

Next, plan how you'll be transferring your data from the old system to the new one. You have many options.

The simplest options, collectively dubbed "sneaker net," involve copying files onto floppy or Zip disks, Jazz portable hard disks, backup tapes, or writable CD or DVD discs and then walking them from one PC to the next.

With floppy disks, no single file can be larger than the 1.44-megabyte capacity of the disks unless you use a program to split up larger files into smaller pieces, such as Free-byte's free HJ-Split, at . …

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