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Documents & Setting Folder in Win XP

Posted on 2003-03-29
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Last Modified: 2007-12-19
My son has a Dell Computer with a Penium 4 and 512
Ram with Win XP Home Ed and he is considering reformatting
his hard drive and asked me the following question which
I didn't know the answer to and so I am posting it here.
I should also add that we know had to save and transfer
the "Favorites" and "Documents" but are more interested
in whether with will save and put in effect the other
configurations, tweaks and other items mentioned.

“If I save my Documents & Settings folder, can I copy it back to the Doc and Settings folder if I reformat the HD and have all of my configurations be the same as before I reformatted?  I mean the tweaks I made as far as what icons are on the desk top, what resolution, the start up lists, etc...  Even how IE is set up?”

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Question by:LRI41
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centerv earned 400 total points
ID: 8232557
>>>if I reformat the HD and have all of my configurations be the same as before I reformatted?

NO. Reformatting and I presume restoring from original disks will wipe out all your info and settings and restore to the pristine setup you had when new.

You could use a program such as Ghost to make a copy of your hard drive and restore what you now have, after reformatting, but I don't see any reason for that.

You definately should save all your documents, favorites, email and anything else yopu can't easely reproduce.

My question here is, why are you looking to reformat?
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by:boyrage
ID: 8232585
Hi LRI41.

Before you do a format, log in as Administrator and you can backup your settings here:

If you have not changed the Administrator password, you can log in with a blank password.

C:\Documents and Settings

Look out for your <username> folder. This folder contains your IE favourites, your desktop icons, your Outlook Express mails, your My Documents, your Recent Documents, etc.
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by:boyrage
ID: 8232597
For example, backup this folder for your IE favoutites:

C:\Documents and Settings\<your_username>\Favorites


====================================================


For example, backup this folder for your Outlook Express mails:

C:\Documents and Settings\<your_username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\<a_random_set_of_numbers_>\Microsoft\Outlook Express
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:boyrage
ID: 8232608
"If I save my Documents & Settings folder, can I copy it back to the Doc and Settings folder if I reformat the HD and have all of my configurations be the same as before I reformatted?  I mean the tweaks I made as far as what icons are on the desk top, what resolution, the start up lists, etc...  Even how IE is set up?"

Yes. Leave most of the folders generated by your fresh install alone. Just replace over Outlook, IE favourites and Documents should be safe enough.

You can't maintain your startup list because after a format, all your programs will be removed. So an old startup list will not be much of use. There may be registry conflicts. Re-installation of your programs after a full format will get back your startup list. (Example firewall, antivirus icons)
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Expert Comment

by:boyrage
ID: 8232611
"If I save my Documents & Settings folder, can I copy it back to the Doc and Settings folder if I reformat the HD and have all of my configurations be the same as before I reformatted?  I mean the tweaks I made as far as what icons are on the desk top, what resolution, the start up lists, etc...  Even how IE is set up?"

Yes. Leave most of the folders generated by your fresh install alone. Just replace over Outlook, IE favourites and Documents should be safe enough.

You can't maintain your startup list because after a format, all your programs will be removed. So an old startup list will not be much of use. There may be registry conflicts. Re-installation of your programs after a full format will get back your startup list. (Example firewall, antivirus icons)
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by:boyrage
ID: 8232612
Sorry for the double post. O__o
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by:boyrage
ID: 8232627
The program, centerv, has mentioned is Norton Ghost.

More details about Ghost can be found here:
http://www.symantec.com/sabu/ghost/ghost_personal/

This program will duplicate a complete image (file name of this image is filename.GHO) of your harddisk and saves it in several CDRs or into another partition you have specified.

After a full format, install Norton Ghost again. (You need this program to read .GHO images)

Norton Ghost will then restore your computer to its previous configuration like a gem in MS DOS.

Reboot and you will be greeted with the exact stuff. Same startup, same IE, same resolution. ^__^
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Expert Comment

by:ernefors
ID: 8238301
As always - before you do anything make a backup.
Using the built-in program Windows Backup makes it possible to make a copy of System State, which contains a lot of the settings you want to save. You shoudld of course make a copy of the Document and settings-folder.
If you have a lot of rules set in Outlook you should use a program that can save those, like Outback.

Good luck!
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