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Windows 7: Reinstall Windows and Previous Programs

11 Apr 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
Reinstall Windows and Previous Programs


There are many programs and ways to transfer settings, but I am looking for something else. Maybe someone knows how to do it and can help me.

Many times, for some reason or another, we have to make a fresh Windows reinstallation. Installing Windows is easy and fast, even faster if from the install.wim file as I learned from here, but reinstalling all the programs we have by hand and rebuilding all the system and settings is tedious and extremely long when we have many programs. It can take several days. For years I have installed my programs in a separate root folder subfolders (parallel to Program Files), but only the settings of a few because most of them are in the registry.

My question is: Is there a way to save the settings for all my programs to inject them on a new installation. This question might sound silly, but if possible, it would save an enormous lot of time to anyone, so after searching the forum and not finding any thread on this I had to ask it.

Thank you for any suggestion.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Apr 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 x64

What I've been doing is opening
%appdata% from the search box, and copying everything in that folder for backup
Then after reinstalling the associated software after reformat I paste all that information back to the same location.
This has been successful in saving settings for a great many programs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Apr 2011   #3
Microsoft MVP


Importing User Appdata or any other settings folders is a corruption path into a clean install.

The modern method is to use Win7 Backup Imaging or another imaging program to keep a baseline image after setup when everything is running well, then subsequent periodic backups so you have the choice of a more current image or the pristine baseline.
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
System Image Recovery
Macrium - Image your system

You can even SysPrep your HD then save that image, which will start up on any other machine with your own favorite installation. I have applied my best Win7 install this way to dozens of machines - by applying a SysPrepped image in 15 minutes.
SysPrep to move HD to another computer
My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 Apr 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1

Thank you so much for the answers. This is really like gold for me. I have had to make so many installations last times that after making them blindfolded I got tired of rebuilding the system. Fed up, I drag the remaining for weeks. I never know when the next time will come. I am going to save the text of this thread in cotton wool or formalin.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Apr 2011   #5

Windows 7 Pro x64

Why not use a imaging program that allows you to do a universal restore of a image to ANY hardware. Meaning you can take a image from computer A using one type/kind of hardware and restore (load) that image on Computer B with complete different hardware.

There are several imaging programs that can do this. Acronis True Image and Easeus TOTO (I think) can also.

It is a great way to take one system and all software, image that system, then when loading it on a completely different system with different hardware you use the Universal restore option and you are good to go. All you need to do once it is done it to load the specific drivers for the new/different hardware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2012   #6

windows 7 64 bit


The way that I have always reinstalled windows when I wanted to keep all of my programs and settings is. I would go over windows with a fresh copy. what you do is you install the new version of windows 7 64 bit or 32 bit doesn't matter. Or any version of windows. And what Windows will do is it will use the same partion. I do not believe that it formats the existing partion. It will install a brand new copy of windows 7, but it will keep all of your personal programs, photos videos etc. In a folder called windows.old. All the programs and everything will be in there. You just have to click on the Install icons for the programs to install them back onto windows. Everything else will be there. For tweaks and windows updates from the windows update site those will not be saved. Also make sure you save all of your favorites. If you have a second hard drive then just save everything to that hard drive it won't be the master hard drive that you would be formating anyways. The all of your programs and everything will be saved
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2012   #7
Microsoft MVP


Windows.old is not a safe backup solution. Your files should always be backed up externally, or sync'ed to the cloud or another HD or PC.

Best to go completely clean using the Best Practices in Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2012   #8

windows 7 64 bit
Reintsall Windows 7 Saving settings


I'm not saying that it is the best method I'm just saying that it has always worked for me, Like before there was this cloud and things like that. I was just talking about another possible method that wasn't talked about on here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2012   #9

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64

Windows Disk Image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Reinstall Windows and Previous Programs

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