I am planning on buying a new computer but want to know how I transfer everything from the old computer to the new computer. This would include programs such as Norton Anti-Virus and Microsoft Word as well as pictures and other things I have stored on my old computer. How is this done and is it difficult to do?
- R. Stricker
Instead of transferring your programs, you'll need to install them on the new computer using the original installation CDs. While I have seen software that promises to move programs from one computer to another, I strongly recommend that you simply install the programs.
But you will need to transfer documents you have created, e-mail, photos and anything else you have created. It sounds intimidating, but Windows does a good job of automating the transfer using a wizard, a small helper program.
There is a lot to know before you start. Rather than take a chance of boiling things down and missing something, I'll refer you to an excellent Web page: http:--www.microsoft.com/canada/smallbiz/products/howto/transfer-old -files-to-new-vista-pc.mspx
I'm sorry for the long Web address, but it will save a whole bunch of searching.
Let me mention a gizmo that can make the transfer easier. An external hard disk will really speed things up. While there are other ways to go, none is as fast or easy. Besides, I think owning an external hard disk is a good idea since simplicity of use encourages people to regularly back up data.
You frequently write about the importance of surge protectors. Rarely, however, have I seen much written about what happens if your computer gets zapped. Here's what happened to me. I came home from work last night and noticed that a power failure had occurred: clocks blinking, certain components that are usually left on were turned off, etc. This morning I flipped on my computer and it was dead as a doornail. I did some troubleshooting, such as making sure the outlet and the surge protector were working. Both worked when I plugged in a lamp. I do have my computer hooked into a surge suppressor, so I'm not sure how it got zapped. Is there any remedy for this? Or do I need to go computer shopping?
- Carlos Campos
At first I thought I had an easy answer for you. Some surge protectors default to "off" when the power goes out. In other words, if power goes out the surge protector goes to the off position and stays that way until you turn it back on. But you said you plugged other stuff into the power strip and it had juice. So that's not it.
One possibility is that you've blown a fuse in the computer power supply. That sounds easy to fix, but the fuse in the power supply is sometimes inside the case, and sometimes even soldered onto a circuit board. Your manual may show the location of the fuse, or you could try sending an e-mail to the company that manufactured your computer. Truth is that it may be easier to buy a new power supply than hunt down the fuse, test it and replace it.
And it could be that there was damage to the motherboard as well. Next step? You could take the machine in to a shop. In fact, that's my recommendation unless you are really comfortable with electronics.
One advantage of that is that you could ask for an estimate before work is done. If they'd agree to that then - if there is damage to the motherboard - you could decide not to go ahead with the repair.
Bill Husted writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.