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Windows 7: Backing up and restoring AppData and Favorites


16 Jan 2014   #1

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 
Backing up and restoring AppData and Favorites

Several of my programs store their settings and/or profiles in AppData and some even store a small amount of data in there (post it notes and calendar entries). Whenever I restore my boot drive to an earlier image, I lose any changes in AppData and Favorites that were made since the image was made. If I made copies of the Appdata and Favorites folders, would it be possible to copy them back to restore any changed settings and data after an image restore?

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16 Jan 2014   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)
 
 

I'm not sure aout AppData but favorites, yes. I have my user folders on another drive, except AppData. I do 1 to 1 backups of those folders daily with Sync Toy. When I do a clean install or an image restore, I presume, the favorites are exactly the same as before the clean install. I assume the AppData would be the same way, but I'm not sure you would want to. It contains tons of stuff that you may not need or want. Perhaps certain folders in there, for instance Sticky Notes - Backup and Restore.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2014   #3

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 
Backing up and restoring AppData and Favorites

Several of my programs store their settings and/or profiles in AppData and some even store a small amount of data in there (post it notes and calendar entries). Whenever I restore my boot drive to an earlier image, I lose any changes in AppData and Favorites that were made since the image was made. If I made copies of the Appdata and Favorites folders, would it be possible to copy them back to restore any changed settings and data after an image restore?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Jan 2014   #4

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

I wanted to keep AppData where it is in C: so it gets backed up with the period system images I make in case I ever want to revert back to an earlier program setting. It's because other settings (and data) also revert back to the earlier version that I wanted to know if I could keep versioned copies of both the AppData and Favorites folders and copy back the portions I needed restored back to the current version after restoring an earlier image. Making those copies should be easy using FreeFileSync (similar to SyncToy) and should be configurable to happen when I do my daily data backups.
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16 Jan 2014   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Found it. Favorites is easy. Just copy the folder or export them to a bookmark file from within IE.

AppData is a bit more finagle. You can copy the folder (rather big) but I am not sure whether it will work perfectly after you replaced the one from the image. There may be pointers in the registry that break. I guess it is a matter of trying - make a test.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2014   #6
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Would it be better to copy over the items IN the folders instead of the whole folder? I'm assuming the restored image has AppData and Favorites folders already. If there are identical items Windows will ask to replace it, keep both, etc.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2014   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
I wanted to keep AppData where it is in C: so it gets backed up with the period system images I make in case I ever want to revert back to an earlier program setting. It's because other settings (and data) also revert back to the earlier version that I wanted to know if I could keep versioned copies of both the AppData and Favorites folders and copy back the portions I needed restored back to the current version after restoring an earlier image. Making those copies should be easy using FreeFileSync (similar to SyncToy) and should be configurable to happen when I do my daily data backups.
Lady F., by way of explanation, I moved my user folders to a data drive, however the AppData folder is still on the C drive. I don't back that up, but maybe I should. It can be quite large and have a bunch of stuff I don't care about. Certain folders in AppData I probably should back up, but don't.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2014   #8
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Restoring the bookmark file requires that you first empty the favorites folder completely. Else you will end up with duplicate entries. I would do the same with Appdata because merging can be a pain.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2014   #9

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
Would it be better to copy over the items IN the folders instead of the whole folder? I'm assuming the restored image has AppData and Favorites folders already. If there are identical items Windows will ask to replace it, keep both, etc.
My AppData folder is only 1.01GB so size doesn't worry me. I clean out temp files daily as part of my anti-malware quick scan routine and I don't have any programs, such as iTunes, that store massive amounts of data in AppData. I would copy back only the program folders within AppData that would need to be brought back to the present. Conversely, if I needed only to restore some previous settings I managed to screw up (I'm good at things like that), instead of restoring the entire C: drive, I could just copy back the offending program folder.

My concern is what Wolfgang brought up: there may be registry links that would break or something else equally insidious.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2014   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

As I suggested. Make an image now after you saved the favorites and AppData. Then restore to some earier image and replace favorites and Appdata with those you saved.

If it does not work, restore the image you just made. Easy, peasy.
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