More people move during the holiday season than any other time of the year not to a new house but to a new computer. A moving van program built into Windows XP makes moving day easier.
Computer moving day involves transferring stuff hundreds of files. People put their own personal touches on new computers and new homes. That means configuring programs to look and run in ways that suit your personal preferences.
Transferring files and settings from one computer to another used to be so difficult and frustrating that some people delayed buying a new computer for as long as possible. It was especially risky for small business owners who loose money when the computer is down.
Forget how to set up connections for your e-mail server, for instance, and you ll miss messages from customers.
What about e-mail addresses and favorites, those lists of frequently-visited web sites that you can access with a single mouse click?
It used to take more time to set up programs on a new computer so that they run like the programs on the old machine.
Microsoft Word, for instance, sometimes comes from the factory configured to do things I don t like. It may identify misspelled words as you type, for instance, without displaying separate toolbar buttons like word count and thesaurus that I use constantly.
I get hundreds of e-mail messages each day, and I want Outlook Express to check for new messages every minute, not every 5 or 10 minutes. I also want Outlook to include the text of all messages in my replies, so everyone can keep track of the message string.
The transfer routines in past editions of Windows were difficult to set up and use. You usually wound up doing almost everything manually, going to each program and making changes with keystrokes and mouse clicks.
Migrating settings and files between computers that both have Windows XP now is more hassle-free. Just use that moving van program, which is built right into XP. Called the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, it automates the whole process and saves hours of time.
The wizard copies files that control how a computer looks and performs. It copies desktop settings, for instance, such as color scheme, the kind of wallpaper, and location of the Taskbar. Don t worry about e-mail and Internet settings. The wizard transfers those, as well, including settings for the e-mail connection, Internet security settings, favorites lists, and home page.
It also migrates settings for Word, PowerPoint, and other programs. Documents you created on the old computer also fit on the moving van. You decide which documents move to a new home, and which to leave behind.
To open the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Files and Settings.
For step-by-step instructions, use the Help feature on your computer or check the detailed guide at www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/deploy/mgrtfset.mspx.