Is it possible to transfer everything from your existing Windows music computer to a new machine, or should you start afresh?
The time inevitably arrives for each of us when we need to upgrade our music-making PC. As well as figuring out the spec of the new machine, you’ll probably ask yourself whether it’s better to start with a blank page — a new machine, with a clean OS installation, and freshly installed audio software — or to attempt migration of your existing OS, software and hardware to the new machine.
Most retailers advise opting for a completely fresh installation, partly due to the very real obstacles to system migration that existed back in the days of Windows XP (and earlier). With these older operating systems, the transfer from one machine to another of a system drive could be riddled with pitfalls, even for experienced users. As these versions of Windows relied on the registry information being correct during startup, extreme shifts in hardware could even halt the Windows startup process completely — you’d never even reach the desktop!
Thankfully, system-drive migration is now usually a much simpler and safer process for everyone. Windows 7 and onwards are less reliant on the registry information during startup, and can access their large pool of default drivers if an unexpected hardware change is discovered during the boot process. In many instances, if a problem is identified Windows will still load and you can search for a solution. In short, it’s no longer essential that you start from scratch on a new machine.
But there are still strong arguments for a fresh installation. For starters, your new machine will employ different hardware from your old one. There’ll be changes to the BIOS and how the OS needs to operate with it, and any settings and tweaks you or the manufacturer/vendor applied to your previous system might not be appropriate for your new one. Also, your old machine may have older drivers with auto-load services, or self-starting software that’s no longer needed. Any of this could prevent your new system performing to its...
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