win7 backup

I need to install windows from scratch and need to backup files first. As a general rule, do I just backup everything on the PC, or is that overkill considering I am doing a fresh install of windows.

Or just files I need, like documents, pics etc. I have never used the tool before, is it a case of ticking specific folders or something? Is there anyway to just select usual user folders such as desktop, documents, downloads, videos etc? Any screenshots most welcome.

Aside from data what other types of things would you backup in such a scenario/from past experience.
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pma111Asked:
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Frederic SuneConnect With a Mentor CEO, IT in MIND inc.Commented:
You can use the Easy Transfer Wizard for Windows 7, free tool from Microsoft.
Windows Easy Transfer

When you're switching to a new PC, Windows Easy Transfer helps you transfer your files, email, pictures, and settings. In Windows 7, it lives up to the "easy" in its name.
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jsdrayConnect With a Mentor Commented:
C:\Users should contain the docs, pics, vids, etc folders for all users on the machine....
You get those and you should be good to go as far as personal data.
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Run5kConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Just a personal preferene, but I actually prefer to do it manually.  With a healthy-sized USB drive, I backup the following folders:

Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Favorites, Music, Pictures, Videos.

Also, check to see if you have any other proprietary application data to backup such as settings from within Firefox.

Last but not least, I save the DriverStore folder in case there are any device drivers that I will need to reload after installing Windows:

%SystemDrive%\Windows\System32\DriverStore
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pma111Author Commented:
Aside personal data anything else youd recommend backing up prior to reinstalling windows on the same machine?
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pma111Author Commented:
>>Just a personal preferene, but I actually prefer to do it manually.  With a healthy-sized USB drive, I backup the following folders:

Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Favorites, Music, Pictures, Videos.


Do they all fall within:

C:\Users

Do favourties and firefox stuff also fall in C:\Users ?
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Run5kCommented:
Yes, those folders I listed (including Internet favorites) are sub-folders of the individual's Users folder.
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pma111Author Commented:
Are there any potential ACL access permission issues with restoring from a backup of an old machine to a new machine. Say I back up C:\users folder, then create a new machine, and try and restore, will the restore of the files just inherit the permissions of the restore folder, or will they remain from the PC they were backup up from.

I was thinking if I back up users\bill and on the new PC create an account users\steve, will steve be able to view the files from the backup of bill? Or could it cause issues?
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pma111Author Commented:
Re the drivers folder: %SystemDrive%\Windows\System32\DriverStore

Is it as simple as copying them into the new machines %SystemDrive%\Windows\System32\DriverStore  folder and expecting them to work, or is there something you might have to do with the backed up drivers for them to work on the new machine? Not had to much dealings with such.
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Run5kCommented:
No, you definitely do not want to simply copy the DriverStore folder to the new machine.

You want to have that folder on hand so that if your post-reload Windows environment is missing any device drivers, you can right-click Computer Management, select Device Manager, right-click the problematic device(s) and choose Update Driver Software.  Then you can navigate to the location where you saved the DriverStore folder, such as an external USB drive.
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rindiCommented:
If you have any software installed that requires a license key, and which you need to use on the new system, make sure you have all those registrations and also the install software sources so you can re-install it, provided you can't download it from the internet.
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Run5kCommented:
Rindi makes a very good point, as usual!  To piggy-back upon his thought process, I also typically run the free Belarc Advisor utility before I reload a machine.  In addition to providing a comprehensive list of your computer's hardware and software, it will also list any pertinent products keys for Windows, Office, etc.

http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html
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pma111Author Commented:
>>and also the install software sources

Are these typically in one folder, or all over the place?
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pma111Author Commented:
Are there any potential ACL access permission issues with restoring from a backup of an old machine to a new machine. Say I back up C:\users folder, then create a new machine, and try and restore, will the restore of the files just inherit the permissions of the restore folder, or will they remain from the PC they were backup up from.

I was thinking if I back up users\bill and on the new PC create an account users\steve, will steve be able to view the files from the backup of bill? Or could it cause issues?
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rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Where they are depends. Very often you would download them from the seller's site, and then they would probably get stored where your browser saves it's downloads, or where you told it to save the file. Or you may have an install CD/DVD for that product. Usually it is best to check online for a fresh download as that would probably be a new version (but make sure your license is valid for that new version).

If you have been using encryption, then there can be issues with your file/folders. In that case make sure you also save your encryption keys. As I personally normally don't use encryption I can't help on the details, and it also depends on the encryption product you used (windows built-in or a 3rd party tool). If you haven't been using encryption any ACL issues (should there be any) can easily be resolved when you have restored the files.
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