How to transfer files between computers?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by bellgamin, Apr 4, 2011.

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  1. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    If you choose to answer my following questions, please bear in mind that I am NOT an *advanced* computer user. o_O
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    BACKGROUND: I cannot afford to NOT have daily access to my computer, which runs XP SP3. Therefore, I have bought a refurbished Dell computer which comes pre-loaded with XP SP3. It should be delivered ~April 10, 2011.

    GOAL: To have my Dell computer function as a back-up to my Old computer, in case my Old computer has to go to the shop. That is, the Dell computer should have the same programs & files as my Old computer.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    MY IDEA for INITIAL SETUP of the DELL:
    1- I keep copies of the setup files for all FREE programs I run on my computer. Therefore, I plan to copy all those setup files to a thumb drive & load them to the Dell, & then install them.

    2- I will then buy, download, & install the few NON-FREE programs I use.

    3- I will then copy all data files to a thumb drive & load them onto the Dell.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    QUESTIONS:
    1- Is there a better/easier way than "MY IDEA" -- but within my VERY limited know-how for doing this sort of thing?

    2- Once I have the Dell set-up like my old computer, HOW can I *easily* keep the Dell synchronized with changes made to my old computer?
     
  2. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    Why not use disk imaging?
     
  3. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    That is a GREAT idea. However, I wonder if it would work?

    I make frequent images of my Old computer. However, those images include Windows XP from my Old computer.

    QUESTIONS:

    1- If I restored an image of Old Computer to the Dell, the Old computer's Windows XP would REPLACE the Windows XP that is pre-installed on the Dell, right?

    2- Thus, I would end up using the SAME licensed Windows XP on TWO computers, wouldn't I? If so, would Old computer's Windows XP refuse to run on the Dell without requiring activation by Microsoft?
     
  4. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

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    You might consider Karen's Replicator. On recommendation from my brother, I'm going to try it in the near future.

    http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp
    You will have to set up the two computers together as a LAN.

    regards,

    -rich
     
  5. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    There are so many ways you might go about doing this, really.

    I would opt for disc imaging myself, but there might be some problems. First though, if you are concerned about the EULA with M$, if you are only using one computer at a time, and the other is only in dire emergencies, then you should not be violating anything. It would be no different than you sending your main rig to the shop and installing a fresh OS on the backup, which you are fine to do.

    The problems with imaging might arise though if the HAL (hardware abstraction layer) does not match, and the image from primary might not work on secondary. However, if the primary image could work on the secondary, then things get easy. All you would need to do is create an image of primary, restore it to secondary. Then (possibly) you may have to "validate" the OS on the secondary. No biggie, just don't do it until you send primary into the shop. At this point it will be up to you to create a current image from primary if you have significantly modified it. An external drive works will, as you can usually put quite a few images on it, keeping the last couple you make. Like I say, you just need to be vigilant in creating new images of primary if you change much.

    Other methods exist too. Like Rmus is eluding too, synching or cloning or replicating can keep things in tow. I have done that before, but honestly did not like it that much, but that is only personal preference.

    You might, if so inclined, create a directory on one or both machines that holds the new programs you might install, and also files that you cannot live without. Build up the secondary as close as you can to the primary. When you download something new (updated version or new program, etc), make sure you save it to the secondary. This way, while you don't always have to keep the secondary "exactly" like the first, you will have one place to go on the secondary that has all the new things the primary had.

    It might or might not be an issue to you to have your data on the secondary as well as the primary. It would be to me. If you don't already make archives on external media, then you should start now. I used to do lots of optical storage, then I did lots of USB or external drives, then a server. I switched over to a NAS (network attached storage) about a year ago I think. I purchased a Synology NAS. A little pricey, but it has 2 x 1tb drives in mirrored raid, so now not only is all my data (for the most part) safe on a mirror, but also off my computer and on the network. My whole family uses it now. It is one piece of technology that I would not go without now that I have used it.

    I don't know if any of that helps, but it can't hurt ;)

    Sul.
     
  6. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    1) Correct, if you use the same disk image.

    2) Not sure what will happen, but most of the time they register fine.
     
  7. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    I have three computers, which are mine and not the family. As far as programs are concerned, I have set them up exactly the same. If I remove a program from one computer, or update a program from one computer, then I do the same for the other two.

    I keep all my day to day data on a seperate partition of each computer. Which is "Z" drive/partition. This partition is automatically synced through "Dropbox".

    Dropbox is a cloud service and gives you 2.00gb free or 2.25gb free if you are introduced by a member like myself. You earn upto 8gb (.25gb) for each member you introduce, making a total of 10gb free.

    It is a cloud service, and syncs through your LAN, but also keeps a copy in the cloud, if the LAN is not available. Anything, you delete, you can retrieve it for three days from your other computers, and one month from cloud.

    Best regards,

    KOR!

    P.S. I am not sure if I need to image any of these three computers, if one fails, I can always image from the other one and re-create the failed one.
     
  8. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    NAS are very cheap these days as SUL mentioned. I have two. Buffalo LSWX2.0TLR1 and Iomega ix2-200, they are both 2 x 1tb, and are around for $200 at Newegg.com

    The Buffalo runs cooler and has one USB port, the Iomega runs very hot but has 3 USB ports. I have my printer connected to the Iomega and two USB extenal drives. And, one external drive to the Buffalo.

    These are connected on the LAN. Also on the LAN, I have three Iomega 1tb each, Media Players connected to the three TVs. All can be used from any drives form LAN to watch movies on any TV.
     
  9. Hugger

    Hugger Registered Member

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    You said you wanted to keep this simple.
    So, using the KISS approach, why not just take the new Dell and make sure it works.
    Then sit it in the corner unplugged and covered with a dust cloth.
    Use the Dell's hard drive attached to the main pc and make it a clone.
    If the old pc goes bad just unplug the clone and pop it into your Dell.
    Honestly, I think it would work and it's a simple solution.
    If I've missed anything I would hope to see some help from the other members.
    Good luck.
    Hugger
     
  10. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    It sounds interesting. Thanks. BUT-- how do I make Dell's hard drive a clone of my old/main PC?
     
  11. Hugger

    Hugger Registered Member

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    Cloning software-some of them should be free.
     
  12. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    LOL! Love the above quote. It qualifies for the understatement of the century!

    Best regards my friend,

    KOR!
     
  13. ratchet

    ratchet Registered Member

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    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
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