Back up installed programs and settings on Windows

The first rule of computer maintenance is to always back up important data because PCs are always machines and can stop working at any time, thus losing all the work done so far.
In the guide to backup Windows, whether you use a program such as Acronis True Image, or you use the tool to create a system image for Windows recovery, we have always mentioned documents, images and photos, music and, if you create an operating system recovery disc, Windows files.
In a normal data backup, normally there are no programs and software installed because, otherwise, it would take too much space and too much time.
However, there are some programs that we can back up because, after installing them, we have customized it so much that we don't want to lose everything.
We see in this guide how to backup the settings and configurations, options and preferences of some very famous programs .
READ ALSO -> 10 Best Programs to make automatic and incremental free backups
For this purpose, any backup tool or software can be used, the important thing is to know where these customized settings are to be saved which can be in system files or registry keys.
1) Backup Windows 10 settings
First of all, Windows 10 allows you to synchronize settings between PCs using access to your PC with a Microsoft account (everything will be saved on the cloud, so you can restore the settings on another PC with Windows).
To save all the settings of Windows 10, click on the Start button at the bottom left and search for Synchronize, so you can click on the appropriate menu item Synchronize the settings .
The same options can be found in Settings> Accounts .

A new Settings menu window will open; if we already have a Microsoft account associated with the PC, just activate all the items on the screen to enable synchronization of settings, WiFi passwords, passwords saved on Edge, language preferences and other Windows settings.

If our PC does not use any type of Microsoft account (because during the installation we opted for a simple local account), this section will not be available until we log in with a Microsoft account.
To add a new Microsoft account, go to the My info menu (present on the same screen that we reached for synchronization), then click on the item Log in with a Microsoft account .
A new window will open, where you can enter the login credentials for the account (also the Outlook account, Microsoft Live or an old Hotmail account is fine).
At the end our Microsoft account will be active on the PC, we will only be able to access it with the password set for it and we will unlock the synchronization items that we saw a little while ago.
2) EaseUS Todo PCTrans Free
The program we recommend trying immediately to make a backup and migrate the programs from one PC to another (even just for backup) is called EaseUS Todo PCTrans Free, which derives from the EaseUS program, that is one of the best free programs to make backups automatic on Windows.

The program is free and works great even if the free version is limited to backing up 2 programs at a time.
Once installed we create new backup job through the wizard, then, when we are asked to choose the folders, we choose the exact paths where the configurations and settings of the various programs are saved .
Some of these folder paths listed below are in hidden folders.
To make them visible, go to Start> My Computer, choose Tools> Folder Options (On XP) or Organize> Folder and Search Options (on Windows 10 and Win7) and go to the View tab; put the flag under " Show hidden files and folders ".
3) CloneApp
As a free alternative we report specialized CloneApp to backup all the programs installed on the PC and the saved personalized settings.

Once started, simply select the compatible programs in the list and start creating the backup, which will be saved on a single file (to be kept outside the PC, perhaps on an external hard disk or on a NAS).
It will also be possible to save other files and registry keys in the Custom section, so as to also carry the licenses and keys for correct operation.
4) Manual programs backup
In addition to the programs we have presented above, we can manually backup some programs; software that definitely requires a separate backup are:
- Web browsers with all bookmarks and browsing settings.
For the Firefox backup you can use it with the internal backup system called Firefox Sync, just create a free account.
Google Chrome and other famous browsers can be backed up online with a Google account and the synchronization settings of Chrome itself which save bookmarks, themes, preferences, extensions and auto-completion of forms and passwords.
Finally, I remember that the backup of all browsers and all settings can be done separately with FavBackup.
- Office 2016 and 2018 : press the Win + R key, type % appdata% and press Enter, then open the Microsoft folder and backup the following sub-folders: Office, Proof and UProof .
If you have plug-ins installed for the various Office applications, also back up your Word, Excel and other folders.
To make a full backup also of the license we will have to backup the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Office .
- To back up LibreOffice, open the program and go to Tools> Options> Paths to see which folder the various models are in, the settings and so on.
Most of the data needed for the free suite is available by pressing the Win + R keys, typing % appdata% and backing up the LibreOffice folder.
- To backup Adobe programs (such as Photoshop, Premiere or Acrobat Reader) let's go in the usual path by clicking on the Win + R keys, typing % appdata% and then backing up the Adobe folder.
The registry keys for license management can instead be found in HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Adobe .
- If we want to move and create a backup of the iTunes library, we have created a specific guide, so as to be able to save the settings of the Apple music management and backup management program of the iPhones connected to the PC during its use.
5) Conclusions
We have seen how to backup the settings and data for the main programs, but as we will surely have guessed we can try to backup any installed software.
Obviously all this is necessary only if you want to make a specific save for some programs, without having to make a general backup available with Windows data transfer.
The folders that we absolutely must check every time we want to backup a program are the following (to be inserted in the Run window, which can be called with Win + R):
-% AppData% (data for any user on the PC)
- % LocalAppData% (program specific data for the logged in user)
Another article explains what the AppData and ProgramData folders are .
Other settings can be found within the registry and most are in HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software and in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software .
If we are unable to backup a program, it is better to make an image of the entire operating system and restore the program with it when necessary.
READ ALSO -> Create a backup image of Windows 10 and 8 now

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