Data Migration

Every time I get a new computer – laptop, PC, work machine, whatever – and/or change jobs, one of the biggest challenges is always taking existing data and moving/copying it to the new device.  And it’s not just the data, it’s also the applications – the programs that make use of the data.

But it’s also always getting easier. The process this time was the smoothest to date, and a lot of that is down to ‘cloud’ services. I store a lot of my stuff now with Dropbox, although there’s also plenty of other services. I store my data in an encrypted fashion, so it’s also secure – while I like the ease of storage on Cloud-based services, I don’t trust them with my information – but it means that once I’d installed Dropbox on the new laptop, then my key files were all being synced and downloaded.

The other thing I like about using Dropbox and it’s ilk is that if you save your files there immediately, it’s not just a saved file, it’s automatically backed up. The risks of my losing important documents is pretty much gone, because I save everything to the folder on my machine that links to a cloud-based service. All my work stuff (which is also backed up with Subversion Version Control) goes to one service, all my personal work, writing etc. goes to a different one. But the key thing is that everything’s safe, and I don’t even need to remember to do a backup.

For larger stuff, it’s still a case of “copy onto portable hard drive” – I prefer the speed of that to doing it via wi-fi – but even that is easier now with the much larger sizes of portable drives.   At some point, I could add a NAS (Network Attached Storage) box, so all the data is in one central location, and the machine(s) just access it off that box/server. But for now that investment isn’t worth the time, energy or money.

All told, getting New Laptop sorted out has probably taken the best part of a working day – but that includes learning the idiosyncracies of a new Operating System and downloading/installing the apps, odds and sods that I want/need, as well as getting the data over. It’s been a pretty easy process, I have to say.


3 Comments on “Data Migration”

  1. Matt says:

    See, this is where I think Macs and OSX have a huge advantage. Moving data across to a new machine is as easy as connecting the two machines via Ethernet/thunderbolt/wifi, and opening Migration Assistant, and clicking “start”. Leave it a couple of hours and bang, your new machine is identical to your old one, apps, data, everything.

    That said, if you hate OSX or use a lot of apps for which there is no OSX equivalent, it may not be suitable, but MA is one thing that really does “just work”.

  2. lyle says:

    Cool, I didn’t know about that at all.

    Admittedly, I’ve been impressed with the iCloud backups on the iPhone (and have written about them previously on using them to restore broken phones etc.) which were probably the simplest restores/upgrades I’ve ever done.

    For everything else though, my brain just breaks (still) at the amount to pay for a Mac device. New Laptop has cost me <£300 all in. New Mac? Probably 3 times that, for a bog-end model.

  3. Matt says:

    They do tend to last a bit longer too though, I regularly see people rocking 8/9/10-year old PowerBooks as their main work machine, provided they don’t need tons of raw speed and storage. Musicians particularly, as their instruments often have FireWire 400 connectors and they upgrade those even less often than their computers.

    Also they’re (IMHO) much nicer to use.

    Anyway, my 2c.

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