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Windows 7: How to backup user data before major hardware change

11 Feb 2013   #1
Rockydog1947

Win 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 
How to backup user data before major hardware change

Hi! In the next couple days I will be installing an Asrock Z77 OC formula with an Intel Core i7 3770K processor. I have a lot of programs that have user data that I don't want to lose. What is the best way to go about doing this? I already have movies, books and music on external hard drives but want to backup the program profiles associated with them.

I've only had one user profile "Admin" (Locks on other user profiles) but was finally able to locate it with this command %userprofile%\AppData .

Do I copy the whole folder ie Mozilla, Thunderbird and place on an external hard drive and then transfer back after the new install or only part of the folder.

Another example is Newsbin that I use to download from newsgroups and it has my server info, all the newsgroup headers that I've subscribed to. So would I backup the whole folder.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated to save as much data as I can for important programs.

Thanks, Ken


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Feb 2013   #2
TwoCables

 

I know that with Firefox and Thunderbird, it really is just as simple as putting the contents of the user folder in a safe place. I learned this by having the same desire that you have, so I began Googling things like "How to backup Firefox" (and other programs) and I eventually had most of them figured out thanks to that.

For Firefox (and it works in a nearly identical way for Thunderbird), you need to copy the contents of the user folder that has the randomly generated name. For example, mine is 6k60u6q3.default. Yours will have a similar name (random string followed by ".default"). Copy/paste the contents of this folder to a safe place. After the fresh installation of Windows and after installing Firefox, close Firefox and find the new 'randomstring.default' folder and copy/paste the files into this folder. Open Firefox and it will be just like you never left - with one exception: your Plugins. I'm talking about Flash, Shockwave, Java, QuickTime, Adobe Acrobat, etc. Your extensions and themes will remain intact.

Do the same for Thunderbird (although, it's been a couple of years since I last used it).

Regarding other programs, check for built-in backup features (or Export options).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Feb 2013   #3
Rockydog1947

Win 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Thanks for the reply, Two Cables. I was eventually able to back up all the programs that had info that was important.

I did find this MozBackup - Backup tool for Firefox and Thunderbird as suggested on Mozilla's site. After I reinstall I just have to import everything back.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Feb 2013   #4
TwoCables

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Rockydog1947 View Post
Thanks for the reply, Two Cables. I was eventually able to back up all the programs that had info that was important.
You're welcome! I'm glad you were able to get all of them done as opposed to only some!


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Rockydog1947 View Post
I did find this MozBackup - Backup tool for Firefox and Thunderbird as suggested on Mozilla's site. After I reinstall I just have to import everything back.
I never do that because I don't know if it gets everything. I just do what I recommended and everything is back to the way it was, including my about:config tweaks (even my window size and position). The only thing that's not back to the way it was are my Plugins, and that's easy because it's just a matter of installing Flash, Shockwave, Adobe Acrobat, etc.

So, the way I do it literally means that I don't lose anything. I can even be in the middle of typing something up in certain forms and continue typing where I left off afterward.

All I have to do is copy the contents of my user folder, paste it to a safe location, format and start over, install Windows, install Firefox, close Firefox (it's critical to let it open at least once), copy/paste that user data into the new folder, open Firefox, and it's like I never left.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2013   #5
Rockydog1947

Win 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Just a quick followup on the new build. I was unable to recover the backup as suggested by Twocables (I may have done it wrong) however the MozBackup worked perfectly. It restored my browser and email exactly as it was before.

Ken
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2013   #6
TwoCables

 

In the future, it's as simple as this:
  1. Copy the contents of the Profile folder named randomstring.default. Example: 6k60u6q3.default
  2. Paste them to a safe place
  3. Format and start over or whatever needs to be done
  4. Install Windows
  5. Install Firefox
  6. Open Firefox
  7. Close it
  8. Open %appdata%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
  9. Look for the new profile folder (again, randomstring.default)
  10. Open it
  11. Open the folder containing the 'old' files that you put in a safe place earlier
  12. Copy and paste them into the new profile folder
  13. Open Firefox
  14. Install Plugins (e.g. Flash, Shockwave, etc.) Your extensions are all there.

I believe that this works the same way for Thunderbird.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 How to backup user data before major hardware change




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