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backing up program files

I would like to back up all my program files to an external hard drive.

What folders should I copy over in order to acheive this?

Also, where are these files (likely) to be located on my PC?

In case it helps, my os is Window XP pro.

Thanks
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topmatt
Asked:
topmatt
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PhreonxCommented:
Hello,
backing up Program Files as they are called in Windows is possible but the chances for the restored backup to work are low. I'll try to explain why. When you run an installer (setup.exe or whatever it might be called) it creates a main application folder usually under C:\Program Files which is where Installers in Windows place application folders, as well as [possibly] subfolders under that main application folder. If that were always the case then restoring your backed up Program Files would only be a matter of a simple copy. However, most programs in order to work they usually need to place certain special files [called Dynamically Linked Libraries or dlls] under "well known" Windows XP folders as well as other common files in various places. Because of the nature of the Installer, there is no easy way to find out which files are installed where and thus retrieving the right files can be quite difficult. Although dlls are a reason why you cannot backup your Program Files, it is BY NO MEANS the only. I would suggest that if it is of paramount importance to backup and restore your Program Files remotely then, first try to clean your system of all unnecessary software, defrag and then take an Image of your entire HD using a commercial software such as Norton Ghost.

Hope my suggestions were of any help to you.
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topmattAuthor Commented:
Thanks
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PhreonxCommented:
No problem. Happy to help.
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