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The included backup mechanism that comes with windows 7 seems pretty nice and stays out of your way.

But does anyone know if programs are also included in the backup? That is if my hard drive dies can I do a full recovery from backup so that I don't have to reinstall all my programs?

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File and folder backup or Windows Image backup? – Moab Jan 28 '12 at 16:33
@Moab Windows image backup I guess, because I chose to include a Image backup as well along with my home folders. – 7wp Jan 30 '12 at 16:26
@Moab when i set up the backup job, it lets me choose the home folders i want to back up, and then there is also a check box that says "include system image" – 7wp Jan 30 '12 at 21:59
I stand corrected, never used that feature, it backs up the files you choose plus it makes a system image of the drive. To answer your question, yes if you choose to include a "system Image" it will contain everything on the hard drive, if you restore using this image it will return the PC to exactly like it was at the date the image was made, image is basically a clone of the hard drive stored in an Image format. – Moab Jan 30 '12 at 22:44

If you choose to include the primary drive of your installation(e.g. C:) in the backup, and Program Files, then when you restore, you'll find the applications there.

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If you use Windows Backup to create system image, then you get a backup of the partition used by Windows, complete with programs installed. However, if you make other types of backups, it depends a lot on the selections you make.

If you are looking for guidance on what Windows Backup is able to do and how to use it, check this article: Windows Backup - How it Works and How to Create a System Image.

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