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What Is a Program Migration?

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  • Written By: M. McGee
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2014
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Program migration is the process of moving a computer’s applications and data over to a new system. This process may be as simple as an upgrade from one version of a program to another or as complicated as upgrading to a new operating system that requires a completely new computer. Program migration may involve moving a specific worker, along with all of her data and information, or an entire office from one system to another.

Most computers maintain records of everything that has ever happened to them. They track webpages, opened files and other activities. This is especially common in business systems where computer use policies and practices are particularly important. As a result, changing the operation of a computer’s programs may be trickier than it seems.

If a program migration is on the simple end, it typically just involves moving users from one program to another. The new program needs to have the same basic defaults as the earlier program. This is especially necessary on network systems, where information may open and save in areas outside of the user’s workstation. If the new program is an updated version of the old one, sometimes an individual’s preferences may be added directly to the new program before the user ever accesses it.

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More complex program migration requires more work. These types of migrations typically involve massive upgrades, such as new operation systems, new computer hardware or both. If it is just new hardware, it is possible to migrate information through a process called ghosting. One machine is used to make an image. This image is a snapshot of the computer at the exact time the image was made. This image may then be copied onto other computers, making all the systems the same.

Other major program migrations are less simple. This is where the computer’s tendency to keep track of everything comes in handy. Certain areas of specific programs and portions of the computer’s registry are separated from the rest of the system. These areas are imported back into the newer system, restoring functionality that was present on that specific computer. Depending on which portions are copied and moved, this is the way to move a specific person or an entire office.

When a single person is migrated, it is possible to save more personal settings. The registry contains a lot of specific personal information. Backups of the registry are often used when moving a specific individual to a new location. By performing this type of program migration, it is possible for a person to leave one system and move to a new place where the majority of the computer will act just like the old one.

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