Code for humans.

New Setup for Developers

Chris Miller
Chris Miller

Getting a new computer can be exciting and daunting all at the same time. Do you backup and migrate everything or do you start fresh and selectively bring over files?

Well if you’re the kind of person who likes to start fresh, you’re in good company.

In this article, I’ll breakdown the essentials for planning a smooth transition from an old computer to a new computer.


Migrating from one computer to another can easily take half a day for most folks and a full day if you’ve got years of work and loads of applications and settings.

Regardless of which category you fall into the best thing, you can do is prepare yourself by blocking out an entire day. The last thing you want to experience is client work coming in and deadlines being missed because you decided to migrate during a crunch.


This is something you should be doing already on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis through an automated tool like Time Machine (if you’re on a Mac) or some other flavor of a backup assistant.

Depending on how your backup process is set up, you may have access to all of the files that are already backed up. If this is the case you’re a step ahead and you can skip ahead.

If that’s not the case, you have a few options:

  • Move your folders/files to an external hard drive.
  • Connect your computers over a network and transfer your folders/files.
  • Upload your folders/files to Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

Sync Settings

In this day and age, most applications have a sync feature that allows you to sync your settings to an online account. If this is the case, I highly recommend you take this approach as it will save you a ton of time.

However, if you find that some applications lack this type of feature then you’ll want to arm yourself with a pen and paper so that you can begin writing down your settings.

If you don’t, you will be kicking yourself later.

Application List

The last bit you’ll want to do is make a list of all your applications so that you can begin downloading and installing them all on the new computer.

Here’s a list of applications that I find myself commonly installing:

  • VS Code
    • ES7 React/Redux/GraphQL/React-Native snippets
    • JavaScript (ES6) code snippets
    • Prettier - Code formatter
    • Visual Studio IntelliCode
  • HomeBrew
    • git
    • wget
    • composer
  • Node.js
  • Chrome, Firefox
  • LocalWP
  • Google Drive Stream
  • Spotify
  • Bear
  • Sketch, Invision Studio, and Figma
  • Grammerly

The Migration

The final step is making the move! Being by selecting all your files and moving them onto your computer however you want. Download and install your applications and either sync or update all of your settings.

Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash