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Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

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Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby JR8 » Mon, 01 Jun 2015 7:52 pm

Some way down the road we're relocating, not home but to a 3rd country.

I'm starting to wonder what people do with PCs, especially if they can't really accept being detached from the data/functionality etc that's on them for a month or two. I.e. Mine is what I use to run my business via, has all my data, my daily weblinks of sites I rely on etc. with 'saved password' auto-login on most of them. I'm aware that just moving geographically and changing ISPs throws up it's own hurdles.

I'm just trying to avoid arriving at the new place and feeling I have to go about '''building a whole domestic IT infrastructure again from scratch'''.

So in broad terms... might one:-
a) - Pay extra to freight your PC with you by air?
b) - Perhaps buy a laptop, and create a mirror of your hard drive on it.
--- Might there be be some lead-time with b) while you get used to the new hardware and get all the links and passwords etc established and proven?

We've still got time, but any cues to how others have dealt with this would be appreciated. I suppose you could say that one way or another, I can tolerate a few days gap [wince], otherwise I need pretty seemless functionality and access throughout the entire relo process.

Thx.

p.s. either way I'll be making a last minute complete final back-up to an external drive, and getting that send over via inter-office post.
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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 01 Jun 2015 8:00 pm

Why not buy a new PC when you get to the new location and just take the HDD with you. Everything you need is there. Worse case scenario is slap it into an external housing until you have taken all that you need to. The geeks on here can give you better and cleaner instruction that I can, but it's what I've always done as then it works as a backup as well for me. An image file is probably the best method but I've never actually done that as I've always used the other method which let's be clean up a bit what goes on a new PC.

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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby x9200 » Mon, 01 Jun 2015 9:42 pm

Yep, unless you got a good reason to take your desktop PC with you (e.g. new one, powerful, sentimental value, expensive or expensive to get one where you move to) I would just save the hdd. Regardless, I would not let it ship with hdd inside if there was anything valuable/sensitive on it.

Or perhaps if your PC is a white box and you would like to explore some new areas, as you are into DIY stuff IIRC, take the PC apart, save the hdd, the motherboard with the CPU and RAM, the graphic card if not integrated and throw away everything else. This will fit to your hand luggage. At the destination you buy a case, PSU and anything else missing and reinstall the rest. It's easy to do and we can guide you in case of any questions/troubles.

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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby nakatago » Tue, 02 Jun 2015 9:32 am

Most OSs should have a way of migrating your files (easy part) and settings (not-so-easy part; you usually have to reinstall all programs anyway) from one computer to another. Failing that, just transplant the HDD. If the hardware is different (e.g. graphics cards, peripherals), there would be a few glitches but at least you'd running right away, albeit not with optimal performance, not until you have the proper drivers in place. Also as x9200 suggested, you can also transplant the HDD along with the motherboard and video card. Those two are usually the ones to throw fits if the drivers don't match.

If you're gonna set up a new computer, may I suggest the following:
* put all files on a HDD, as-in cheaper by the GB but also bigger in capacity but a bit slower because of moving parts. Transferring files would then be as trivial as swapping out hard drives
* put all settings/user profiles on a SDD which make things soOo much faster

About your passwords, you might want to invest in a password manager. I use one so that I don't have to come up with "clever" schemes for strong passwords; the password manager just stores all my randomly-generated passwords.

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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby Sporkin » Tue, 02 Jun 2015 11:15 am

You might want to look at Virtual Machines provided by the likes of VMWare, VirtuaBox, or Citrix if you need to virtualize GPUs.
The advantage of going the VM route is that it is like a PC in a file, a rather large file. The nice thing is that you could check point and make backups of your PC at various stages in time by just clicking a button. As you might have guess you can have multiple 'copies' of your Virtual PC in different portable hard drives simply by copying them over.

It is not all that difficult to setup and use either, the time consuming portion is done once, then shifting around is easy. In fact, you could even host your VM on AWS's EC2 services. Which gives you remote access to your PC 24/7 worldwide provided you have an internet access.

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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby nakatago » Tue, 02 Jun 2015 11:21 am

Sporkin wrote:You might want to look at Virtual Machines provided by the likes of VMWare, VirtuaBox, or Citrix if you need to virtualize GPUs.
The advantage of going the VM route is that it is like a PC in a file, a rather large file. The nice thing is that you could check point and make backups of your PC at various stages in time by just clicking a button. As you might have guess you can have multiple 'copies' of your Virtual PC in different portable hard drives simply by copying them over.

It is not all that difficult to setup and use either, the time consuming portion is done once, then shifting around is easy. In fact, you could even host your VM on AWS's EC2 services. Which gives you remote access to your PC 24/7 worldwide provided you have an internet access.


Uh, he wants to physically transplant his main rig. I doubt he'd want to launch a VM just to use his current setup.

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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby Sporkin » Tue, 02 Jun 2015 11:27 am

Physical devices are so overrated :D

You could do the same going the VM route as the solutions mentioned earlier by others. Its just another layer of abstraction that makes figuring out what to 'carry' over easier.


nakatago wrote:
Sporkin wrote:You might want to look at Virtual Machines provided by the likes of VMWare, VirtuaBox, or Citrix if you need to virtualize GPUs.
The advantage of going the VM route is that it is like a PC in a file, a rather large file. The nice thing is that you could check point and make backups of your PC at various stages in time by just clicking a button. As you might have guess you can have multiple 'copies' of your Virtual PC in different portable hard drives simply by copying them over.

It is not all that difficult to setup and use either, the time consuming portion is done once, then shifting around is easy. In fact, you could even host your VM on AWS's EC2 services. Which gives you remote access to your PC 24/7 worldwide provided you have an internet access.


Uh, he wants to physically transplant his main rig. I doubt he'd want to launch a VM just to use his current setup.

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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby nakatago » Tue, 02 Jun 2015 11:30 am

Sporkin wrote:Physical devices are so overrated :D

You could do the same going the VM route as the solutions mentioned earlier by others. Its just another layer of abstraction that makes figuring out what to 'carry' over easier.


nakatago wrote:
Sporkin wrote:You might want to look at Virtual Machines provided by the likes of VMWare, VirtuaBox, or Citrix if you need to virtualize GPUs.
The advantage of going the VM route is that it is like a PC in a file, a rather large file. The nice thing is that you could check point and make backups of your PC at various stages in time by just clicking a button. As you might have guess you can have multiple 'copies' of your Virtual PC in different portable hard drives simply by copying them over.

It is not all that difficult to setup and use either, the time consuming portion is done once, then shifting around is easy. In fact, you could even host your VM on AWS's EC2 services. Which gives you remote access to your PC 24/7 worldwide provided you have an internet access.


Uh, he wants to physically transplant his main rig. I doubt he'd want to launch a VM just to use his current setup.


Let's say he's virtualizing to begin with.

He then wants to physical move the rig that runs the virtual machine. He then has to think about how to ship the host machine, or if he'll build a new host machine, how to transplant the host machine's settings seamlessly. It's the same thing all over again. :P

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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby Sporkin » Tue, 02 Jun 2015 11:41 am

Nah you don't need to bother about host OS settings, granted you still have to install it. Maybe I'm just so used to nuking and installing host OS's it doesn't bother me any more. I like the ability to carry around my dev PC in a portable hdd and getting the same config anywhere.

Before anyone asks, I don't work for any virtualizing software companies.


nakatago wrote:Let's say he's virtualizing to begin with.

He then wants to physical move the rig that runs the virtual machine. He then has to think about how to ship the host machine, or if he'll build a new host machine, how to transplant the host machine's settings seamlessly. It's the same thing all over again. :P

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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby x9200 » Tue, 02 Jun 2015 11:47 am

A VM is not a bad idea but then IMHO it depends very much how frequently one really needs such portability. If only for the purpose of moving in and out of the country once every few years then I think the inconvenience of using it daily will outgrow potential benefits.

Time spent to install and configure a VM will be just slightly shorter than what is needed to build a pc from the component level and if this is to be used as a part of a desktop and nowhere else, it is IMO a waste of resources.

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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby nakatago » Tue, 02 Jun 2015 12:03 pm

x9200 wrote:A VM is not a bad idea but then IMHO it depends very much how frequently one really needs such portability. If only for the purpose of moving in and out of the country once every few years then I think the inconvenience of using it daily will outgrow potential benefits.


THIS.

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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby bgd » Tue, 02 Jun 2015 12:26 pm

Laptop. Just carry it with you. Connect it to an external screen and keyboard at the other end.

Or clone your hard drive and then load that clone onto a new machine. Carbon Copy Cloner does it for mac, not sure about tools for Windows.

And don't overlook VMs, they really are pretty good.

I use a VM to log into the office. That way I don't need to load work related security stuff onto my personal computer. It's on the VM instead. The VM can be copied onto a flash drive and uploaded to another computer or even run from the flash drive. I have done this, only carried a flash drive, worked fine.

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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby JR8 » Tue, 02 Jun 2015 7:22 pm

Thanks everyone for the replies to date, I am following the thread with interest.

If I can add some thoughts:
- I'm not at all techie. e.g. I have installed new RAM cards, a 2nd HDD, configured a new ISP, and my webmail to go to my desktop Outlook etc, but it's not something I find comes at all naturally, it takes me quite some time, and I find it stressful[!]
- My current PC is about 3 years old. It has a 27" monitor. I intentionally bought something above mid-range with the intention it would last. It also comes with a simple but full-size keyboard, simply because this is what I am used to. So if I have to use a laptop I tend to find I'm squinting at a tiny screen and typing with one finger. [But that would be ok for a while, while our freight in en-route.] This PC likely can still do many times over what I'd ever demand of it, it would seem a shame to outright junk it.
- A laptop would be ok though temporarily, if that is the simplest way to go. It could also thereafter be taken with me on holidays, and so not be entirely redundant. Plus as much as I'm not a born spender, I am willing to spend a bit to find the simplest and most seamless solution.
- I'd averse to having to buy a new machine, as it's almost inevitable that it would come with Office pre-installed. a) I'm perfectly happy with Win7, and have the install disk/license. b) a new machine with the latest versions of windows costs more, and involves a learning curve re the new OS [I had major culture shock having to move from XP>Win7!, and already IIRC they're on Win10].
- I had to replace my PC last time when we were posted out, in a place where English was maybe the 3rd language. That made shopping for a PC extremely difficult, as no offence intended but few shop assistants speak 3 languages. => I don't understand their IT-speak + they don't understand my English = a bit of a challenge! :) This move is likely to be a repeat of that scenario.
- I have a WD external HDD, again big, 2TB I think, same as with the monitor in a way, bought consciously quite or perhaps very over-specced so it will last for a long time.
- Mrs JR8 uses a MacBook, so I need a personal solution as the Apple OS is alien to me. And despite her far superior IT knowledge to mine, MS is pretty alien to her. So once arrived and while we await for our freight I expect I couldn't use her MacBook to access any 'virtual machine thingy' that I create using Win before we leave.

Is this pointing to creating a clone on a new laptop, and can you buy laptops here without Windows pre-installed?

p.s. Some very thought provoking other points have been made he removing HDDs etc. I hadn't thought of that.
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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby x9200 » Tue, 02 Jun 2015 9:39 pm

JR8 wrote:Is this pointing to creating a clone on a new laptop, and can you buy laptops here without Windows pre-installed?

I am not sure if this would be the best approach to clone your old hard disk image to the laptop's hdd. I am not an ms windows guy but I would expect smaller or bigger mess (different hardware so some drivers not loading and some missing, longer booting time etc). Also, I don't think it is possible to buy a laptop without windows preinstalled. At least not in SG. Acer used to have some of their laptops running under Linux but I am not a big fan of this brand. Besides, running 2 copies of windows with the same product key could probably mean some troubles too.

If you are not a gaming person you should be able to find reasonable laptop with win7. You may take a look for example here:
http://www.lazada.sg/basic-laptops/?sor ... asc&page=2

Some of the laptops are refurbished (perhaps still an option?) but some other appear brand new, just older models. If you pay with paypal you will have all the necessary protection.

After getting the laptop you will just need to copy the user related files. Again, I am not a windows person but I am pretty sure there are tools to do it.

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Re: Relocating with the primary household desktop PC - how?

Postby JR8 » Tue, 02 Jun 2015 10:11 pm

That's a really interesting link.
I cld get a half-way decent laptop, albeit refurbished, for say $350. And it would come with Win-7 pre-installed so saves me that hassle of reinstalling the OS, license ids etc. Such as this --> http://www.lazada.sg/lenovo-t410-intel- ... 19359.html which should do all I need for what is effectively a holiday-use only machine. As such 'refurbished' doesn't bother me.
It's HDD at 320GB would be ample to copy over my personal data.
It's Lenova/IBM which I've previously used intensively though long ago, so hopefully I'd still have feel for that too.
This might just be the perfect solution. If I ordered it now, I could get a feel for it, do a test transfer of some files, get Outlook set-up and feeding, and then come the day copy all my data over; and make a clone of my PC to the big HDD to send separately.
This is sounding viable!
Thx for the lead.

--- late update. I've ordered it. I have also found my MS-Office disks too, so they're ready for installation when it arrives. I'll let you know how it all goes.
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