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How do I back up program or files before reformat my computer?

By adu123
Jan 11, 2008
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  1. I'm currently using window vista, my question is how do I back up any program or files I want if I am going to reformat my computer? Thank you for your help
     
  2. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 4,048

    Go to start -> control panel -> Backup and restore icon

    select backup -> It will look for backup devices and if none are found you can manually select where to backup to
     
  3. adu123

    adu123 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 301

    The Backup and Restore Center only gives me the option to backup files, but not programs. If there any way I can back up programs like: Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003, or Nero 7.... Thank you for your help.
     
  4. wildman6801

    wildman6801 TS Rookie Posts: 81

    You are better off backing up files and restoring the individual programs with the install CD/DVD's because if you just copy over the "c:\Program Files" folder then transfer that to a new hard drive or a reformated hard drive, most of the software will not work. The files need to work are scattered all of your C: drive. The software will need the files that are inside of "c:\windows" and the registry keys. It is far easier to just re-install the software with the install CD/DVD or if you downloaded the program over the internet, the original file that you downloaded (i.e .exe, .com, .zip, etc)than to just backup the software. I do recommend backing up "C:\Documents and Settings" folder so all the user settings and user files such as My Documents and etc are transferred over to a new system.
     
  5. adu123

    adu123 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 301

    I appreciate your help, but my question is "How can I back up programs like: Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003, or Nero 7.... The reason I want to know to back up Microsoft Office Word 2003 is because I don't know the product key, thus I can't activate it without the product key, when I first purchase my computer, I had a computer repair man come over and set up everything for me. So if I know how to back up Microsoft Office Word 2003 by myself, I can just restore it after I reformat, I don't want him to come over because he charges alot of money!!! Thank you
     
  6. adu123

    adu123 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 301

    Does anyone knows how to back up microsoft Office Word 2003, I have the trial key but it is useless, I can't use the program even after I enter the trial key. Thank you
     
  7. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 4,048

    You can you openoffice.org v2.3 -> It's freeware and does all the same stuff as word, excel, powerpoint, That's what I have been using for now

    http://www.openoffice.org/
     
  8. wildman6801

    wildman6801 TS Rookie Posts: 81

    That is because the trial is for a set period of time. When you do past that period of time (usually 30, 60, or 90 days) the software has to be purchased to be functional. Have you purchased Office or are you using the trial that came with your computer?
     
  9. adu123

    adu123 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 301

    Wildman, You're absolutely right about that! I have microsoft office 2003 professional edition(full version) installed on my window vista, so I burned the entire microsoft office folder to a blank DVD, and then copy it to my xp' C: drive, but when I open microsoft office word 2003.exe in that folder, it still asked me to enter the product key, obviously it didn't work out.:eek: Is there any other ways I can get the product key without buying it online?
     
  10. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,372   +167

    Try using ProduKey to read your current product keys. BUT you should still back up files not programs. Or why not just backup/restore the whole disk?. Odds are you'll never get the file set right if trying to recover a large program that way. btw.. I use Acronis True Image works great for me
     
  11. cttech

    cttech TS Rookie Posts: 23

    You can't just "backup" the programs themselves. They have to be re-installed because when you install a program on your computer, it puts keys in various places in your registry. One other option you have is, if you have another hard drive, you can copy the entire contents of your existing drive to the second one using a program such as Norton Ghost, which maybe the same type of program that LookinAround has(Acronis True Image). I personally have not used it yet, but have been reading up on it lately. The program makes a mirror image of your hard drive onto the new hard drive. The second hard drive cannot be smaller than your existing hard drive though.
     
     
  12. adu123

    adu123 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 301

    Does that means after I reformat my computer, I must have the product key in order to activate microsoft office 2003? If I buy an new hard drive to back up the entire microsoft office in my window vista, and then restore it after I done the reformat, would they still be working?
     
  13. cttech

    cttech TS Rookie Posts: 23

    After you've done the reformat, and if you use a ghost program to put the info back onto the original hard drive, then you shouldn't have to put the product key in. But if you reformat the drive and reinstall the program from the installation cd if you have it, then you'll need to type in the product key for it work.
     
  14. adu123

    adu123 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 301

    Suppose I use Norton Ghost to copy the entire contents of my existing drive to another hard drive for backup, Do I get to choose which folder to back up or Do I have to back up the entire C:drive(everything in it)?
    Let's say the contents in my C:drive has been infected, and I restore the entire drive after I reformat, wouldn't I just putting the infection back into my system? By the way, where can I download Norton Ghost? and what hard drive is recommend for back up? Thank you
     
  15. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,372   +167

    1. Did you try using ProduKey? Did you retrieve your current Product Keys?
    2. Acronis True Image allows you to
      • Backup / Restore by File, folder, or partition where you can select exactly which ones to back up and select again which ones to restore
      • Backup / Restore Sector-by-sector copies of your hard drive
      You can also get a 15day free trial of Acronis True Image here's the link
    If you backup the entire partition on the hard drive you can restore the entire disk or be selective in what you recover. In the ideal world you would have been running backups regularly and have a non-infected backup copy of your disk you could use. But since that's not the case, it's helpful to have something to fall back on if the worst should happen while to try to clean your problem: having, 1) at least, a copy of your own files somewhere should you lose the disk and your data and 2) the option to fall back to your backup point to continue work on cleanup or choosing to do a clean windows install if you should lose your disk

    A media at least as large as the thing (e.g. partition or device) you are backing up is needed. So an external hardrive is one solution.

    You can tell Acronis to split the backup file into DVD sized portions allowing you to copy to the backup to multiple DVDs sAFTER the backup is done (if you want to). You can also have it use compression so it requires less space then the original.
     
  16. adu123

    adu123 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 301

    Thank you so much for your help, I was finally able to find the Product key of Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003 which is installed in my window vista. I've Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003 installed in my window xp which is not activate yet. When I use the product key to convert from the trial to full version in my xp, it says: "the Product Key you entered is not valid..." Why is that?
    Does each Product ID only corresponds to a unique Product Key? Suppose I reformat my window vista, can I still use the same Product Key to re-activate Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003(Is Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003 pre-installed in window vista?) Thank you
     
  17. rf6647

    rf6647 TS Maniac Posts: 931

    The utility that you are looking for is generally classified an 'uninstaller'. Furthermore, it would need an 'undo' capability to bring the application back. The ability to bring back a program implies that the uninstaller creates a save set when optioned to do so.

    PC Mover (Laplink) and PC Relocator (Alohabob) represent another class of software to move applications between a source computer and a destination computer. One version of PC Mover has the capability to save the 'move package' to a CD. These tools are inferior to image software discussed in earlier posts.

    Cnet has added info about some of the downloads found on this forum, as well as, other software. Check out the user feedback.
     
  18. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,372   +167

    You have several things to consider
    1. You mention you have both Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003 and Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003. These are not the same product and i wouldn't expect them to accept the same product key
    2. In general, understand that the purpose of product keys is to help prevent copywrite infringement / license abuse. If a company assigned a single product key that could be easily reused across multiple platforms/environments/etc to activate their product, it wouldn't help much in preventing license abuse.
    3. Microsoft Office does not come with the Operating System. The two are sold seperately. It sounds as though you might have bought your computer from a company like Dell or HP (who are OEM's). OEM's have large scale buying power and can afford to bundle the two together to make their computer more attractive to sell. And note that in these cases, the product key you get through the OEM is often not the same as the product key you get if you bought it directly from Microsoft.
    4. If you reformat your hard drive and reinstall vista, you must also reinstall your Office application. And (by the way), you will also need to reinstall all your other applications (as well as things like the device drivers for your specific hardware). Do you have install disks or know where to find install files for all your apps? Make sure you know the job you're undertaking if you are going to do a reinstall. Can you get support from whoever sold you the computer?
    5. When you do a reinstall, i would expect the product keys to remain the same. However, do you know if you have all the product keys you need? Any other apps (as in non-Microsoft apps) you'll have to reinstall which also have their own product keys?
     
  19. adu123

    adu123 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 301

    I think you've misunderstood me from the beginning. After I use ProductKey.exe, I realized it only retrieve the trial key,but not the Product Key, it's just key to activate the trial version, not the full version. of course I think you know the difference between trial key and Product key. I guess the only way to get the Product Key is to buy it online.
    I bought my window vista in Circus City(electronic store), I'm not sure if it came with the install disks, but I'am sure I 've the restore disks because I paid $30 for them:cool: What will happen if I only reformat but don't reinstall it afterward?(if I don't have the install disks) Thanks again
     
  20. cttech

    cttech TS Rookie Posts: 23

    Wow, I just got around to reading the other posts after my last one on this subject. I have several questions for you. First, it sounds to me like you have 2 computers, one is running Windows XP which has Microsoft Office Standard on it which is a trial version, and the other is running Windows Vista with Office Professional on it that is a full version and you want to reformat the drive on the latter computer. To answer your last reply, if you have the install discs, and if those install discs have all the applications on them besides Windows Vista, then you should be ok. If those install discs don't have all of the applications on them and you reformat without backing them up with a program suchs Acronis True Image or Norton Ghost, then you will lose them. If you reformat your drive without any install discs at all, and you don't backup your drive with the programs that I just mentioned, then you will lose everything! Second, you are claiming that you have viruses on your computer. Is that why you're wanting to reformat the drive? If so, that isn't necessary at all if you have a good antivirus program installed on your computer. If you do, you should be able to scan your computer with it and quarantine the viruses. I'm guessing that you don't have one if you have the viruses. If you don't, then put one on to do just that instead of the headache of reformatting your drive and having to worry about reinstalling programs and getting the product keys to make them work. As far as Norton Ghost goes, you can go to www.norton.com(this will take you to Symantec's website which manufactures Norton) and download it from there for $70 or you can order the disc for the same price, or go to a store like Best Buy or Circuit City and get it for the same price. With this software you can copy the entire discs contents or just backup certain files or folders. The problem with only backing up certain files or folders when your talking about backing up an application is what I said before, when you install an application such as Microsoft Office, it puts info in system files as well as that particular folder. So, if you only backed up the Microsoft Office folder, and tried to run it on the new disc, it's not going to run. Hope that helps.
     
  21. adu123

    adu123 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 301

    You're right about that. I also want to clarify that my window vista is currently free of virus, spyware..... , I'm just saying if it does get infected in the future, so I know what to do. I have three questions: 1)If I reformat my computer with my restore discs, it will erases the C: drive and re-install all application(all pre-install programs) automatically, then it will be the same as I first bought it. If so, what are the install discs for? 2)If I buy another hard drive(for backup) that is larger my vista's hard drive, can I just back up the whole drive without using either Acronis True Image or Norton Ghost? 3)If I restore the whole drive after reformat, wouldn't there be three drives then? Thank you
     
  22. adu123

    adu123 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 301

    can someone give me a reply, please....
     
  23. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,372   +167

    1. Restore vs Install Disks
      You talk of having “Restore” disks then ask why you need “Install” disks but I don’t know for certain exactly what disks you have and what each of the disks are for. To be sure of no miscommunication you would need to list the label which appears on each set of disks you have. However, can say, in general terms
      • “Restore” or “Recovery” disks typically refer to disks which help you recover from major problems with your computer such as operating system conifig files that get corrupted or if your hard drive goes bad. Typically, these type of disks are provided by
        • Your computer system vendor and/or the operating system provider for your system. These disks will recover (which includes the option to re-install) just the operating system and required drivers for your hardware. What leads you to believe that all your applications will be restored by these disks? E.g. I don’t think any Microsoft Office product would be found on a Vista system recovery disk.
        • A backup product designed to let you create an image of your hard drive and later restore that image if you need it.
      • Installation disks generally refer to the applications which come after the operating sytem. But I don’t know that there’s a strict rule on term usage which is why you need be careful in assuming functionality based only on someone's use of the term . Installation disks often present you with options on what it can do like:
        • Install the application
        • Repair or modify the application
        • Remove the application
    2. As far as doing backups for hard drive recovery, I’ll only say that if you’re relying on the backups to recover an entire hard drive so it’s usable so you start up from where you left off… there’s so many things that can go wrong as to backing up the right (sometimes hidden files) and recovering them correctly when you want a working hard drive again. It’s not worth the $50 bucks or so to lose your data and a simple process to recover like “boot from CD and let the app worry about recovering your hard drive correctly.”
    3. Don’t follow you. Your computer boots and runs off of one drive (drive A). You backup to a 2nd physically separate drive B. That’s two. If you have to recover that typically means recovering from B back onto A (assuming the problem was file corruption, for example). On the other hand if you drive A is physically damaged then, sure, you must recover onto a new third drive you have to buy to replace A.
     
  24. adu123

    adu123 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 301

    I have the recovery discs for my window vista, but not the install disc, how come it doesn't come with it when I bought my computer? How can I get one?
    So does that mean I have to use the install disc to re-install all application after I reformat? Thank you
     
  25. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,372   +167

    • Consider yourself lucky that you received any disks with your computer (or did you pay extra for them?) These days the vendors don't even include the disks in the price. They usually just create a "recovery partition" on the hard drive which basically has same software as on the recovery disk. That solution works fine unless you are recovering from a disk crash or something else that would make the partition unavailable.
    • Re-read the second bullet in my post. Operating system recovery disks usually provide the option to re-install. I would guess yours also provides re-install as an option but you'll have to discover that yourself as you're the one with the physical disks.
    • Visit the website of your computer vendor and look under Support. They should have tech support/documentation on recovering and re-installing Vista on their computer
    • Once Vista and needed hardware drivers are re-installed on your computer, yes, you must re-install every application.
      • Each app needs its own install software but that doesn't mean it necessarily requires an install disk.
      • You can find the current installation software for many application products just by searching online or going to the vendor's web site to see if they provide a download of the current install software. If they do, no need for an install disk. Generally, if it's freeware or an app that came with hardware you purchased, e.g. stuff that you get along when buying an HP printer,you'll find the software online.
      • If it's an app you had to pay to use, you may find the software install online but you are going to need a product key or license number or something to activate it. Other then some hints earlier about product keys and Microsoft products, you're on your own and need check with the vendor if you can't find your license.
    Finally, when it comes to reinstalling drivers... some basic drivers would be on the recovery disks but you'll find it doesn't include all the drivers you need for your current hardware. One usually needs to find the drivers for some of their devices. Usually the computer vendor's website would have them under Support. But you can also look at DriverMax, a freeware tool. Haven't used it myself but should allow you to pull the driver files on your system now. Once you do the re-install you can use the same driver files it found on your original system.
     
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