Getting a New Computer or Computer Reimage - Move & Back Up Your Data


These instructions list the steps you need to take to move and back up your data before the IT department provides you with a new/replacement computer or has to re-image or upgrade your computer.


Data Back up   

Your most important task is to copy your data files off of your current computer such as things stored on the C: drive on a Windows computer or Macintosh HD (hard drive) on a Mac. Move these files to another location such as a flash drive, external hard drive, your Amherst Userfiles network share (U: drive), or another network share such as I: drive or Storage if appropriate.

The main locations to check for files and copy files from are

  • Documents or My Documents
  • Desktop
  • Downloads if you're storing files there
  • Pictures or My Pictures
  • Music or My Music
  • Videos or My Videos
  • Movies
  • Computer or My Computer
  • C: drive
  • Macintosh HD

Files you want to copy include:

  • Word or Word Perfect word processing documents
  • Spreadsheet files
  • Presentation files
  • Database files
  • Thunderbird, Mac Mail or any IMAP email client local email address book.
  • Any email you've stored locally instead of keeping it all on the server.
  • Endnote or Zotero libraries and associated files
  • OneNote lists
  • Music files
  • Image files
  • Data files from custom software if applicable (statistical software, imaging software, Adobe software, etc.) 

You should move only files you created with the programs; applications or programs (e.g., Word, Zotero, Thunderbird, etc.) will be reinstalled on your new computer.

If you wish to use your U: or Userfiles drive for back up but can't fit everything onto it (the standard quota is 1GB), contact the person performing your upgrade to request the use of a temporary network storage space that has a 10 GB quota. You can copy your files to this space and, once we've installed your new computer/operating system, copy them back to your new computer.   

Environment Back up

The person upgrading your computer will help you back up the following types of files and settings when performing the upgrade. Just be sure to let him or her know that you want to save any of the following:

  • Network printers
  • Network shares
  • Templates and macros for WordPerfect, Word, Excel, etc.
  • WordPerfect dictionary files
  • Bookmarks/favorites from your web browser – export to your U drive to be transferred
    • In Firefox go to Bookmarks > Show all Bookmarks > Import and Backup > Export Bookmarks to HTML. Save the file bookmarks.html to your U: drive.
  • Wallpaper and/or screensaver files
     If you installed any personal photos and want them again, make sure to save files to your U drive, or that you have the installation disks so they can be reinstalled on your new machine.
  • Custom sound files and sound profiles
  • Desktop shortcuts
    • Note any shortcuts that you will want to recreate on a list/document saved on your U drive. If shortcuts are to specific files, make sure to write down the file location.
  • ODBC connections for working with College financial data and data reporting
  • Zotero or Endnote libraries
  • OneNote lists

You are responsible for reloading your personal environment software and files such as iTunes, software for digital cameras, personal photos, wallpager/screen saver files, etc.


Check compatibility with non-IT supplied software 

If you have older software that you installed yourself you need to check whether it is compatible with your new operating system.  You also need to have your installation CDs for any custom software. If you discover that some of your software isn't compatible, you'll need to purchase upgrades from the software maker. You should also make sure that you have the registration information for any non-IT software you've installed on your computer. When you buy and download software from the Internet or install it from a CD, you're provided with a registration number. You can't reinstall this software without the registration number.

Check compatibility with peripherals (keyboards, scanners, printers)

The person upgrading your computer will check to see if there are drivers available as needed to run any peripheral devices attached to your computer and do his or her best to set up the devices as much as possible. If no driver is available, then you'll have to replace the hardware.