IBM has started offering a software package that I think is long overdue. It’s called System Migration Assistant, and the idea is to simplify the process of migrating to a new machine. From IBM’s website:
“IBM System Migration Assistant makes light work of migrating your old computer’s data and settings to a new computer or operating system. By duplicating the source system on a single file, this tool enables you to easily transfer end-user specific data and settings for applications, printers, network connections and personal preferences.”
I’ve always been surprised that software like this isn’t more pervasive. If I were Apple, for instance, I would have way to connect two machines with a firewire cable, hit a few keys, and transfer everything of importance from the old machine to the new in order to encourage (or at least not discourage) hardware upgrades.
Of course, this is easier said than done. First of all, the two machines presumably have different hardware configurations which might make porting preferences, settings and drivers difficult or impossible. There are also licensing and activation issues to worry about these days. And, or course, there is always the advantage of being able to start completely from scratch with a new machine, and take the opportunity to get yourself a little better organized. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t actually use a utility like this because I would be skeptical that it could do the job accurately and safely, and I actually like setting up new machines because it gives me the opportunity to try some new organizational techniques. But in general, I think this is a good concept that might work very well for a lot of people.