Windows 10: Can you copy program files over to an external hard drive?

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  1.    14 Jan 2017 #1

    Can you copy program files over to an external hard drive?


    Can you copy program files over to an external hard drive? And copy them back onto your hard drive after installing Windows 10 pro? Or do you have to install all the programs again? If so is there any software that would do it for you?
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  2. Posts : 15,379
    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 14393, Windows 10 Insider Fast Ring, Windows 8.1 Update, Ubuntu
       14 Jan 2017 #2

    hollyoaks777 said: View Post
    Can you copy program files over to an external hard drive? And copy them back onto your hard drive after installing Windows 10 pro? Or do you have to install all the programs again? If so is there any software that would do it for you?
    If they are "installed" you need to reinstall them, because of the registry.
    If they are portable's, you can copy & paste(might want to get any .ini files belonging to them, as they contain any specific settings)

    See here: installation - What's the difference between portable and install versions? - Super User.
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  3.    14 Jan 2017 #3

    Cliff S said: View Post
    If they are "installed" you need to reinstall them, because of the registry.
    If they are portable's, you can copy & paste(might want to get any .ini files belonging to them, as they contain any specific settings)

    See here: installation - What's the difference between portable and install versions? - Super User.
    You would think Microsoft would have come up with solution for this. It will take me 2 days to install everything. Is pro much better than Home Cliff? I think I have reported you from my phone pressing the wrong button to add to your rep. Let me know if you get any problems and I will put them straight very sorry. But message was thanks for your help. Hopefully common sense will prevail. Going to do it correctly now. Can you please add text below the button to give the person who is helping you the correct response. Going to add to rep now. Let me know if I have indeed done this very sorry if I have.
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  4. Posts : 15,379
    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 14393, Windows 10 Insider Fast Ring, Windows 8.1 Update, Ubuntu
       14 Jan 2017 #4

    hollyoaks777 said: View Post
    OK thanks. Need to look up what .ini files are. Is pro that much better than Home? Cliff
    First: What Are These desktop.ini Files I Keep Seeing?
    They also are used to save any settings a portable program might offer you, like Ccleaner does on both their installer version and portable version(if on a USB stick this is useful so you don't have to select/unselect what you want to clean before each use, on different PC's)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I use Pro because it has Hyper-V(only good if your CPU supports virtualization) It also has Bitlocker encryption, but I don't use that, as it just complicates some things, like possible data recovery from a dead HDD, or taking my data disk and placing it in another PC.
    But Pro & Home, as far as Windows and normal day to day stuff are the same.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  5.    14 Jan 2017 #5

    Cliff S said: View Post
    First: What Are These desktop.ini Files I Keep Seeing?
    They also are used to save any settings a portable program might offer you, like Ccleaner does on both their installer version and portable version(if on a USB stick this is useful so you don't have to select/unselect what you want to clean before each use, on different PC's)
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Image 008.png 
Views:	13 
Size:	40.5 KB 
ID:	117167

    I use Pro because it has Hyper-V(only good if your CPU supports virtualization) It also has Bitlocker encryption, but I don't use that, as it just complicates some things, like possible data recovery from a dead HDD, or taking my data disk and placing it in another PC.
    But Pro & Home, as far as Windows and normal day to day stuff are the same.
    Thanks Cliff I have put that straight for you and you shouldn't get any hassle. Let me know if you do. Thanks again Cliff just going to stay with Home.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    14 Jan 2017 #6

    hollyoaks777 said: View Post
    You would think Microsoft would have come up with solution for this.
    Why should it be Microsoft's responsibility to make sure that hundreds of thousands of programs by just as many different software makers be transferable to new Windows installations?
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  7.    14 Jan 2017 #7

    Just a thought. They make Billions. If not trillions. If I had the money that's what I would do. Starting up a new company and OS. Then I think you would see everyone move to that OS. Why do they bother about transferring to a new computer. If they shouldn't bother about it.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    14 Jan 2017 #8

    You can't do it in Linux, either.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    14 Jan 2017 #9

    hollyoaks777 said: View Post
    Can you copy program files over to an external hard drive? And copy them back onto your hard drive after installing Windows 10 pro? Or do you have to install all the programs again? If so is there any software that would do it for you?
    There are multiple problems with this for installed applications. When applications are installed they typically create registry entries and they do so wherever they please. There are no firm standards for this, only recommendations, and they are frequently ignored. Even if there were standards they could not be enforced. Many applications also have support files which are stored wherever the developer wishes. All of this is known only to the developer and the application installer and is very rarely published. Applications manage their own registry entries and support files and Windows knows next to nothing about it. The problem cannot be solved by Microsoft without major changes to the way applications are installed and that would have huge compatibility problems.

    There are programs that claim to be able to do this but I have no experience with them and do not trust them.
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  10. Posts : 3,356
    Win10 Home and Pro, Win10 Insider Preview, Win7 Home, Linux Mint
       14 Jan 2017 #10

    As mentioned, when a Windows-based program is installed it makes Registry entries so Windows knows how to run it but it also installs support files such as DLL in the Windows Folders and/or subFolders, installs the program files in C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86) and creates the icons in the menus where needed.

    C:\Program Files is on both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.
    C:\Program Files (x86) exists only on the 64-bit version, is where 32-bit programs get installed.

    It used to be possible to do as asked back in the days of DOS and sometimes Windows 3.xx but things started changing with advent of Windows 95.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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