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When I need to reformat a hard drive, or if I get a new computer, the first thing that needs to be done is to download all the backups. Depending on how old the installation media is, this can often amount to more than 500MB of backups per system.

Is it possible, on both Windows and OS X, to 'export' all the applied updates that a computer has and apply them to another computer? If not, is there some sort of work around to achieve something similar?

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To answer your question, making a complete system backup using imaging software is the easiest way, however if you want to clean up the machine at the same time easiest way is to get new slipstreamed installation for the OS, which should already cut down the amount of updates to be loaded, as these are cummalitive. Apple updates their installation DVD whenever they release a new service pack.

Alternatively download the latest service pack for and create a slipstreamed installation. For Windows products like vLite and nLite allows you to inject updates into the installation.

I personally just run a WSUS server and keep it up to date. All my machines are then uploaded over the network. For MacOSX I use an addon for ipCop that saves the updates locally.

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I don't know how realistic this is for a consumer, but Acronis TrueImage backup software allows you to make entire backups including OS and driver information which can then be moved onto a completely different system and restored without issue. That is what we personally use for all of our computers at our office and we also use it for a number of our clients. I am unsure of what the pricing may be (again I have no idea if it is reasonable for consumer-level needs).

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