Fresh install help file backup

  1.    06 Nov 2015 #1

    Fresh install help file backup

    Where can I get a list of files I need to copy before formatting my hard drive?

    boy, I miss Easy File Transfer.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 5,526
    Win10 Home and Pro, Win10 Insider Preview, WinXP Home Premium, Linux Mint
       06 Nov 2015 #2

    BillS22 said: View Post
    Where can I get a list of files I need to copy before formatting my hard drive?

    boy, I miss Easy File Transfer.
    What I copy to other media are data files I've created or that exist nowhere else or would take considerable time getting again, mostly pictures, music I've ripped from CD, video clips I've downloaded, etc. Only you can decide what you want to keep that you haven't copied before, that is if you have other copies. I don't use backup programs, just copy files to an External USB HDD so I can use them on any computer in Windows Explorer [Win7 and earlier] or File Explorer [Win8 and newer] without having to install a program. Some I can even view on Mac OS X and Linux, common formats.
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  3.    06 Nov 2015 #3

    I'm more concerned on how to save my outlook files and contacts. My favorites. Etc. those system files that will restore my email, contacts, favorites, everything easy file transfer did for you in win 7. Win 10 doesn't have EFT.
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  4. spapakons's Avatar
    Posts : 2,557
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1803 (April 2018 build 17134.345)
       07 Nov 2015 #4

    Well, I am a computer technician and I have routinely backup my customers' data for a clean-install. I first open the C: drive in This PC. Here I have a look for any non-standard folder, such as drivers, manufacturer's utility installers etc. I copy these to the backup, simple copy-paste, no special software needed. Then I open C:\Users this is the folder where all the user account data are kept. Each user has its own home folder like C:\Users\username. I open the home folder of the user and make sure I copy the following folders: Documents, Downloads, Favorites (contains all IE bookmarks), Music, Pictures, Saved games (contains any saves to MS games), Videos. These are the standard folders. I also copy any non-standard folder is there that may contain data from a specific application. Next step is to enable view for hidden files and then open the AppData folder. Then open Local folder. Outlook files are in AppData/Local/Microsoft/Outlook so I copy the Outlook folder to the backup. If he is using Windows Live Mail, I would also copy any folder referring to Windows Live and Windows Mail. To backup Mozilla Firefox, don't forget to copy the folder AppData/Local/Mozilla. Since you have to restore these folders to the same place, I create a folder AppData_Local in the backup and copy these there to remember where to restore them later. Then go to AppData/Roaming and backup the AppData/Romaing/Microsoft/Outlook folder. For Firefox, also copy the AppData/Roaming/Mozilla folder. Again I copy these to a folder named AppData_Roaming to remember to restore them there. Next step is to open the C:\Program Files and C:\Program Files (x86) (for 64-bit systems). Copy any folder that might work without reinstallation. These are usually folders from games that can run without reinstallation, they simply ask to put the game DVD-ROM for validation before they load. To backup Firefox, also copy the Mozilla folder from there. To backup Windows Mail, also backup any relevant folder from there. To remember to put them in program files, I create a folder Programs and copy them there. For Outlook it is also safe to load it and export your account to a PST file. You can then import this PST file in the new installation. If done correctly, it should contain all your contacts and e-mails.

    After you have formatted the disk and made a clean-install of Windows 10, copy the backup at the appropriate folder. That is, the folders in C:\ just put them there. All user folders, copy them in C:\Users\username, when asked for replace, reply yes. All folders in AppData_Local copy to C:\Users\username\AppData\Local. All folders in AppData_Roaming copy to C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming. Any extra folders in user folder copy to C:\Users\username. All folders in Programs copy to C:\Program Files and/or C:\Program Files (x86) according to where they originally were. When you install the relevant application they will be detected and used. For example after you have copied the Mozilla folders to AppData\Local AppData\Roaming and Program Files and then install Firefox, it will detect the folders and ask for upgrade, reply yes to install Firefox. When you open it you will see that all the bookmarks are preserved and even some extensions and themes, although you may have to reinstall some extensions to work. But the most important thing, bookmarks and passwords are restored!

    I hope that helps.

    PS: Rather than copy the Outlook folders from the backup, you can also create your account again in Outlook. When complete and you can send/receive e-mails, go to import from PST file (not remember the exact steps, you can Google them) and browse to the backup folder to read the PST file. It will them import all your contacts and e-mails to your account. Just make sure you import on the same folders, or you will have to open a different set of folders to see them.
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