Exchanging Your WSU Desktop

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Desktop Installation Checklist PDF


Each department is responsible for buying new desktops. There is a three year warranty on each desktop. Please visit this website to learn what desktops are available, their specs and pricing information: Hardware Information During scheduled appointment times employees work with ITS staff to check in their old desktop and personalize their new desktop.

Preparing for Desktop Exchange: Back Up Your Old Desktop

Copy to external, network, or web storage any information that you want to transfer from your old desktop to your new one. You must do this before your new desktop can be installed. You are responsible for the backing up of documents and data on your old desktop and restoring that data onto the new desktop. You should make sure that you have everything copied beforehand. Although the hard drive of your old desktop will be stored for two weeks following your exchange session just in case you missed anything, thorough preparation will save you considerable time and effort. Remember to ask for your hard drive to be held for two weeks just to make sure we do hold it. Need help backing up your old desktop? If you need tutorial assistance on how to back up your data, please contact TLT for an appointment (457-5240 Option 3)

What Needs to Be Backed Up?

In addition to the familiar files (e.g., documents, spreadsheets, presentations, images), there may be other information saved to your old laptop that you will want to back up and restore on your new Desktop:

  • Outlook or Entourage Email Archives - If you use the email archive function in either the Outlook or Entourage applications, it creates a file on your desktop with a .pst (Outlook) or .rge (Entourage) extension. You will want to make a backup copy of these files.
  • Outlook or Entourage Type Ahead Cache - As you add recipients to an email message, both Outlook and Entourage remember those addresses so that, the next time you use that address, you simply have to begin typing it (e.g., in to the To: field) and the rest of the address will be automatically filled in. This type ahead cache is stored in a file on your desktop that you may want to transfer to your new machine. Outlook or Entourage cache files have .nk2 after the name.
  • Microsoft Office Tool Modifications - If you have modified any Microsoft Office applications (e.g., added words to the dictionary, added macros), these are stored in files on your desktop that can be backed up and imported into the corresponding applications on your new desktop. Note that this may not be possible if you are changing versions or operating systems (e.g., Mac to Windows). The dictionary additionare files have .dic after the name.
  • Microsoft OneNote Notebooks - If you use OneNote to take notes, you will need to create a backup copy of your notebook files for import into the corresponding application on your new desktop. A OneNote page will be exported with .one after the name. A OneNote notebook will end with .onepkg after the name.
  • Browser Favorites or Bookmarks - If you save the addresses of frequently visited websites to your Favorites (Internet Explorer) or Bookmarks (Firefox or Safari) lists, this creates a file on your desktop that you can export, back up, and then import into your new desktop's browser. The bookmarks will be exported as bookmarks.html.
  • iTunes Music Libraries - If you use iTunes, any purchased or ripped music track is stored as a file on your laptop. The folder in which these tracks are located can be backed up and imported into iTunes on your new desktop.
  • eInstruction Clicker Databases - If you use the eInstruction Classroom Performance System (i.e., clickers) in class, you will need to make a backup copy of the associated database on your desktop if you want to retain any student data or clicker lessons.
  • Personal Databases, Forms, or Files - If you have used a personal password vault, a citation manager like EndNote or Reference Manager, a tax preparation tool (e.g., TurboTax), photo gallery software, or any other special application that you purchased yourself and installed on your laptop (i.e., not supported by WSU), you will want to make backup copies of those files that contain important data that you wish to retain.

What Doesn't Need to Be Backed Up?

Some information that you use every day is not stored on your desktop, but on a network server, and does not need to be backed up. Supported software titles can be reinstalled on your new laptop and should not be copied.

  • Software That You Have Installed or Web Applications - Software that is not part of the WSU image will need to be reinstalled, you cannot just copy software applications from one machine to another. Web applications typically just require copying the url to the application and sometimes require reinstallation from the site for some add-ons.
  • Unarchived Outlook Email, Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks - Email that is in your StarID@winona.edu mailbox, including the Inbox, Drafts, Sent Items folders and custom subfolders, is not stored on your desktop and does not need to be backed up. If you have archived your email, it will appear in a directory other than your StarID@winona.edu directory. Archived email is stored on your desktop and WILL need to be backed up.
  • Supported Software Titles - Supported applications like Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, or Dreamweaver can and should be reinstalled on your new laptop from the Control Panel. Never attempt to transfer a WSU-licensed application from one desktop to another by copying it.
  • D2L Classes - Although it's a great practice for instructors to save a copy of their D2L courses, D2L is a web application and does not store anything on your desktop automatically that would need to be backed up and moved to your new machine. Note that you may have manually downloaded files from D2L that you may wish to back up.

Where Do I Store Backup Files?

There are three primary storage locations for backup files. You may use some combination of the three, depending on what it is that you need to store and/or personal preference.

  • External Storage Media - This includes CDs, DVDs, and external hard drives that you purchase on your own and keep with you.
  • WSU Network Storage - All WSU students and employees have secure, reliable personal network storage provided by ITS.
  • Cloud-Based Storage - Anyone can store files of various types using emerging, cloud-based storage services. This includes web services like Microsoft OneDrive, Google Docs, and Dropbox. None of these services are supported by WSU currently and you use them at your own risk.

Should I Use Backup Software?

Currently, WSU ITS does not support any incremental backup (e.g., Time Machine) or migration (e.g., Windows Easy Transfer) tools, even though those tools may be available. You use such tools at your own risk and are responsible for their operation. Note that many desktop exchanges involve migration across multiple operating system upgrades (e.g., Windows XP to Windows 7) and backup tools designed for one version of an operating system may not work well on another. Your best bet when exchanging desktop is to have a manual backup of all of your personal files that you have simply drag and dropped to external, network, or web storage.

How Do I Back Up?

The following articles provide helpful information about backing up your data on either a PC or Mac laptop:

Other Considerations

  • Personal Software - If you purchased software and installed it on your old desktop, now is a good time to find the original installation disks and/or any license/serial numbers required to reinstall it on your new desktop. In some cases, software companies will not allow you to install the application on a second machine without deauthorizing the tool on your old desktop. Some tools are no longer supported and will not work on newer operating systems. Contact the vendor if you have any questions or concerns.
  • Default Directories for Saving Documents - To find the default location of a Microsoft Office documents go to: File > Option > Save > Default file location.
  • Designate a Primary Printer - To find the primary printer go to: Start > Devices and Printers, under Printers and Faxes the one with the green check mark is your default printer that you print to.
  • Screen Resolution Preferences - To find the screen resolution go to: Right click on the decktop > Screen resolution. The screen solution will be unders Resolution.

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