Subscriber Cosby Chaney wrote to ask about upgrading his computer:
I’m thinking of replacing my aging desktop.
Do you think I would do just as well to purchase a large screen laptop rather than another desktop?
And if so, please give me a recommendation.
Also, I wonder if I’ll be able to transfer everything to the new computer (whatever it is) using Acronis. I have version 11.0.
My current desktop uses XP and I assume the new one will be Windows 7.
Have you some suggestions for me?
Back in 2004, I made the change that Cosby is considering. I replaced my Windows 98 desktop with a Windows XP notebook. I was relatively happy with it until 2010. That’s right – I got six years of life out of that notebook as my primary computer, but I spent roughly $3000 on it, so it wasn’t a cheap, bottom-of-the-line notebook. I had a 1680×1050 resolution 15.4 inch screen. That high resolution was one of my requirement.
I had a need for a notebook, not just a computer. I traveled occasionally, but more importantly, I taught a lot of classes and workshops (free for members) at our local computer club. It was important to me to have all my files and folders, as well as all my programs, and all in the usual place on the hard drive. I didn’t like using the "instructors’ computer" because it just wasn’t configured the way mine was.
The big disadvantage to a notebook is that very little about it is upgradeable. Also, very little is replaceable by the user. Notebooks have to go to the computer store for repairs, and often to the manufacturer’s repair shop. I had a Dell computer and had paid for the 4-year in-home warranty service, so I wouldn’t have to ship my computer off to be repaired.
The big advantage is that it’s smaller. It might be quieter; on the other hand, it’s cooling fan might whine when it runs. If it’s noisy or obnoxious, you really won’t have many options to silence it – a notebook cooler might keep the notebook cool enough to keep the notebook’s internal fan from turning on.
Last year, I changed back from a notebook to a desktop for my primary computer. I bought a small notebook to provide for traveling needs.
I used a rolling computer stand to hold my notebook. Now, I use it to hold my 24-inch monitor, my wireless keyboard and my wireless mouse. My desktop is quiet with its 120mm CPU cooling fan. Even though I built it last year, I can add hard drives, or change the video card, or upgrade my motherboard/CPU/memory, and still keep everything else the same. I like having a desktop again.
If I was going to buy a notebook with a large screen, I’d probably get something like the HP Pavilion dv7t. It’s got a 17.3 inch diagonal, it has a choice of the Intel Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 processor, and has a lot of other configuration options.
Regarding Acronis True Image Home 11, I would upgrade to the current version Acronis True Image Home 2011. Version 11 is 3 years before the current version. The current version supports Windows 7 — I wouldn’t count on ATIH 11 to be able to run properly, especially if you get 64-bit Windows 7 (which you’d get).
ATIH 2011 should be able to read backups created by ATIH 11, but it would be better to make the backup on the old computer using ATIH 2011.
BE SURE YOU REALIZE – you do NOT want to do an image restore from the WIndows XP computer to the new Windows 7 computer. Number 1, you’d overwrite the Windows 7 image! Also, you wouldn’t have working Windows XP drivers for the new notebook (and probably could not get them).
The ATIH backup would be used only as an easy source for data files. You will have to install your software on the new Windows 7 computer because most software stores some of its data in the Windows Registry. Also, files are not located in the all the same places under Windows 7.
So, upgrade to Acronis True Image Home 2011 for your backup, then install it on the new notebook, but only use it to copy your data files to the new computer. ATIH 2011 will "mount" the image as if it is a hard drive, so you can use Windows Explorer to copy the files from the image (presumably on an external hard drive that you can connect to the new notebook) to the new notebook’s hard drive.