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Problems with Microsoft Windows Easy Transfer Utility - Locks Up or Hangs

If you have your own websites or blogs, sooner or later, you will need to move to a new computer. While it can be a daunting task, it is actually pretty easy IF you are organized and have ther specific how-to information for each of the applications you wish to migrate (move) to your new computer.

This page should provide you most of that information and help make the move easier.

Moving your data to a new PC

Your computer probably arrived with nothing except Windows (Vista, XP or possibly eventually Win7) on it.  If you're on something older than XP... well, I don't like Bill Gates any more than you do, but get over it; it's long past time to upgrade to more stable version of Windows,at least XP. These directions assume you are on XP or newer.

As an aside, if you are thinking of using the MicroSoft Windows Easy Transfer utility (WET) , my advice is don't even think about it. My experience shows that is a miserable program that is inadequate for these purposes. A quick search in Google will confirm that I am hardly alone in this opinion WET is anything but easy. See this page for more information about WET.

Task list

As I said, you need to be organized, if you want this to work.

  1. Install basic applications: Microsoft Office, or whatever basic apps you use for word processing, email, etc.
  2. Document (write down) ALL of your user ID's and passwords for email, FTP, etc.
  3. Install web development apps (Adobe CS3, CS4, Dreamweaver, Expressions Web, FrontPage, whatever you use)
  4. Install utilities: your FTP client (WS_FTP, CuteFTP, SmartFTP, FileZilla, etc.) and other support tools
  5. Migrate Office data (emails, Word docs, etc.)
  6. Confirm data moves were successful.
  7. Publish websites to a removable media (USB drive, external hard drive, shared network location, etc.)
  8. Import or copy files to the new location
  9. Move the utility configuration files
  10. Test to confirm that everything works!

Now, let's work through each step:

Step 1 - Install basic apps

Step 2 - Document User ID's and passwords

Step 3 - Install web development apps

Step 4 - Install FTP and other utilities

Step 5 - Migrate Office data

There is a migration utility that actually works

And it is FREE. At least, the demo version is, and that's all you'll need. After a lot of searching and testing, I found one utility that works pretty well, and it is fast, and free. And I get NO royalties, kick-backs or other payments or compensation from them.  It just works, so I'm recommending it.

The utility is called BackRex, and you can download a free demo version here:

They have many versions, all available as demos.  Which version you will need depends upon what applications you use. I used BackRex Outlook Backup, which saves your important personal information stored in Outlook, including mail folders, contacts, tasks, calendar, notes, journals, message rules, signatures, and all customizable settings. In addition, settings of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, including favorites, are also saved.

It took about 1 hour, total to move all my settings, bookmarks, favorites, email accounts, emails, Office rules; altogether, about 20 GB of data. The only failure, was the the Office Signatures, and I used a work around method (below) for that, which only took 5 minutes

Step 6 - Confirm data moves

Step 7 - Publish websites to a removable media

Step 8 - Import or copy files to the new location

Step 9 - Move the FTP and utility files

Step 10 - Test

What if something won't work?

Here are some manual methods to accomplish tasks that the utilities fail to do, or simply can't do (yet).

To move Outlook rules and alerts

Rules are stored in .rwz files with the name of your profile. However, just copying the .rwz file to another machine doesn't always work. Instead, export the rules: 

  1. In Outlook, choose  Tools | Rules Wizard  (or in Outlook 2007, Tools | Rules and Alerts), and then click Options.

  2. In the Options dialog box, click Export Rules, and choose a file location.  A USB flash drive is a good method.

Reverse the process to import your saved rules if you need to transfer Outlook to another machine. Always check all the imported rules to make sure they're still active. Sometimes they're deactivated -- especially move or copy to folder rules --  because Outlook can't be sure that the destination folder is the same as in your original rule. 

To move Outlook signatures

Outlook signatures are stores as files, one separate file for each signature.  There is no configuration file for them, Outlook recognizes them by the file extension and location.  So, to move them, all you need to do is use Windows Explorer to copy all of the files in the Signatures folder location on the old computer and copy them to the same location on the new computer:

Where (UserID) is the user ID for the profile for the Outlook account:

Desktop - (UserID) - AppData - Roaming - Microsoft - Signatures

To move the signatures,

  1. On the old computer, copy the entire Signatures folder and all of the folders and files in it to a USB drive, a CD, DVD, shared drive or an external hard drive.
  2. On the new computer, copy the Signatures folder and all of the folders and files in it from the USB drive (or whatever media you used) to over-write the same folder and sub-directories.

That's all it takes, when you start Outlook, it will read the signatures in when you need them.




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This page was updated on 23-Jan-2017