My 3-year old laptop has been getting very slow and unstable in the last few months and so I decided it was time for a new work machine. This is an account of the most important programs I transferred. Most were easy to reinstall. A few needed some tweaking.
I had a list of programs that were running on my old machine, along with all their license keys. I also used Belarc Advisor (as recommended by Jost Zetzsche in his Tool Box), which runs an audit and tells you what you’ve got on your computer and retrieves some but not all licenses.
[Edited in 2015, 2018 and 2020 to add a few points after setting up new machines.]
Windows [added in 2018]
See this blog post for a list of tweaks I make to new Windows installations.
MS Office 2013 [2018: I now use MS Office 365 Business, but the notes below are still valid.]
I installed this first of all, because many other programs interact with it. Office 2013 was a new version for me, but I transferred these resources from my old machine:
- Custom dictionary: C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\UProof
- Normal.dotm template with all my macros (as well as normal fonts and styles): C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates
- Building blocks, where I keep my customised footers: C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Document Building Blocks\1033\16
- Ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar customisation: File>Options>Customize Ribbon> Import/Export button. Save the file and import it using the same button in the new machine. Restart Word for the changes to take effect
Tweaks to a fresh Word installation. These are my preferences; yours may well be different:
- Disable the Protected view for Outlook attachments. Go to Options (Alt, F, T) > Trust Center > Protected View. Untick Enable Protected View for Outlook attachments.
- Remove the start screen when Word opens. Go to Options (Alt, F, T) > General > Start up options > Untick Show the Start screen when this application starts. (Repeat this for Excel and Powerpoint.)
- Show the Developer tab on the ribbon. Go to Options (Alt, F, T) > Customize ribbon. Check the developer tab.
- In Customize status bar (right click bar at bottom of a doc), add Track Changes and remove Focus
Outlook (IMAP accounts):
- Export contacts from File>Open&Export>Import/Export>Export to a file>CSV>Contacts>path to new file. Then import the file on the new machine following the same steps.
- Export 3 files for each email signature C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures
-  I transferred the rules I’d set up in Outlook by following the instructions in this Microsoft Office article (See note about categories below.)
-  Categories are hard to create in IMAP accounts. The easiest workaround is to start a new message, go to the tag group, click the dinky to go to categories, and enter a new name for one of the colours. Any category rules imported in the point above will work now or you can create a fresh rule with the newly named category.
Tweaks to a fresh Outlook installation. These are my preferences; yours may well be different. In Options (Alt, F, T):
- In Mail, untick CTL+ENTER sends message; tick Mark messages as read when deleted; tick Never send a read receipt; change message fonts in Stationery and Fonts (I use Segeu UI, 11, blue); in Reading Page, tick Mark item as read when selection changes
- In Advanced, tick Empty Deleted Items folders; untick Prompt for confirmation before permanently deleting items
- In View, reading pane, enable Always preview messages
- Retrieve notebooks stored on OneDrive, by logging on, and then going to File>Open from OneDrive
- Pin the notebooks to the left with the drawing pin symbol.
- Move page tabs to the left in Options>Display, “Page tab appear on left”
Word, PowerPoint and Excel
In Options, General, remove Show the Start screen; in Trust Center, Protected View, untick the 3 Protected View boxes.
SDL Trados Studio
See my last blog post for a blow-by-blow account.
TO3000 [replaced by BaccS in 2017, see below]
Armed with my exported database and settings files, I set about installing the program, but I couldn’t find my version (10) to download from the website, or even a link to my client area. I found an old email with this link: http://clients.translation3000.com/ , but there was no download there either. So I used the .exe file from my old machine. This installed and the program asked me if I wanted to update it. When I clicked OK, the newest version (11) started downloading, which is only available on payment of an upgrade fee. So I went ahead and purchased the upgrade (only €23).
I wasn’t happy about this situation and emailed TO3000 support. They replied very fast, providing a link to download version 10 (but this was too late in my case). It would be nice see these questions addressed and solved for others who are in my situation:
- Where is a link to download my version (I needed to download version 10 and it wasn’t in my private client area).
- Where is a link on this page http://www.translation3000.com/ to take me to my private client area? (I found the link in an old email).
- How do I disable the upgrade question when I launch the program if I decide not to buy the new version?
BaccS is a project management and accounting tool that I switched to in 2017. To move it to a new computer, I downloaded the latest version from the BaccS website, installed it in demo mode and closed the program. I then copied these 3 files from my old machine and pasted them into the same paths on my new machine:
- baccsdb.sdf The database itself is located here: C:\Users\[username]\Documents\BaccS\database
- settings.json from here: C:\Users\[username]\Documents\BaccS\
- settings_cf.json from the same path as the other json file.
It was easy to install AnyCount, another program by AIT. I entered my old activation code and it was accepted. I was asked to register the product (which was already registered, of course) but I skipped this step, and the program started up successfully.
I used the .exe file from my old machine to install Abbyy FineReader. After reading up on Abbyy Product Activation, I entered my old license key in the new machine and this took me to an activation wizard that produced a new license file. I got an error message: “the same license is in use on another computer on this network”, and the program closed. This was easily solved by unplugging my old laptop, and later removing the program from it.
 I’d upgraded to Abbyy 14 a year or so ago, but somehow lost the .exe file. Abbyy support responded fast to my request for a download link so that I could continue to use the latest version.
I downloaded the latest version of AutoHotKey (an open source program to automate tasks and autocomplete strings) to my new machine. Then I transferred my own script file to my new desktop, where I like to keep it for quick editing. To get the script running on Windows startup, I added a file shortcut in the startup folder by pressing Win+R, and entering shell:startup.
I downloaded the latest version of IntelliWebSearch and exported my search settings from my old machine by going to Search settings>Share>Export All.
On the new machine I imported my .ini file here: Search settings>Edit>Replace All. This method imported the search settings, group settings and shortcuts. (I first tried to delete all followed by import from file, but this didn’t carry over my shortcuts.)
 IntelliWebSearch version 5 now comes with licenses for 3 machines. One license will be tied to the old machine so you’ll have to use another license for the new machine.
For IWS v.5 I exported all settings, including groups and shortcuts from Share>Export All Items and then imported the .ini file on my new machine by going to Share>Import from File>Replace all items and program settings.
PDF XChange Editor 
I’ve been using PDF XChange Editor since 2015 because it has an easily accessible digital signature module and a tabbed interface. I logged onto my Tracker Software account, where I have access to my license key and program download. It’s important to select the correct Windows 64-bit or 32-bit version because – I discovered – the wrong version breaks the PDF file preview feature in Windows Explorer.
Then I tweaked the fresh installation to customise a couple of shortcuts that I use frequently. I added Ctrl+T to switch quickly from “Hand” to “Select Text” mode. And to add my digital signature seamlessly, I’ve created a shortcut and added an AutoHotKey script so that the PDF will be signed, overwritten and saved with a single click. Access the shortcut menu in the top right-hand corner, UI Options>Customize Toolbars>Commands tab and search for the commands. Then click Properties and add the new one. If there’s a shortcut clash, remove any unwanted default shortcuts.
Directory Opus 
I now use Directory Opus as my default file explorer. Some of the features that make it worthwhile are: enhanced search (by folder name, file name, file content and more); keep two windows open and switch between the two; powerful batch file rename tool; keep File Explorer’s quick access list but also have access to Favorites and Recent files; change file metadata; paste text into the window to create and save the text as a file.
To activate the license, paste the Directory Opus certificate into the License Manager (beside the Help button). Export all settings, including layouts and renaming presets from the old machine under Settings>Backup and Restore. Then import the file in the new machine.
PerfectIt is integrated in Word as a COM add-in, so it should have been a question of downloading the program, following the installation instructions and making sure it was enabled in Word in Files>Options>Add-ins>Manage COM Add-ins. But I couldn’t get it to load. After a long e-mail exchange with the PerfectIt developer, in a remote session we eventually found out that it wouldn’t load because I was running Word as Administrator. With that problem solved, I was able to enter the license key and get it started up, albeit with a two week delay.
 PerfectIt 3 has improved access to Style Sheets from the ribbon. Export customised style sheets from Manage Styles>Export and save the .pft file. On your new machine, go to Manage Styles>Import
 Installation was simple this time round. I downloaded the latest version (3.3), closed Word, and ran the .exe file. PerfectIt is moving to a subscription license shortly, but an email from Intelligent Editing has assured existing users that they will be able to keep their permanent license for version 3.3.
I downloaded the current version of Xbench (3.0) from the website and didn’t have to worry about license keys at all because the software is tied to an email and password.
 Don’t forget to transfer any customised checklists to your new machine. If you can’t remember where you saved them on your old machine, open Windows File Explorer and enter type:xbckl in the search box.
What do you do if you have a CD-ROM with Dragon on it but your laptop doesn’t have an optical reader? I copied the whole disk onto an external hard drive and installed it from there. It worked! To transfer my user profile I followed the instructions on the Nuance website.
SnagIt [replaced by FastStone Capture in 2015, see below]
SnagIt explains how to transfer the program to a new machine in a Knowledge Base article. The first thing I did after installing it was to get rid of the annoying red camera icon that floats on top of all windows by selecting “Turn off one-click” in the Quick Launch panel.
FastStone Capture 
I switched from SnagIt to FastStone Capture in 2015. When moving it to a new computer in 2018, I was able to download the latest version (8.9) and use my old license.
This open-source app zips and unzips a wide variety of file types, including RAR, TAR and GZIP. Once installed, access it through the context menu in File Explorer. Of all the 7-Zip items in the context menu, I keep just four: Extract Here; Extract to <Folder>; Add to archive and Add to <Archive>.zip. To remove the other items (including the CRC SHA entry), open the program and go to Tools>Options>7-Zip.
The Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities – a must-have for medical translators – has a desktop browser with bilingual display, which is why I use it rather than the online version. I downloaded the latest browser version and language files and entered all the required passwords. The good news is that it loads much faster with my new SSD.
AEAT digital certificate
Of course this won’t apply to everyone, but freelance translators living in Spain will probably have an FNMT-RCM digital certificate stored on their computers to submit tax forms online. I exported the certificate from my old machine and imported it on the new one. AEAT gives clear instructions how to do this.
Finally, here is a list of programs that don’t have specific user settings or license keys, so I simply downloaded them from their respective websites:
- LF Aligner
- Advanced Renamer (no longer needed with Directory Opus file explorer)
I still have a few more programs to reinstall on my new machine, but the ones mentioned above are the ones I can’t be without in my day-to-day work. It’ll be interesting to see how the list changes when I have to set up a new machine in another three years’ time.
How do you manage your old-to-new computer moves? Have you got any tips? Any must-have programs that I’ve missed?