Saturday, August 18, 2012

Moving House. Er, Computer.

My faithful computer, Moonlight, has been giving warning signs all summer of her imminent demise. Having lost way too much data from computers dying before I could transfer stuff to a new one, I determined that this time I would get a new computer before it was too late. I did hope that I could make it through until Christmas, but alas, that was not to be. Moonlight made it quite clear that she refused to play any sort of video anymore, and the other processes were slowing down.

Then, this week my sister dragged me into Best Buy to help her pick out her new laptop. The one we found for her was a newer version of Moonlight, with way better specs - and for $150 less than I'd paid for Moonlight 3 years ago. How technology advances! So come Thursday, it's not just little sister that's getting a new computer, it's both of us!

Yes, we have the same computer. No, we won't get them mixed up. Her's is "The Master" and mine is "The Doctor."

Anyhow, three years of using a computer hard means more than a lot of files stored on it... it means a lot of programs installed. I now have to not only transfer my documents, my pictures, my digital comics, and my iTunes library - I also have to transfer and reinstall a ton of software. It's worth it, but it's a lot of work.

Thankfully iTunes libraries are much easier to transfer from one working computer to another (as opposed to transferring from an iPod to a computer which is crazy). iTunes has a feature called 'home sharing' which you can use if you have wireless internet in your home. You simple hook both computers up to the internet, log both iTunes accounts under the same Apple ID, and turn on Home Sharing. Now you can access both libraries from both computers. To transfer to a new library, all you have to do is copy and paste. If you get cut off halfway in your transferring (it does take some time), you can set the library to only display "items not on this computer" and then "select all" and continue on. Also, any songs that you've purchased directly from iTunes can be downloaded directly from the iCloud. You only need Home Sharing to transfer music from CDs and tracks purchased from other places (like Amazon... although Amazon also has an iCloud, so you could just redownload those too.)

I'd already transferred all of my pictures, documents and comics onto my external harddrive, so moving those is more a matter of sorting and rearranging than anything. Most of my software is freeware so that's just redownloading. And since Best Buy is having a sale on Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 ($99 for a 3 user pack!!!), I'm finally going to have Microsoft Word! (Open Office has been great, but I'm ready for the upgrade.)

Another tool that is useful for this process is my dropbox, as I can just move files or programs in there on Moonlight, and then take them off the dropbox on The Doctor. You can get your own dropbox at

So that's what I'm up to this week, and hopefully some of the tricks I shared here will prove useful to you in the future. Feel free to share your own computer moving stories and tactics in the comments, I'd love to hear them! :)

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