Every few months, I seem to get a new computer to try out, and this year I’ve also got to try out a few versions of a new operating system. Which means that I’ve got used to switching all of my files between computers.

Sometimes I’m installing a temporary computer (eg to give it a test run, or for a demonstration), but other times I’m switching my main computer. 

imageToday, I’ve moved to a brand new computer, running on Windows 8. The process is pretty smooth – within Microsoft we have control over our own machines, so all I needed to do was set it up for a network boot, and hit F12 to install a new operating system from the network. And the data migration tools that are part of the Windows 8 upgrade make it pretty easy to move my data. Last time I upgraded my old computer, it migrated the data as it upgraded the operating system, whereas this time I’ve moved computer, so I’ve used Windows Easy Transfer to move the files from my old computer to my new one, via a removable hard disk. And Easy Transfer gives me a list of the applications that were installed on my old computer that aren’t installed on the new one.

Although it makes the data migration painless, the one thing it doesn’t do is actually move applications between computers. And over time, I have learnt a trick to make moving between computers easier. This trick applies to self-managed computers, like your home computer or a BYOD PC.

So my simple top tip is…

Every time I have downloaded and installed a new application or add-in in the past, I saved the install file in my Downloads folder (in a specific ‘Installed Software’ directory). And then when I move machines, Easy Transfer automatically copies over the folder, and I just run the install files again on my new computer. Which means that it takes me about half an hour to re-install all my apps, and I don’t miss anything, nor do I need to go hunting on the Internet to find the apps.

This isn’t rocket surgery, just a tip that’s saved me hours, and something I shared with a colleague who said “You could write a blog about that…” Smile