Thursday, September 30, 2010

Upgrading your technology, not your stress levels

Tomorrow I'm going to become the proud owner of a new computer at work. One with really big screens and a level of performance that means I don't use bad words at least once a day.

However, being a nerdy-geeky sort of person I have a high level of customisation of my computer that I'm anxious to retain, so I've been documenting where all this stuff is stored.

This may be useful to anyone else upgrading from Windows XP and Office 2003 and any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Yeah, IT say they'll move everything across, but just in case...

Quick launch toolbar settings

These are the icons that appear to the right of the Start button. You can add frequently used applications here by dragging the item to the taskbar.

These settings are stored in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\QuickLaunch.
Copy the QuickLaunch folder to an external drive so you can restore it later.

Office settings

If you make good use of autotext, keyboard shortcuts, macros and templates, check to make sure your templates are copied to an external drive or USB.

If you're not sure where your Word templates are, go to Tools, Options, choose the File Locations tab and look at the User Templates setting. Mine points to a folder called 'Templates' - very creative.

Macros are stored in templates. If you have a general macro that is available no matter which template you're using it's probably stored as part of the normal template ( This template also stores any keyboard shortcuts and autotext you've set up.

Make sure this template is in your templates folder and copy the whole folder to your external drive or USB.

But MOST IMPORTANTLY, to make sure all your office settings (including the location of the template folder) are stored, use this handy wizard to create a file that can be used to restore the settings after the upgrade:

Click on the Start button, choose All Programs, Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Office Tools, Microsoft 2003 Save My Settings Wizard
and follow the prompts, then make sure that you copy the resulting OPS file to your external drive.

You can use the same Wizard to restore the settings after upgrade.

Start menu settings

You may have added programs "above the line" on the Start Menu if they're things you use all the time.

You do this by right-clicking on a program name in the Start, All Programs list and choosing Pin to Start Menu.

I haven't been able to find where these settings are stored, but since there are probably only a couple of things it's just as easy to add them again.

May be useful to take a screenshot of your Start and Programs menus before the upgrade.

You may also have added applications that automatically launch at start up, like Outlook and IE.

These are stored in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Start Menu\Programs\Startup.
Copy the folder onto your external drive just in case you need to restore it after the upgrade.


For Internet Explorer, copy the folder C:\Documents and Settings\username\Favorites

For Firefox, copy the folder: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\profilename\bookmarks.html

1 comment:

  1. Wish someone had told me about that wizard BEFORE we were upgraded! I've got used to Office 2007 now but it took a while to find where they'd put certain commands - and I still have to hunt for a few I don't use very often!