Export all Windows settings to a text file?

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  1. W130SN's Avatar
    Posts : 21
    WINDOWS 10
       #1

    Export all Windows settings to a text file?


    Is there any way to export all Windows settings to a text file?

    Is it possible to extract all windows settings from 2 machines and is there a way to compare the differences?

    AFAIK there isn't but I am hoping that the brilliant minds on this forum might have a solution.

    I came across this software below, unfortunately it doesn't look like it has the options I am looking for, has anybody tried it and can recommend it?

    Configuration Comparison Tool - Compare Two Windows Servers

    Alternatively has anybody got a good resource with all setting options listed?
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  2. x509's Avatar
    Posts : 853
    Windows 10 Pro
       #2

    W130SN said:
    Is there any way to export all Windows settings to a text file?

    Is it possible to extract all windows settings from 2 machines and is there a way to compare the differences?

    AFAIK there isn't but I am hoping that the brilliant minds on this forum might have a solution.

    I came across this software below, unfortunately it doesn't look like it has the options I am looking for, has anybody tried it and can recommend it?

    Configuration Comparison Tool - Compare Two Windows Servers

    Alternatively has anybody got a good resource with all setting options listed?
    Besides that, did you check the pricing for the single-user "technician license?"
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  3. W130SN's Avatar
    Posts : 21
    WINDOWS 10
    Thread Starter
       #3

    x509 said:
    Besides that, did you check the pricing for the single-user "technician license?"
    No I didn't check the pricing, figured it would be something enterprise level, they do have a 14 day trial but don't really want to test it unless I know it can do the job.

    EDIT: Wow, just took a look at pricing. ������
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  4. Posts : 264
    Windows 10
       #4

    This might be useful: Download What Changed - MajorGeeks
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  5. W130SN's Avatar
    Posts : 21
    WINDOWS 10
    Thread Starter
       #5

    xaccell said:
    Thank you, I have used that software before, it is useful but doesn't really work like I need it to.
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  6. RickC's Avatar
    Posts : 677
    Windows 7 + 10
       #6

    W130SN said:
    Is it possible to extract all windows settings from 2 machines and is there a way to compare the differences?
    I'm not aware of any such tool available for 'home use' but as most Windows settings are stored in the Registry it shouldn't be impossible to use a succession of 'RegRead' calls to dump to a text file. It all depends on what settings you mean and whether the settings locations can be found easily.

    For example, it's easy to locate the configuration state of Windows services (i.e. whether 'disabled') or the workgroup name or many of the network settings.

    How you export the detail is up to you - a BAT/CMD script, a PowerShell script or - what I use - AutoHotkey (but AutoIt can also be used). They all allow the use of commands to export the information that I think you are referring to... you would just need to 'append' each output to a single destination file so the info doesn't end up in multiple text files. To be honest, PowerShell is probably best suited for the task... but many people (like me) find it difficult to write the necessary queries. As a result I use a combination of AutoHotkey for the simple RegReads and PowerShell for the more complex interrogation of the OS, e.g. what optional features (like SMB1) are installed.

    (I use a similar method - i.e. running an AutoHotkey script chock-full of RegWrites - to configure new devices to a common standard.) One problem is that Microsoft now appears to be intent on obfuscating many of the settings which previously were visible in easily-understood human-readable locations with - for example - straighforward filepaths.

    If you do a Google search for something like registry settings to text file you'll discover loads of examples of how people have used different methods to create the text file.

    Once the text files are created they can then be compared easily using something like Notepad++'s Compare plug-in:
    Export all Windows settings to a text file?-notepad-compare.png

    W130SN said:
    Alternatively has anybody got a good resource with all setting options listed?
    What sort of 'settings options' are you interested in? If, for example, you want something like O&O ShutUp10 then the Privacy settings it uses are fairly simple to duplicate. Here, for example, is a snippet from an AutoHotkey script that configures Privacy settings to a common standard:

    Code:
    ; *********************************
    ; Section 8 - Privacy (inc. telemetry)
    ; *********************************
    
    ; Section 8a - General
    ; Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps (1=Turn ON / 0=Turn OFF)
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\AdvertisingInfo, Enabled, 0
    ; Turn on SmartScreen Filter to check web content (URLs) that Windows Store apps use (1=Turn ON / 0=Turn OFF)
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\AppHost, EnableWebContentEvaluation, 0
    ; Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future (1=Turn ON / 0=Turn OFF)
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Input\TIPC, Enabled, 0
    ; Let websites provide locally relevant content by accessing my language list (1=Turn OFF / 0=Turn ON)
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\Control Panel\International\User Profile, HttpAcceptLanguageOptOut, 1
    
    ; Section 8b - Location
    ; Location services for this account - Turn OFF
    RegWrite, REG_SZ, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DeviceAccess\Global\{BFA794E4-F964-4FDB-90F6-51056BFE4B44}, Value, Deny ; (Allow=Turn ON / Deny=Turn OFF)
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Sensor\Permissions\{BFA794E4-F964-4FDB-90F6-51056BFE4B44}, SensorPermissionState, 0 ;  (1=Turn ON / 0=Turn OFF)
    
    ; Section 8c - Camera
    ; Let apps use my camera (Allow=Turn ON / Deny=Turn OFF)
    RegWrite, REG_SZ, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DeviceAccess\Global\{E5323777-F976-4f5b-9B55-B94699C46E44}, Value, Deny

    The script continues through multiple devices then ends with a section turning telemetry and background apps off:

    Code:
    ; Section 8n - Feedback & diagnostics (aka telemetry)
    ; Feedback frequency - Windows should ask for my feedback - NEVER (SIUF = System Initiated User Feedback)
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Siuf\Rules, NumberOfSIUFInPeriod, 0
    ; Diagnostic and usage data - Send your device data to Microsoft - BASIC
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\DataCollection, AllowTelemetry, 1
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection, AllowTelemetry, 0
    ; Media Player - Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) tracking - DISABLE
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences, UsageTracking, 0
    
    ; Section 8o - Background apps
    ; Alarms & clocks - Turn OFF
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\BackgroundAccessApplications\Microsoft.WindowsAlarms_10.1603.12020.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe, Disabled, 1
    ; Skype video - Turn OFF
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\BackgroundAccessApplications\Microsoft.Messaging_2.15.20002.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe, Disabled, 1

    For YOUR purposes, the script would not use 'RegWrite' but use 'RegRead' instead to read the value of each key then append the name of the key and its value to a text file for comparison.

    However, as you can see from the code snippets above, it's not an easy undertaking working out where the settings are stored.

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by RickC; 26 Jan 2020 at 20:39.
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  7. W130SN's Avatar
    Posts : 21
    WINDOWS 10
    Thread Starter
       #7

    RickC said:
    I'm not aware of any such tool available for 'home use' but as most Windows settings are stored in the Registry it shouldn't be impossible to use a succession of 'RegRead' calls to dump to a text file. It all depends on what settings you mean and whether the settings locations can be found easily.

    For example, it's easy to locate the configuration state of Windows services (i.e. whether 'disabled') or the workgroup name or many of the network settings.

    How you export the detail is up to you - a BAT/CMD script, a PowerShell script or - what I use - AutoHotkey (but AutoIt can also be used). They all allow the use of commands to export the information that I think you are referring to... you would just need to 'append' each output to a single destination file so the info doesn't end up multiple text files. To be honest, PowerShell is probably best suited for the task... but many people (like me) find it difficult to write the necessary queries. As a result I use a combination of AutoHotkey for the simple RegReads and PowerShell for the more complex interrogation of the OS, e.g. what optional features (like SMB1) are installed.

    (I use a similar method - i.e. running an AutoHotkey script chock-full of RegWrites - to configure new devices to a common standard.) One problem is that Microsoft now appears to be intent on obfuscating many of the settings which previously were visible in easily-understood human-readable locations with - for example - straighforward filepaths.

    If you do a Google search for something like registry settings to text file you'll discover loads of examples of how people have used different methods to create the text file.

    Once the text files are created they can then be compared easily using something like Notepad++'s Compare plug-in:
    Export all Windows settings to a text file?-notepad-compare.png



    What sort of 'settings options' are you interested in? If, for example, you want something like O&O ShutUp10 then the Privacy settings it uses are fairly simple to duplicate. Here, for example, is a snippet from an AutoHotkey script that configures Privacy settings to a common standard:

    Code:
    ; *********************************
    ; Section 8 - Privacy (inc. telemetry)
    ; *********************************
    
    ; Section 8a - General
    ; Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps (1=Turn ON / 0=Turn OFF)
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\AdvertisingInfo, Enabled, 0
    ; Turn on SmartScreen Filter to check web content (URLs) that Windows Store apps use (1=Turn ON / 0=Turn OFF)
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\AppHost, EnableWebContentEvaluation, 0
    ; Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future (1=Turn ON / 0=Turn OFF)
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Input\TIPC, Enabled, 0
    ; Let websites provide locally relevant content by accessing my language list (1=Turn OFF / 0=Turn ON)
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\Control Panel\International\User Profile, HttpAcceptLanguageOptOut, 1
    
    ; Section 8b - Location
    ; Location services for this account - Turn OFF
    RegWrite, REG_SZ, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DeviceAccess\Global\{BFA794E4-F964-4FDB-90F6-51056BFE4B44}, Value, Deny ; (Allow=Turn ON / Deny=Turn OFF)
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Sensor\Permissions\{BFA794E4-F964-4FDB-90F6-51056BFE4B44}, SensorPermissionState, 0 ;  (1=Turn ON / 0=Turn OFF)
    
    ; Section 8c - Camera
    ; Let apps use my camera (Allow=Turn ON / Deny=Turn OFF)
    RegWrite, REG_SZ, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DeviceAccess\Global\{E5323777-F976-4f5b-9B55-B94699C46E44}, Value, Deny

    The script continues through multiple devices then ends with a section turning telemetry and background apps off:

    Code:
    ; Section 8n - Feedback & diagnostics (aka telemetry)
    ; Feedback frequency - Windows should ask for my feedback - NEVER (SIUF = System Initiated User Feedback)
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Siuf\Rules, NumberOfSIUFInPeriod, 0
    ; Diagnostic and usage data - Send your device data to Microsoft - BASIC
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\DataCollection, AllowTelemetry, 1
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection, AllowTelemetry, 0
    ; Media Player - Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) tracking - DISABLE
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences, UsageTracking, 0
    
    ; Section 8o - Background apps
    ; Alarms & clocks - Turn OFF
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\BackgroundAccessApplications\Microsoft.WindowsAlarms_10.1603.12020.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe, Disabled, 1
    ; Skype video - Turn OFF
    RegWrite, REG_DWORD, HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\BackgroundAccessApplications\Microsoft.Messaging_2.15.20002.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe, Disabled, 1

    For YOUR purposes, the script would not use 'RegWrite' but use 'RegRead' instead to read the value of each key then append the name of the key and its value to a text file for comparison.

    However, as you can see from the code snippets above, it's not an easy undertaking working out where the settings are stored.

    Hope this helps...
    Thank you very much for the detailed response. The reason for asking is that I wanted to compare several machines to see differences in their Windows settings. I was hoping that there might be a software program available with that function but I haven't found one.

    I like your idea of the script to to configure new devices to a common standard, this is what I want to implement on my Home Network. Thanks again, you have given me some ideas to play around with.
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  8. Samuria's Avatar
    Posts : 6,058
    windows 10
       #8

    It's not really possible as another pc won't be the same devices may be using different IRQ and DMA and other settings may be different so any changes may not work or brick it
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  9. W130SN's Avatar
    Posts : 21
    WINDOWS 10
    Thread Starter
       #9

    Samuria said:
    It's not really possible as another pc won't be the same devices may be using different IRQ and DMA and other settings may be different so any changes may not work or brick it
    I agree @Samuria but it is really only the Windows Settings/Options from the Settings App I would like to extract and compare.
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  10. RickC's Avatar
    Posts : 677
    Windows 7 + 10
       #10

    W130SN said:
    it is really only the Windows Settings/Options from the Settings App I would like to extract and compare.
    One problem is that 'settings' are not solely confined to the Settings app (some can still only be viewed easily from within the Control Panel) and aren't all stored in the Registry.

    For example, say you had a network access issue reaching a NAS and wanted to compare whether or not the SMB1 protocol (a deprecated Windows feature that remains important for people who still have older storage devices on their home networks) was activated on each of 2 PCs. You can drill down all you want in the Settings app but this settings info is not to be found in Settings\Network nor even in Settings\Apps\Apps & features\Manage optional features. (My Win 10 Pro 1809 install actually shows 'No features installed.' even thought I DO have the SMB1 protocol added back in as an optional Windows feature.)

    Instead you have to use Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Programs and Features\Turn Windows features on or off to see the info. As a result it's usually easier to use a PowerShell query (e.g. Get-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online) to display the Windows Features info or dump it to a text file.

    Exactly what sort of Windows Settings/Options info are you looking to dump to text?
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