Changing PCs Is Easy With The Cloud

Posted: Feb 28 2014, 6:46pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 28 2014, 7:54pm CST, in News | Technology News

Changing PCs Is Easy With The Cloud
/* Story Top Left 2010 300x250, created 7/15/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8340327155";

I tend to switch smartphones, tablets, and computers on a fairly regular basis because I need to get hands-on experience for reviews and such. Recently, though, I made a more permanent switch of my primary PC, and the whole thing took almost no time at all thanks to cloud services like Office 365 and Box.

I’ve been a fan of Windows since the Windows 3.1 days—back when you still had to install DOS first and run Windows as a graphical front-end on top of it. I spent my time in the trenches as an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Expert) in Windows, and I’ve been recognized for eight consecutive years by Microsoft as a Microsoft MVP in Windows. For the past couple years, however, I’ve been using a MacBook Air as my primary PC.

I didn’t switch because I was frustrated in any way with Windows. On the contrary—I only made the switch because I knew I would still be able to run Windows either in a dual boot scenario, or virtually using a tool like Parallels. I wanted to get some real-world experience with the Mac OS X platform, and my logic was that a Mac OS X system can run Windows, but a Windows system can’t run Mac OS X.

As I switch back, it again has nothing to do with any problem or frustration with Mac OS X. Actually, the main thing I learned from spending a couple years on the other team is that they’re more alike than the fanboys on either side would like to admit. The specific issues may be different, but they both have their issues, and which one is “best” is primarily just a function of personal preference, and which one you’re more comfortable with.

Then along came the Surface Pro. I liked it, but not enough to switch. It had a tremendous amount of potential, but the poor battery life and lack of a docking station were deal breakers. But, then Microsoft came out with the Surface Pro 2. It has an Intel Haswell processor that delivers exceptional battery life, and Microsoft introduced a docking station. At the same time, my MacBook Air battery started having issues—it can only survive about 90 minutes on a full charge…if I’m lucky. Combine those two things, and that’s why I am now a Surface Pro 2 convert.

Back to the original premise, though. What was awesome to me as I made the switch is how simple it was to do. When I turned on the Surface Pro 2 for the first time and logged in with my Microsoft credentials, it asked me if I wanted to sync the settings from the virtualized Windows 8 system I’ve been running in Parallels on the MacBook Air. A simple “yes”, and my new Windows 8 system was most of the way to being just like my old Windows 8 system. I went into the Store app where it listed an inventory of the apps I had previously downloaded, and I selected the ones I wanted to install on the Surface Pro 2.

Next, I logged in to my Office 365 account online, and it only took a couple minutes to have Microsoft Office 2013 Pro installed on the Surface Pro 2. Finally, I logged in to my Box account. I store all of my documents, music, photos, and videos on Box, so all I had to do is add a Box Sync folder to the Surface Pro 2, and voila! All of my files were synced to the local drive, and I was completely ready to go.

The whole process took less than an hour. It may have taken longer for all of the data from Box to get fully downloaded, but I was essentially up and running.

The moral of the story is that because of the way Microsoft syncs user profile settings using the Microsoft account, and because I use Office 365 and Box, my Surface Pro 2 could get stolen tomorrow, or I could accidentally drop it off a cliff, and I could be back in business on any available PC in a matter of minutes.

Obviously, if you have a lot of other software installed (not apps from the Windows 8 Store), you will still need to get those installed, and if you have any important data that isn’t stored in a cloud service like Box or Microsoft’s OneDrive you’ll have some additional steps to get fully migrated to a new system. For me, though, I can say that this method sure beats the hell out of the old-fashioned way of trying to restore an entire system from backup.

Source: Forbes

This story may contain affiliate links.


Find rare products online! Get the free Tracker App now.

Download the free Tracker app now to get in-stock alerts on Pomsies, Oculus Go, SNES Classic and more.

Latest News


The Author

Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.




comments powered by Disqus