Short version

I have computer A with Windows 7 with all the programs, I need to copy program X, Y and Z (with all the settings) to computer B (with Windows 7 installed). How can I do this?

So far, I found an app to duplicate programs and settings -- -- didn't try it so far.

Long version

I simply tried to put my old HDD in new computer, but Windows 7 didn't boot. So I followed the instructions ( ) to use Sysprep program on cloned HDD in order to boot in new machine. This failed as well -- when booting Windows 7 right after starting services requested restart (and after around 6 restarts I figured out, Windows does not like me).

So, now, my only shot is to install Windows 7 from scratch and I could install all the programs one by one, but I would like to avoid restoring all the settings (passwords, logins, keyboard configs, all mail, etc) from programs like Visual Studio, Opera, Thunderbird. Those 3 are the the very most important to me.

So, how to copy programs from one Win7 to another?

  • Ouch. Good luck with this one. Curious though. Why would you want to restore programs and settings that possibly killed your original OS in the first place?? – surfasb Oct 12 '11 at 10:35
  • Windows 7 is not killed, it is fully operational in OLD computer. Since I have NEW computer, I would like to use it without spending time on installing everything again (I have 2 almost identical computers, I would like to swap the disks, that's all). – greenoldman Oct 12 '11 at 10:43
  • 1
    I've usually found that reinstalling the applications as and when you need to use them is the best approach. While it does mean more work it means a) you only install those applications you're actually using and b) you get to install the latest and greatest version of the application. – ChrisF Oct 12 '11 at 11:13
  • @ChrisF: For a single user, I agree as well. It's far more bulletproof in the long run. – surfasb Oct 12 '11 at 11:44
  • 1
    @ChrisF, I don't intend to argue, but if I count all installs and re-installs (and 0 impact of using fresh install of programs; maybe I am more tidy than I thought) every time I come up to conclusion I have better things to do in my life. After all, those are repetitive, mindless tasks, thus they should be done by computers, not by humans. Every Windows-based installer is actually insult to any intelligent person (because of "yes, no, I agree to EULA, yes, continue" ...). – greenoldman Oct 13 '11 at 5:44
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Operations like these have always been dicey since 3rd Party programs can scatter their settings where ever they wish. So hunting down those settings without the use of the program's own installer is tricky.

An interesting but not bulletproof method I've used a few times is the Windows Easy Transfer, which is like a little brother of the "more complicated to setup" Microsoft USMT tool.

There are other options like the popular LapLink.

The How-To Geek has typed a good guide to Windows Easy Transfer. I copied the instructions without screenshots.

Migrate XP to Windows 7 with Easy Transfer Over the Network

If you get a new computer with Windows 7 and your current machine is running XP, the thought of transferring your files and settings can be quite daunting. Microsoft has created a program called Windows Easy Transfer that is already included in Vista and can be download for XP and 2000. Here we will take a look at the process of using it to transfer files and settings from an XP machine to the new Windows 7.

Starting with the Windows 7 machine open the Start menu and go to Getting Started and under Tasks click “Transfer your files”.

Click through the welcome screen and choose the method for transferring the data…in this demo we’ll use a network connection.

Next select that this is the new computer.

The next screen click on “I need to install it now”.

Choose a network or external drive to install the latest version of Easy Transfer. If you use a flash drive a freshly formatted one is recommended as it installs Windows Easy Transfer like a portable app which runs directly from the drive.

The next screen prompts you to go to the old computer, start up Easy Transfer and run through the wizard until you get a transfer key.

Now on the XP machine run Easy Transfer from you flash drive.

A progress screen will be displayed while it starts up and produces the transfer key.

Enter in the transfer key from the old machine on the new Windows 7 and hit Next.

It will scan the old computer and determine what can and cannot be transferred over.

When done you can select the general settings and files from all the accounts on the machine.

Click on Advanced to get a detailed explorer view so you can specifically select what to transfer over. When you’ve decided what to transfer then click Save and then transfer it over. The amount of time it takes will depend on how much you’re transferring, speed of the network, etc.

When it is all complete you can view the transfer and program report which shows the files and settings transferred and also what programs are or are not compatible with Windows 7.

To finish the process a Restart is required.

Windows Easy Transfer can be downloaded for XP and Windows 2000 from their site but you might want to use the process shown above as it supplies the latest version of Windows Easy Transfer. We ran into a problem with running the downloaded version which was installed on XP and was not compatible with the Windows 7 version.

Not all programs and settings are going to transfer to your new OS but this definitely makes it easier

  • Thank you. Probably I am cursed ;-) -- it looked promising, to the point, Windows claimed it cannot log in me into the domain, and it was end of the story. Bad luck at every step ;-/ – greenoldman Oct 17 '11 at 7:03

Two solutions:

Option 1 Clone 7 to a new hard drive, computer, etc. using something like Clonezilla, Reflect Disk Imaging or Paragon Backup & Recovery Free Edition.

You'll have to reactivate 7 afterwords because there will probably be too many changes in your new hardware to expect 7 to graciously accept the new hardware environment. Then delete all the programs you don't want.

Use the free uninstaller, 'IOBit Uninstaller', which has a batch uninstall mode.


Option 2 Install a fresh 7 on the other system, then the apps you want to keep. Then attempt to collect the settings for those apps, which could be in the registry (do a search for program X, Y and Z and save the settings; paste these into new registry), a data folder in Program Files/Common Files or My Documents, and new or larger files in each program's Program Files folder.

Which new or modified files and folders? Well,if you go into each of the program's preferences settings window and change something (s) significant, then save the change(s), the files and folders related to that program's settings will have the same date and time of your action to save them.

Do a search for files and folders that have been modified or created at that time. Note that some apps don't create the files, folders and settings until they are actually run once. The registry settings can be monitored by using the free registry monitor program, RegFromApp, by NirSoft.

It will monitor each program and report to you exactly what changes were made by them. Another program, RegScanner, can scan the registry looking for keys modified by date. Both of these programs can export the changed or result of a modified key search as a standard 'reg' file for transfer to the other computer.

Doesn't windows make things easy?

  • That is why I use Linux ;-) But I cannot change OS at work, thus the problem. I already tested option 1 (see my question), Windows 7 simply does not start (BSOD), option 2 is the only way to go, however I look for something automatic. – greenoldman Oct 13 '11 at 5:40

This is possible using Total Uninstall.

A tutorial for achieving this reads as follows:

Open up Total Uninstall
Here you will see the list of programs available. I typed in Evernote in the search box to single out the application I will be working with.

Analyze the program for all associated files
Right click the application you want to transfer and hover over analyze and click advanced.

Create a backup of program
After program has finished analyzing click file > Create the backup for the program... 
After prompt opens click create and then finish.

Export registry entries for program
Now go ahead and go back to file and this time hover over export and click registry changes. 
Leave all the default settings and click OK. Under Save As navigate to C:\ProgramData\Martau\Total Uninstall 6\Backup and go ahead and save there.

Get the Security Identifier(SID) of your user account
Go to the computer you are going to copy this to and open Command Prompt(click Windows start button and in the run box type "cmd.exe" without quotes).

Once you have Command Prompt open type the command "wmic useraccount get name,sid" without quotes.

This should list all SID's for all users on the computer.

Edit registry file so it will work on other computer
Now in Windows Explorer navigate to C:\ProgramData\Martau\Total Uninstall 6\Backup (you may have to enable show for hidden files and folders) 
Right click the registry file you created and click edit, it should bring it up in notepad. 
From there should be towards the top, select the SID that appears as the following 
S-#-#-##-##########-#########-##########-#### and copy it. 
Press ctrl+h and in the find what box paste the number sequence you just copied. 
In the replace with box you want to type in the number you took down from the other computer. 
Now click replace all and then save and exit the registry file.

Copy files to flash drive
Copy the registry file and the backup file to a flash drive(in my case it would be Evernote v. and Evernote v. 4.5.3.Install.reg)

Paste files to the backup folder
On the computer your going to be transferring this to navigate to C:\ProgramData\Martau\Total Uninstall 6\Backup. Once you are here paste the files you put on your flash drive.

Restore backup on other computer
Open up Total Uninstall on your computer and click File > Restore a program from backup... 
Select the program you want to restore from list and click restore and then finish.

Import programs registry settings
Navigate now to where you pasted your backup files, which should be C:\ProgramData\Martau\Total Uninstall 6\Backup. 
Double click the registry file and click yes and then click ok.

Test program to see that it works!
Now click start and then all programs and open up your file. 
All settings should be there from previous computer along with the program fully functional.
  • 2
    Link-only answers are frowned upon, and you should be civil towards other people who have taken the time and effort to answer to the best of their abilities. If you feel an answer is incorrect, downvote it once you yourself have accumulated the necessary rep to do so. BTW, the program that's used for transferring doesn't guarantee 100% success with all apps. It's just not possible. – Karan May 28 '13 at 20:07

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