I got a new laptop. What my work expects is you reinstall every application when you do migrate and restore your backup from the network. I have 20 or so applications, and probably 2-5GB of documents and source files. I told the tech support person that the official approach just wouldn't work. So I was on my own.
Ideally, you'd just plug computer A into computer B and get your stuff copied over as part of the initialization. I got Hitomi's stuff copied over this way using a firewire connection. But Windows doesn't have migration support like Mac OS X does. (Maybe Vista does?)
In any case, although I'm sure there's a better way to do it, I at least figured out a fairly fail-safe way to migrate.
- Buy an external USB drive that can hold all your data, preferably a fast one.
- Delete any large files you don't really need.
- Install Cygwin.
- Plug in the drive; format the USB drive as NTFS.
- Run "regedit.exe" … Export the registry to your desktop as "old-registry.reg".
- Run "rsync -r -m -t –progress –update /cygdrive/c/ /cygdrive/e/ " Note: Change e to the actual drive letter assigned by the OS. This may take an hour or so.
- Run "regedit.exe" … Export the registry to your desktop as "new-registry.reg".
- Plug in the drive.
- Go to e:cygwinbin , run "rsync -r -t –progress –ignore-existing /cygdrive/e/ /cygdrive/c/" Again, check the drive letters. Patiently wait.
- Run "regedit.exe"… Import old-registry.reg , then import new-registry.reg . (I'd imagine that without the second import, your computer would be probably hosed. One thing I'd like to try is just exporting HKEY_CURRENT_USER, but some software creates registry keys wherever it wants to.)
- Restart and pray.
If everything goes well, you should have all your files in the correct place and programs should all work. Though I did have some weird problems with my audio and wireless in Windows when I restarted. Reinstalling or updating a couple of drivers fixed the problems for me.
This approach also works for full system backups and restores.