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I have to do a clean install of Win 7 on both of my machines, and would like to backup my applications if possible. I already run nightly backups to two external HDs for my files. I know I could save a system image but that wouldn't help when restoring to a new os would it?

Each computer is a unique case so I'll list both situations.

  1. My laptop
    Running vista 32-bit and I might be upgrading to win 7 64-bit (requiring clean install).
    I say might because I don't really want to, but I bought 64-bit for my other computer and don't want to purchase 2 versions of the same OS.

  2. My Homemade Gaming Computer
    I have Win 7 RC (64-bit) running on it right now. There never was an OS before the RC so I will have to do a clean install here as well.

Any suggestions on the best way to do this? As I said before, my files are backed up I'm just looking for an easier way than reinstalling all my applications (I'm a developer so I have a lot). I really don't want to wait for VS 2008 to install again :)

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

driveimage-xml will create an image, and then let you browse the files through the new OS. I know that you can extract files and folders (as in documents), but I'm not sure whether it can extract an application or an entire "Program files" folder to install. Worth a try?

Tutorial (which doesn't mention restoring applications) on lifehacker

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You can always do unattended installs of programs such as Visual Studio, however it will not be any quicker - it will simply take as long as it would normally but not ask for any prompts.

The only way to really stop installation is to take an image and it is what I have done on my machine.

I have seen a few people come up with programs and methods for installation, or capturing installs, but again, it will usually always take the actual same time to install.

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Is there a way to backup the current application though? – CSharperWithJava Oct 22 '09 at 17:37
what do you mean current application? If you go in to Settings > Backup and Restore, and you can create an image of your machine. This image includes ALL settings, programs and anything else you can imagine. The next time you restore this image, your machine will be in an identical state to how it was when you took the image. – William Hilsum Oct 22 '09 at 17:47
sorry, I meant current applicationS. I know I could backup a system image, but I can't restore that without replacing my new OS with the one stored on the image right? – CSharperWithJava Oct 22 '09 at 17:52
Correct, however you need to define "restore to a new OS" in your question... any sort of reinstallation of the OS will require you to reinstall from scratch... by having an image, you won't need to do this, you will just be able to put it back to when everything was working. At the end of the day, what are you actually trying to achieve? – William Hilsum Oct 22 '09 at 18:54

CSharperWithJava -

There is no way to backup and restore an application/program from one computer to another. On some programs - you can uninstall it and re-use the product key, but not all allow this.

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Other answers stated ways to do this though. – Simon Sheehan Mar 1 '12 at 20:26

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