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I am about to reinstall my Windows based PC (Win 7). Everytime I do this I pray and hope I didn't forget to back something up and forget something or other.

I was wondering if there is a checklist online that has a list of stuff you should backup prior to doing a reinstall?

Last time I forget browser shortcuts and favorites. Just due to the sheer amount of stuff stored, its easy to forget stuff like VPN connections or locally stored images, documents etc.

So working from a checklist might give me ideas for stuff I might have otherwise forgotten.

Does such a checklist exist?

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If you have enough space, just create a complete back-up. ;-) – Tom Wijsman Aug 31 '10 at 14:49
up vote 1 down vote accepted

No, but that's why you have us at SU - and we're great at making stuff up :-) So, here goes:

  • backup Desktop, My Documents and all those places where you intentionally store your data
  • backup your browser Passwords, Add-onns, Bookmarks and Extensions
  • Outlook or your favourite email program - address book, Data files (which contains mails and such)
  • think about what programs on your system store settings in their Application Directories, and what programs are portable (you can backup them directly)
  • backup folders where non portable programs store their settings
  • make a screenshot of your fully expanded Start menu ... helps with reinstall later (otherwise you'll be reinstalling things for a week, each day something new as you need it, and didn't remember it sooner)
  • download all installers for your programs in advance, if you need any. This goes for drivers too.
  • off your Windows directory: wallpapers, themes, custom fonts you had installed, ...

'tis all I could think of now ...

Also, googling for: "backup checklist" gives a ton of there lists. Naturally, half of the above is swiped off those I found just now.

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This is an excellent answer. getting the installers ready before the time is a nice idea. – JL. Aug 31 '10 at 19:27

What I was doing while using windows was to hold a copy of "Document and Settings" (Vista: "Users") and the "Program Files" directory on an external disk.

If any settings are missing you can simply copy them out of there (e.g. Application settings in /user/foo/local settings).

After everything is OK with the new system you can delete it. :)

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