I’m embarrassed that I don’t know more about this, but the couple of times that I’ve gotten a new PC in the last 10 years, I’ve gone down the “just hold on to my documents, video, photos, and music and re-install everything else” route.
I’m looking to upgrade in 6 months. Things are a bit different for me these days - I’ve spent a lot of time configuring my Windows 10 setup at home to look and feel the way that it does now. I’m probably not putting together my next PC from components because these days it’s almost as inexpensive to get a pre-made desktop PC, and the people who set those up are much better about cabling and stuff than I am.
Is there a way to get everything that I have now, “as-is”, to a new PC with new motherboard, CPU, graphics card, storage, etc? I know that the version of Windows I’m using today is OEM, so that’s probably an issue. But a new PC will also come with Windows… and I’m sure at least one or two bloatware things that I don’t want even if they advertise “no bloatware”. And of course everything will need to be downloaded, installed, and configured again… Visual Studio, Unity, Steam, Blender (!), my Adobe Suite, Kaspersky and Malwarebytes, Microsoft Office, Google Drive… the list goes on and on. It’s at least a solid weekend’s worth of work, maybe two.
It’s been a few years since I set up my current PC from scratch (built in 2015), but I remember one thing comlng in handy. There is a website called
They somehow build a one for all installer for several commonly used programs. You just click what you need, get the downloader, run it and wait.
Does Microsoft still furnish Microsoft Backup? I know it’s not as clean-and-easy as Apple’s Time Machine (although it certainly should be …), but you should be able to back-up your computer onto an external drive, then restore from that backup onto the new machine.
Apparently Microsoft Backup became System Image. Then Microsoft stopped supporting that.
I would use Macrium Reflect because I’ve switched hard drives on a couple of PCs (regular HD replaced by SSD). But if I made a clone of my current OS drive and tried to put it in a new PC, I have a feeling that Windows would throw a freaking fit.
It’s not just a matter of my documents, photos of my dog, bootleg Ukrainian porn, MP3s and Wes Anderson movies… that’s all easy to throw on another drive and forget about it. But the installs and the configs are what I’m hoping to avoid having to re-do.
Yay! Ordered a new PC. It’s not a top-of-the-line stunner but it should work really well for me for the next 3 years - I try to keep my upgrade cycle to about that. Plus I can use my old peripherals so there’s no added expenses there. It’s a Ryzen 7 2700. Only 16GB but I’ll upgrade it to 32GB RAM before autumn… didn’t want to overdo the bank account now and I’m pretty good about keeping my RAM usage low. GeForce RTX 2060 6GB (might have to bump this up in year or so). Overdid it on the power supply (good 650w model) but I’ve had one of them pop on me and even with the UPS box I’ve got I’d rather not smell burning electronics again. I know it’s always a bit of a dice game, but I’m hoping it turns out all right. Win 10 Pro. Good mid-level non-studio-caliber stuff. Probably right where I’m at.
You might consider only installing something when you need it. You might find out that some of it will not need installing for months. So if you want to run blendre, install blender if it’s not. Same with your other software.
As needed condition.
I can see why that would be a good idea, humanartist.
While storage space isn’t a concern for me, it might be easier for me to break the installation steps into smaller pieces instead of trying to do it all in a weekend.
It does seem like there would be someone making some sort of method that would allow you to duplicate your OS, installed programs, etc onto an entirely new system. Cloning would work if the bits of computer weren’t changing much, but at least Windows OEM which a lot of people have is really bitchy about keeping the main components of a PC the same, or else you have to reinstall the OS.
edit: Just a note as well - I’m not trying to get around Microsoft’s licensing. I think Windows is extraordinary and worth buying for each new system if that’s what needs to be done.
All my desktop PCs of the last 15 years have been custom builds. The most frequent “upgrading” I’ve done has been moving to a larger hard drive.
Of course, on a Linux system, that’s quite easy: you can use
rsync to transfer the entire OS installation onto the new disk, then fix up the bootloader and the
/etc/fstab file for the changed device names, and you’re done—it will now boot.
Well, look at you with your fancy Linux skills.
I’ve often been curious about Linux, and I’m not ruling it out entirely, but I game a lot and Linux isn’t always supported as well as Windows is. Plus I like Adobe stuff. Does InDesign run on Linux? I’ve never looked into it. I suppose you could boot Windows 10 within Linux, but I bet that there could be driver problems or other compatibility issues.
If I changed my primary OS at home at this point I’d have to change a lot of other stuff.
The best way for me to go about doing that would probably be to just get an entire hobby-kit : a decent but not-overly-expensive PC built by me from components costing about $500 or $600, a copy of whatever version of Linux is the easiest for newbies, and some free time and some intellectual curiosity.
But yeah, too late for this particular thing - I reinstalled everything on this new PC I’m using over a period of two days a couple of weekends ago.