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Windows 7: How can I save/export all Windows OS personalizations,

12 May 2010   #1

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 
How can I save/export all Windows OS personalizations,

Hello everyone,

I am trying to clean up my system and troubleshoot a couple of issues, so I want to either do the Windows Repair Install or a fresh Windows install. However, I do not want to lose all of my personal Windows settings. These, to me, include Theme - Wallpaper, personal cursors, Taskbar Settings, Windows login screen changes, Personal User Account Icons, etc., all OS customizations! Can these not be saved in a file(s) before doing a repair install or fresh install?

FWIW, I do have a separate data partition on my HD, but having just created it, none of the images I created in Macrium want to work, so I cannot just go back to my original image of a Windows Clean Stable Install after Customizations.

Thanks you guys!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 May 2010   #2

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 
Closing comments and desires...

Well, I finally figured out how to get my system to recognize the Macrium Images I previously made, so I am going to restore to a clean system restore I made before I started having problems, then re-do making the Data partition, and moving the files appropriately. So, I am good to go. There are a couple of things that would still help though:

1. A Windows 7 OS save settings/export settings tool which would save the customizations I have made since the clean, stable install;

2. An Outlook settings transfer tool, which would transfer or export the email setups, as well as all of the Outlook Options I have personally configured; and

3. A way to determine what changes I have made to my system since the Macrium Image was created. That way, I can pick and choose which apps I want to reinstall and which ones I do not. I tried going in to the System Restore settings, and it turns out that, when I created the Data partition and moved the files, it turned off the System Restore. Nevertheless, there were many changes made before that, which may have created restore points that I could use to identify the changes that need to be re-made. If there is a 'back door' into the System Restore log, or another system change log, it would be very advantageous to have.

So, if anyone can help me with any of these, I would have the utmost gratitude. Bill2 was kind and diligent enough to locate a superb tool for exporting my Internet Explorer settings, so that will prove most helpful. If I had such a tool for Outlook [2010], and Windows 7 OS settings, I would be ecstatic!

Thanks to all who contributed to my dilemma. I cannot express in words how grateful I am for you sharing your knowledge and insights with me. I will be "awarding rep" later today, after things settle out and I find out which posts I can give the rep to. This forum kind of limits the rep I can spread around, but I will try to give as much credit where it is due.

With utmost appreciation,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2010   #3

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

For anyone following this, there is a utility called BackRex, Backup Settings, Profile and Customizations - BackRex Software which purports to save/transfer Windows OS settings, Outlook, IE, and other apps' settings. Bill2 deserves a medal for finding this resourceful program!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 May 2010   #4

Windows 8 Core X64
 
 

BackRex costs $29.95. Why not use Windows Easy Transfer that comes with Windows 7.
Click on Start, type easy then press Enter.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2010   #5
Microsoft MVP

 

Unfortunately importing appdata settings also brings in corruption which causes problems in the first place.

It's best to go with a clean reinstall or the System image wisely made after setup, before corruption creep begins.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2010   #6

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 
Easy?

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Ztruker View Post
BackRex costs $29.95. Why not use Windows Easy Transfer that comes with Windows 7.
Click on Start, type easy then press Enter.
Ztruker,

Thanks for the info. I did not use Easy Transfer because of 2 reasons:
1. I have had bad luck in the past with it, because it was not meant (at least then) for restoring an installation; it was trying to get me to "move" to another computer, which is not what I was doing, and I did not find a way around it at that time; and
2. In the 5 or so days that I have had posts about transferring settings on these forums no one has sggested this.

If you know something that is either a) new about this and it is now meant for restoring OS customizations, etc., or b) why has no one else recommended it?

(I am not being facetious or anything, I am welcoming your input, as always!)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2010   #7

Windows 8 Core X64
 
 

No, sorry, I don't know much about it at all. I've used it once to transfer some stuff from a Vista computer to a Win 7 computer and personalization settings was not a concern.

If BackRex actually does what it says it will, perhaps that is the way to go.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2010   #8

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

I ran BackRex, and saved all of my settings that it offered. However, I did not end up using it for 2 reasons:
1. I was doing a system restore, re-creating the data partion, re-moving my data files to the new partition, deleting the data files, copying the data files back from the most recent Macrium image by mounting the image to a drive letter, then re-doing my Outlook. Since I do not have a clean system backup image of this setup YET, I was reluctant to use BackRex, because it might have restored too much. Once I have an OS Image backup, and need to save my settings, for instance when I uninstall the Office 2010 beta and install the retail version, then I would try BackRex and see how it works for my Office settings. AND
2. The BackRex demo version does not have full functionality, so I was concerned that it would not do the things I needed. It also does not officially support Outlook 2010. So, I have emailed them and it is going to be in the next release. I also asked them to instead of offering a function restricted demo, to offer a time restricted demo, so that people could actually use it before making a purchase decision.

Thanks for trying to help, Ztruker, I do appreciate your input. But I have a feeling that the "easy transfer" isn't as "easy" as they make it out to be!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2010   #9

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

2 things,....

GregRocker is correct and

Windows Easy Transfer doesn't always work, and can take more time than it's worth just to find out that it didn't work. However, when it does work, it's usually OK. But, I do not use it at all any longer as the times it doesn't work and the time consuming nature of the app itself isn't worth the effort.

This is the reason most people do not recommend it as an option.
Well, that and the fact that honestly, no one uses it.

However, if it actually did what it is reported to do and it did it flawlessly, trust me, it would be talked about regularly.

On the side note of Outlook Settings backups. These are now held in the registry and there is no exporting of the account settings for outlook 2007 and up. This is a bummer, , but it might be possible to locate some of the account settings in the registry and export them. I will be looking into this at some point, but, who knows. Personally, I wouldn't buy any app to do this with. They are basically doing the same thing........ Not to mention,, as greg says,, who knows what corruptions they are exporting and transferring to a clean install.
It is best to always start from scratch and have a known good image to restore from as needed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2010   #10

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 
Tepid >>> Hit the nail on the head!

Tepid,

That is precisely what I was trying to say, about a) Easy transfer only sometimes working; and b) Concurring with GregRocker about not wanting to restore garbage with the good stuff. I did not know what BackRex was going to bring along if I used it.

Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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