Since the last time I lost my laptop hard-drive (and some very important design files), I have been working on researching ways to make sure this does not happen again. I want to make sure I have a process for backing up my data and streamlining everything for easy recovery if I ever do have to switch machines again mid-project. When you are a business owner or freelancer your computer is essential and downtime is going to cost YOU missing hours you would be working on a paid project.
Your really need to view your laptop or phone as an expendable device. At any time it could be damaged or stolen. The more you travel the more this is likely to happen. So you need to think of these devices as a SHELL. It only connects to all of your files which are stored safely on a cloud server. So it also makes sense to save time in the future and have a template for how you set up your computer. I want to save as much time as possible so I can be back up in running in no time. I have clients depending on me! As I'm setting up this new computer (See previous post about my hard-drive) I'm keeping a list of all my changes so I can have a "laptop setup template" to use whenever I need to switch laptops and start from scratch again. Here is what I came up with. This might help you think of some ideas for how you want to set up your computer.
Setting up a shell laptop
1. Have a template for desktop icons and shortcuts. I created a set of folders for my desktop and then took a screenshot so I would know what location I want to keep them in. It's all about staying productive and when you change up your workflow that can really slow you down. I'm all about speed and efficiency! No time to waste trying to find folders every time! (on a side note.. Adventure time wallpaper! yeah!)
2. Create a standard start menu set up. I moved all of my favorite programs to the top of the start menu and then took a screenshot so I will have record of this as well.
3. Create a folder template. This you can archive away and just copy and paste it on over when setting up a new computer. That way all of your folder naming conventions stay the same. That will make it so much easier to archive as well. Same folders to archive, same location. Easy to find and maintain your workflow!
4. Write a list of all your programs. Keep a note someone online - I use evernote to back this up. So the next time you have to set up a computer from scratch you will have a list of all the software you need to track down and re-install. It's so easy to miss one crucial software install and it always comes up at the most inconvenient time. For me it was when trying open a pdf document. I didn't have adobe reader install! ack! Never will I forget again!
This is still a work in progress and I hope to refine it as I go. I believe this should make my next laptop setup go even smoother. Hopefully this will help you as well. If you have suggestions for me please leave a comment below. I would love to add more tips!