Is it possible to backup and restore applications?
June 15, 2011 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Windows re-installation question - I do quite a few Windows re-installations, and sometimes customers do not have their Office installation CDs or Quick books installation CDs. Is there a way to back up and restore individual applications (registry and all) that can be restored after Windows is re-installed. Thanks hive mind!
posted by speedoavenger to Technology (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We've had questions of this nature before. I've never seen anything that manages to pull this off, given that files are scattered everywhere and entries run throughout the registry, rather than being in neat, self-contained bundles. It's not quite at the level of removing the Quik from your chocolate milk, but near it, to be sure.
posted by adipocere at 8:11 AM on June 15, 2011

Assuming it is an Office 2007 reinstallation, you might be looking for the Windows User State Migration Tool (USMT). For Office 2003, there is an effective settings transfer wizard to use.
posted by scooterdog at 8:14 AM on June 15, 2011

Run Keyfinder to find the product keys prior to re-installation, then install from a downloaded installer using the product key.

I'm not sure if this is the *correct* way to do things, but it has worked for me a number of times.
posted by ChrisHartley at 8:17 AM on June 15, 2011

I have done this a few times with varying degrees of success. Assuming you're running Windows 7, you will want to create a system image of your entire hard drive (on an external hard drive). Once you re install Windows, you will be able to copy the registry/program files and settings/windows settings from your external hard drive back to your computer. That's basically it -- check here for some guidance.

Note: for some programs (for whatever reason) this just won't work; no matter what you do, the program will not run without a fresh install. Give this a go, but don't bank on everything working/running exactly as it was.
posted by lobbyist at 8:21 AM on June 15, 2011

ChrisHartley's answer is the way to go. Assume you're going to need to install everything from scratch and that the customer doesn't have the disk or the key.

In fact, when I was in IT, I would make them sign a contract acknowledging that they might not get all their programs back, and explain to them how important this step of finding software/product keys was BEFORE I did a OS reinstall.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:36 AM on June 15, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everyone!
posted by speedoavenger at 10:09 AM on June 15, 2011

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