Easy way to back files up before reformat

Deago999

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Jan 29, 2014
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A friends laptop is in desperate need of reformatting. Its slow, full of stock bloatware, and is often freezing and Excel has those stupid memory problems. The only reason i havent reformatted it is because he uses the laptop to run his business... and files are EVERYWHERE! PDF scan ins, private pictures, Quotes, Invoices, letters you name it, and its not in nice files either. My question is ... what can i use to back up all of this information and then load it back on? Otherwise i need to spend a good 3 days manually going through ALL directories finding files I think are important, and then once thats done then do the reformat. The problem with that is Manual is very iffy and i am guaranteed to miss something and what I deem as not important may be important to my friend. My friend is older and is limited in skill with computers. So i want to know, what can i use to back up all those files while leaving the trash behind? Like I dont want to back up recycle bin and temp files, and book marks, bloat software, those crappy trial laptop games and all that general S*** that he has no use for I just want whats important, like all word, excel, pdf, outlook emails, outlook contacts.
 

syntax

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not really my thing, so i may be wrong.
But i would copy everything except the windows and programme files directory.
Then copy everything inside his windows user account (this includes his downloads, docs etc)

I hope you have all the applications and installs for all his stuff
 

Deago999

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Thats a good idea! - Theoretically then .... I copy the file C:/>Users>User thats all his information, then do the reformat and paste the same file i copied (C:/>Users>User) where the new User file is, would all the directories lead to the newly pasted over C:/>Users>User?
not really my thing, so i may be wrong.
But i would copy everything except the windows and programme files directory.
Then copy everything inside his windows user account (this includes his downloads, docs etc)

I hope you have all the applications and installs for all his stuff
 

Totempole

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Sep 21, 2011
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Thats a good idea! - Theoretically then .... I copy the file C:/>Users>User thats all his information, then do the reformat and paste the same file i copied (C:/>Users>User) where the new User file is, would all the directories lead to the newly pasted over C:/>Users>User?
It's not that simple. I would transfer the Desktop, Downloads, My Documents, Pictures, Videos and Music Folders.

Also check the Application Data folder (Hidden by default) for an Outlook Mailbox. On Win 7: C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

Also check the root to see if any important files are being stored there.

And finally, find out which apps your friend uses. Sometimes there might be a phone syching app or similar that might store files or backups in a strange place.

Almost forgot, you might want to export bookmarks or favourites out of the Web Browser for Firefox or IE. Also make sure your friend can remember or recover any saved passwords in browsers, as these can't be transferred.

If Outlook is being used, take down as many details about the email as you can. There are even some tools that can be used to retrieve the email password.

I think that's just about everything you need to know.
 

D3athD00r

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Sep 20, 2014
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Thats a good idea! - Theoretically then .... I copy the file C:/>Users>User thats all his information, then do the reformat and paste the same file i copied (C:/>Users>User) where the new User file is, would all the directories lead to the newly pasted over C:/>Users>User?
I would make an image to an external hard drive. If you miss something it can be copied later. I use Acronis True Image
 

Totempole

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I would make an image to an external hard drive. If you miss something it can be copied later. I use Acronis True Image
+1 I always like to do this. You could even make a .vhd file and boot from the image with VirtualBox for easy transfer. You will have to "repair" the old OS though due to the change of hard disk controller.
 

D3athD00r

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+1 I always like to do this. You could even make a .vhd file and boot from the image with VirtualBox for easy transfer. You will have to "repair" the old OS though due to the change of hard disk controller.
You can mount the image with True Image. It creates a virtual drive. Even when using the boot disk
 
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Deago999

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By computer limited skills I mean extremely limited -like so limited he doenst know what a book mark is and it took me 6 months to teach him copy and paste and how to scan in a file. So applications are not a huge bother. I think im gonna use windows file back ups in custom mode, select all the files like documents video, music, pictures, desktop, etc and go into programs and back up outlook, etc. THEN make a full back up. Its just such a MAJOR hassle having to do this, because files are EVERYWHERE - like its been used for 6 years - so it has 6 years worth of documents scattered all around! Personally i really think there is a market for freeware that backs up files based on format, i.e. .pdf, .docx etc anyway. Thanks for all the help and input!
 

D3athD00r

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Neither you nor your friend need skills to use true image. It simple step by step.
 
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