Greetings! I blog to you today from my brand new 20" iMac. I've spent the last couple of weekends moving my digital life onto this machine, and having a general tidy up and consolidate. The old Dell, with its plethora of cables, is in a temporary location in the family room: I still need it to read a few old zip drive cartridges, and when I'm sure I've got them all, I can decommission the machine, and send it to charity. I've also installed a 1.5TB Western Digital My Book Pro II, to act as a Time Machine disk for the iMac, and to provide some shared storage. I'm consolidating all my small external hard drives (to my shame, there are 4 of these of differing sizes, and 4 copies of some files), and cleaning up files going back to 1996. My desk is now much less cluttered - that Dell was a messy thing, cables everywhere - and a pleasant sense of order is developing.
One of the things that always worries me about decommissioning a machine is the chance that I will either omit to archive some data, or that I will loose access data because it is in some old or proprietary format. This has happened to me before - I have a CD that contains my old Lotus Notes mail box from a job I had about 12 years ago: I can no longer read that data, because the I no longer own a machine that runs the old Notes client. I junked it a couple of years back, knowing that I was losing access to the data.
But this time, I've used VMware to insure myself against possible problems. I've converted the entire operating system on the old Dell to a virtual machine, and loaded it onto the Mac, where I can used VMware Fusion to access it. I downloaded the VMware Converter (which is free) and installed it on a Windows XP machine, did the P2V, copied the files it created onto the Mac, installed the VMware tools, and it works fine. And Windows 2000 starts a whole lot faster on the Mac than it did on the Dell!