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Moving Your Computer

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We all have them. We all need them. In fact, if you're reading this right now, you're going to have to eventually pack it up. Computers. Fragile, at times testy, equipment that need special consideration when moving.

I learned this the hard way. So, no matter how cumbersome or long the task list to prepare your computer for a move, do it! You'll be glad in the end that you did.

And make sure you check out our video on how to properly pack a computer; this is a great visual aid to the details included here.

  • Get adequate insurance. Make sure that your moving insurance will pay for any damage to your computer. Because most moving company insurance is based on weight, your computer may weigh 50 pounds, but if your stuff is insured at 40 cents per pound, you'll only be getting $20.00. Not enough to fix your machine or to replace important documents and information.

  • Copy all your files. Technology is a wonderful thing. Remember the days of the floppy disk, when it took a zillion floppies to back-up your hard drive? Not anymore.

    If you have the ability to burn a DVD, then this is your best option. DVDs typically hold 4.7GB, depending on the burn speed. That's enough space to store most, if not all, of your files.

    If burning DVDs isn't an option, then purchase a flash drive, also known as a jump drive, or portable drive. They range in storage sizes. I'd recommend getting a 256MB, which should store most of your computer files. If you have a lot of graphic intensive files, then you may want to pick up a second flash drive or up the storage space.

    Since both DVDs and flash drives are small (flash drives are the size of four sticks of gum stack together), make sure you take them with you and put them in a safe place. Purchase a small lock box and store the DVD or flash drive, any instruction manuals and software disks.

  • Try to find the box your computer came in. This used to be one of my pet peeves. My husband always insisted on keeping the manufacturer's boxes. I'd end up recycling them a few months after our move, then I'd regret it when it came time to move again. You'd think I'd learn!

    If you're like me and you don't keep boxes, call a specialty box company to see if they have computer boxes or electronic boxes. The key is to protect your computer's box, containing the hard drive, from damage. Your monitor is also fragile, so see if you can purchase a monitor box as well. Call the box company and tell them the dimensions and they should be able to accommodate you. Also ask if they sell Styrofoam inserts. This will be critical in ensuring the safe arrival of your computer parts.

  • Make sure you remove all disks from all drives.

  • Take your computer apart by first making sure the power is off, both the monitor and the box and disconnect it from the power source.

  • If you're new to dismantling and setting up a computer, you may want to label your cords before unplugging them. Simply write on a piece of masking tape what the plug is for, and where it should be plugged into your box. Most newer computers use a color-coded system and tiny images to make assembly easier.

    Once everything is labeled, starting unplugging the cords from the box and the monitor. Wind them up, tie them and place them in a storage container or plastic bag and keep them with the computer.

  • Once your machine is packed and the boxes sealed, make sure you mark the boxes appropriately. In large, bold letters indicate that it is fragile and that the box contains a computer box or monitor.

  • Pack your printer, scanner and other computer equipment the same way, ensuring that nothing can shift while in transit.

  • If you have room in your car, you can always take your computer with you. If you do, just make sure that your vehicle is parked in a safe place if you need to overnight it in a motel. You can even move it into your suite, just to be safe. You don't want to take any chances with such a valued and valuable piece of equipment.

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