Moving Your Computer or Office? Eliminating the Aggravation

Loading ZoneIf you’re moving your computer workspace, across the country or across the room, things can go wrong. The tips below will go a long way towards eliminating aggravation, lost time, and worst of all—lost data.

1. Back up your data.

2. Lifehacker says: Back up your data. If you need a visual (whether or not you liked Sex in the City) you can watch Carrie lose her mind when she didn’t have a backup on YouTube.

3. Oh yeah, backup your data, maybe with one of these offline backup tools. You can never tell when disaster will strike, so before you make any major change to your computer (including installing new software) it is prudent to have a full backup of your data and (preferably) the system itself.

4. When it comes to backup, the safest bet is to make 2 copies. One on another hard drive, preferably an external drive that you store away from the computer itself. But don’t stop there, even external hard drives are vulnerable to failure because they have moving parts. Burn your data on CD or DVD as well and you will have a static, unchanging record of what matters most.

5. When you burn DVDs make sure to check the settings and choose single session rather than multi-session burn. Sometimes you’ll want to keep adding data to the same DVD over time and multi-session is great for that. Unfortunately, multi-session DVDs often don’t work on a machine other than the one that created them. If your computer tumbles out a window, you will need to get to your data on another machine. Avoid creating multi-session CDs or DVDs as backups.

6. You should also be sure and check the settings for data validation. Make sure the backup you depend will be validated by the burning software you use.

7.  Don’t have a DVD burner (Window’s XP doesn’t) or realizing XP’s CD burning program doesn’t let you validate? Try one of these free tools rated at

8.    If you have a fast connection and a moderate amount of data, online backup can be a great option (and, yes, some services are free). Get the basics from Computer World, or check out a comparison chart of online backup services to get you started.

9. If you’re not confident about setting your hardware up again after you move it, get out your digital camera, video camera, or even your cell phone. Take pictures of how things look before you start. Make sure to capture the back of your desktop computer so you’ll remember how many connections/plugs are filled.

10.  Before you unplug a cable, take a moment to follow it through the (seemingly endless) tangles that can occur and label it carefully. I’m a fan of masking tape folded over the cord, stuck to itself, then labeled clearly. Masking tape sticks best to itself and won’t leave your cables messy if you remove it. Fancy labels are fine too—whatever floats your boat.

11.  Remember that desktop computers have connections shaped for specific cables, they are often color-coded as well.

12.  As you remove and untangle each cable, wind it up neatly, fasten it, and bag it if you’ll be transporting the cable very far or storing it for any amount of time. One round of untangling is quite enough.

13.  DO NOT start plugging your computer in somewhere else until you’ve set up as many surge protectors as you need. Then use them.

14.  Be prepared to purchase extension cables if you need them. Most cables come in longer versions, or can be extended.

15.  Remember that your new set-up has to be configured to fit your body. Don’t conform to your technology or your space. Make it conform to you. Any and all efforts to create an ergonomically sound work-space are never wasted. Learn more at

16.  Be methodical. Pay attention. Avoid distractions. If you don’t work with hardware much, it’s even more important to be fully present. The task will go faster and you’ll be less stressed out

17.  If you feel intimidated, have a buddy. Two heads usually are better than one in these cases.

18.  If you won’t put it all back together immediately, assume you will forget things. Make notes, take pictures, label, label, label.