Ask Walt

Cellphones


You have some tech questions, I have some answers. Every Friday, I try to resolve these mysteries, succinctly and in plain language. Please send questions to walt@recode.net. Note that I won’t be able to diagnose your personal tech glitches and problems. I also reserve the right to edit questions for length or clarity, and to combine similar inquiries.

Q. I have an iPhone 4s and am eligible to upgrade. I want another iPhone, and I’ve heard some rumblings about a possible release of the iPhone 6. I’m enjoying the 4s — it does what I need, and it fits comfortably in my purse. I’m not looking for a huge screen. So, is there a compelling reason to wait for the iPhone 6, versus going out and getting the 5s?

A. Apple is being its usual secretive self about the details of the next iPhone, which is likely to be unveiled in the fall, if past patterns prevail. But it’s widely expected to have a larger screen than the current iPhone 5s (whether it will be a “huge” screen compared to some of the really large competitors out there now remains to be seen). It is also expected to have an improved processor, and to be quite thin. There could be other hardware changes to accommodate Apple initiatives in areas like health and fitness tracking and mobile payments, but I can’t say for sure.

Having said that, the 5s would be a substantial improvement over your 4s, and is selling much better than Apple’s less expensive 5c model. It gives you a larger screen than your current iPhone without increasing width, and it’s noticeably lighter and thinner. So it’ll still fit nicely in your purse. It’s also much faster, has a fingerprint reader, includes a special built-in activity-tracking chip so you can measure your steps without a fitness band, and offers a much better camera.

Q. Is there a program or service I can use to easily upgrade everything, including my programs, from Windows XP to a new machine running Windows 7?

A. The biggest problem with migrating your stuff from one version of Windows to another is moving the programs, because the files they depend upon are all over the place. Also, some programs you are running on XP, which is ancient in tech terms, might not run well, or at all, on Windows 7, despite the compatibility settings in that later version. Microsoft’s built-in transfer utility in Windows 7 only moves files and settings, not programs.

Windows XP

Microsoft

Many people just settle for moving their data, and then reinstall the programs they need, either from disks they’ve saved, or by re-downloading them. But this can be a big hassle.

There is a program called PCmover that claims to move everything over, including programs, but I have heard mixed reports about it from readers.

For anyone who either can’t, or would rather not, perform the migration manually, I suggest that you hire a local computer tech to do it for you.




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