Thursday, December 14, 2017

Ensuring all Important Files get Moved to a New Device

Replacing an older computer or laptop with a new one is an exciting process! With new features, faster response times, upgraded programs and applications, there is so much potential. The only drawback can be configuring the new device to feel like your old one and ensuring all of your important files are successfully transferred. Program files are often stored in places other than you might think of or expect. Files outside of the Documents folder can be more difficult to locate.

Below are examples of programs commonly storing files outside the Documents folder as well as where they are likely to be.

Ensuring all Important Files get Moved to a New Device

Copying an entire user folder can be time consuming, can waste storage and often includes far more data than you need. NOTE: Different operating systems and versions of applications can store files differently. These examples list where files are typically stored, but your results may vary.

QuickBooks typically stores company database files in the Public folder, rather than a user folder. The Public folder is located inside the main Users folder on the local drive. This is a generic location that lives outside of any specific user's folder.

By default, the QuickBooks company file is installed in the following location:
  • Local disk (C:)\Users\Public\Public Documents\Intuit\Quickbooks
Be sure to grab the entire QuickBooks folder to get the company files, templates and backup copies of the database. NOTE: If you do not know where your company file is located, you can press F2 within any QuickBooks company file and the Product Information window will tell you where the file is stored.

Web Browsers
Some web browsers store bookmarks with a user account. This makes the bookmarks available anytime you log into this browser, regardless of the device. An example of this is the Chrome browser, which can sync bookmarks across devices. Internet Explorer, which is an older browser, stores a local favorites folder that can be copied. This is helpful when upgrading from an older device.

To access the Favorites folder, navigate to the following location:
  • Local disk (C:)\Users\Specific user folder

Local Email Applications
Locally installed email applications, like Thunderbird and Outlook, store offline files for each email profile. These files are located in a specific user's folder, however it would likely not be captured if only the obvious folders are copied.

Both applications store data inside the AppData folder which is located inside the user's account folder. Thunderbird stores its data file within the Roaming folder while Outlook is a little deeper. To access an Outlook data file, navigate to the AppData folder, open the Local folder, then Microsoft, then the Outlook folder. Each profile's data file should be listed.

If email files are not located in these default locations, try opening the email application, going to options and selecting account settings. The location of the email data file will be listed within one of the menus in the popup menu.

Other Various Programs & Applications
If you think a program or application might have uniquely stored data, browse their data folders. To access most program and application folders, navigate to:
  • Local disk (C:)\Program Files (or Program Files (x86) for 32-bit applications)\the name of the program
Throughout the lifetime of a device, accumulation occurs. We typically end up with more documents, photos and videos, and programs and applications than we ever intended or expected to use. Moving to a new device provides more storage and faster response times which allows us to do more than before. However, before you begin using the new device, it is important to copy everything of importance off the old device. Once a device is "retired", power cables are easily lost and reliability fades quickly.

As always, knowing what to do, and when is the best time to do it, saves time and energy and can prevent the frustration of trying to recover old files.

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