Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Switching from Windows to tablets

Switching from Windows to Tablet What does it take to move from Windows to a tablet for most everything?

This question comes up more and more often, especially from those who have limited literacy with Windows, or have concerns about the challenges of Windows 8.

The first thing to do is to get everything off the old Windows machine: contacts, documents, pictures, and so on. 

Then, the documents need to be transferred to the cloud for safe storage. Safe storage means Dropbox or Drive. These applications need to be installed in both the old Windows machine and the new tablet.

That way, both machines can access the files. In Windows 7 the file directory for documents can be dragged from the file manager and dropped to Dropbox. Simple. 

For earlier versions of Windows the files may be scattered across many directories. To get them over takes time so it is this best do transfer only the most important ones.

It may help to search for documents, print out the list, and work through it. 

In both instances some familiarity with Windows is needed. There are videos on YouTube to help. 

If it is planned to continue using Windows, then files need to be synchronized between the two machines. The best tools for this today are Google applications.

To use Google applications Gmail needs to be set up on the Windows machine. This will make it possible to synchronize mail, contacts, event calendar, tasks, and future documents.

Photos and pictures may be collected and organized automatically by Picasa and then sent to Picasa Web for safety and downloading later to a tablet. 

Music can also be selected automatically and sent to storage place like Amazon Cloud Player.

The next thing to do is to set up applications on the tablet that you will use in place of those on Windows. These applications may need the files from the old applications on Windows, such as genealogy files.

Genealogy data files need to be stored safely in a place like Dropbox. 

All of this takes some time, but is worth the effort. The hard part is in Windows itself. It may then take a little time to select tablet applications which will replace what you were using in Windows.

Google PlayStore is a great help in finding these. It may not be worthwhile to transfer some documents and files but better to create them anew.

Rather than transferring contacts, for example, it may be easier just to reenter them, especially if there are say less than 50. If taxes were not done online, then tax documents, however, need to be transferred. These are normally kept in files with the tax software. 

Applications are easy to install on tablets, so the procedure needs to be learned early on. 

How will you print? If you plan to keep your old computer you can print through the old computer using Google Cloud Print. The document is sent up to the Cloud and then down from the Cloud to your PC and from PC to your printer. 

Otherwise you'll need a wireless printer. Your documents will then be sent from your tablet to the Cloud and from there out to your printer.

 The benefits of the tablet can be used early, such as the ability to dictate to Google and avoid typing. Googling can also find support in for switching specific applications from Windows to tablet. 

With any computer you cannot get by without help from internet. The new tablet is a machine designed to obtain content. Use it that way. Help can come from various directions, especially Internet itself: web sites, application help, manual, forums, and even Amazon comments. 

The old machine required you to accommodate to the machine, whereas the tablet accommodates to you. But keep the old machine around for a while to access anything you might have forgotten about and still need. 

Get familiar with the tablet applications before leaving the old ones. 

Especially, if you are going to attempt document creation, you may want to learn to use those apps on the tablet. For many it is worthwhile to keep the old machine around for serious document creation. 

Either that, or get a $199 Chromebook for that.   Tap or click for ways to run Office apps.