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Migrating to a new Windows (7 or 10) computer

Planning ahead

You need to move your personal files, the applications you use and, when possible, the settings of the applications. So it's best to prepare the (future) migration when… you arrive on your new computer! You never know when you have to move. Maybe you will have to move earlier than you think just because your computer (or maybe just a disk) crashes.

Be ready to move your files

You have to know where your files are located! This is common sense and it will also help you create a backup of your files…

  • You should put as little as possible on the system disk (C:)! If there is a problem (crash, etc…) or the system is updated, there is a good chance that most of the content of C: will be erased.
    • The content of your desktop is on C: ⇒ Do not put important files on your desktop !
  • The computer you get should arrived pre-configured with 1 or 2 extra partitions (besides C:). Put your files on these partitions!
  • Do not put your files and folders directly on a partition, because it will make them harder to backup.

    Always create a main folder where you will put your files. This way, all you have to do is move or make a backup of this folder

    It is a good practice to have 2 different folders:
    • DATA FOLDER: <disk:>\Users\<your_login> folder. Keep all the important things in there, and regularly make a backup of this folder
    • SCRATCH FOLDER: <disk:>\Scratch\<your_login> folder. This folder is for temporary files (e.g. installation files for the programs, attachments that are not important, data files that are available in other places, …).
      • You can put this Scratch folder on C: if you have lots of space on C:

See also Configuring folders and shortcuts

Moving the applications

You need a list of all the applications you use, and make sure there is an up-to-date version of these applications installed on the new computer

  • The standard LSCE applications will probably already be installed on the new computer
  • You will mostly need a list of the extra applications you have installed after you first got your current computer.
    If you have some special hardware connected to the computer (scanner, printer, camera, phone, …) that you want to use on the new computer, you will also have to re-install the appropriate drivers
  • It's not easy to move the settings of the applications, so you you will probably have to reconfigure all the applications on the new computer… :-(
    • If there is a way to store the settings of an application in a specific folder, make sure that these settings are located in a sub-directory of the DATA FOLDER (as defined above) so that they can be easily backed-up

Moving to the new computer


  • An external hard disk with enough space to move your data from the old to the new computer
  • A new Windows (7 or 10) computer, where your account has already been created
    • Ideally, it's better if you can have both computers switched on, on the same desk…

Prepare the new computer


  • Check how the disk of new computer has been partitioned and identify the best location for the DATA and SCRATCH folders
  • Create the DATA folder: e.g. F:\Users\<your_login>
  • Create the SCRATCH folder: e.g. G:\Scratch\<your_login>


  • Check which programs are already installed on the computer
    • Make a list of the missing programs
    • Start installing the missing programs. This can actually be made later, when you actually need the programs

Before leaving the old computer


  • Make a list of the installed applications that you actually used
    • Windows XP: Start ⇒ Control Panel ⇒ Add/Remove programs
    • Windows 7: Start ⇒ Control Panel ⇒ Désinstaller un programme
  • Save the settings of the applications, when you know how to do it! Be sure these applications are not running when you save their settings!
    Note: some applications can store your settings somewhere in the cloud, if you identify yourself and/or create a shared profile. The instructions below tell you how to move/backup/restore the settings by hand


  • Identify and prepare the files and folders you want to move to the new computer
    • Make sure you don't have anything you want to keep on your Desktop, or in My Documents or other Windows' specific folders
    • Make sure you have saved the Thunderbird and Firefox settings (see above)!
  • Clean your disk a bit (but don't remove important files by mistake)!
    You should follow the steps detailed in Cleaning a Windows 7 computer or Cleaning a Windows 10 computer
  • When you are ready, copy the folders you want to move to an external disk
  • Just to be safe, you should also copy the content of your Windows directory. This is the directory where Windows stores lots of temporary files that you probably do not want, the applications' settings, and the content of your desktop. It is possible that you will find later that some files or settings you needed were stored there
    • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\<your_login>
    • Windows 7: C:\Users\<your_login>
    • Windows 10: C:\Users\<your_login>

On the new computer

Restoring the folders

Copy the content of your external disk to the appropriate directories on the new computer (probably the new DATA and the SCRATCH folders)

Restoring the applications settings

Most of the applications will have to be re-configured from scratch, except (if you followed all the instructions correctly)

One last visit to the old computer

When you are absolutely sure that you moved everything you needed to the new computer, make sure that all your (sensitive) data is removed from the old computer, before another user can get the computer

  • Reformat and re-install the computer
  • or remove all your folders and your account, if a new user will inherit your computer without a complete re-installation

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other/win7migrate.txt · Last modified: 2022/01/13 17:47 by jypeter