what are essential settings to copy over from PC before overwriting?

other than backup of files, what would be essential items/elements to copy from the OS/browsers etc.

(one example I have in mind is passwords stored in browsers.. this may not be backed up files?) what other such info is essential to a true backup, that may not be covered by file backup alone?
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Larry Struckmeyer MVPCommented:
What OS is on the system?  Are you going to use the same one or different going forward?  Through Windows 7 Windows Easy Transfer would get your stuff.  To be safe (assuming Windows) I copy out the Desktop, Favorites and Documents folders and any pst files.

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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
My Documents
Address Book
Browser history and favourites and bookmarks
Email history and settings
    For Firefox and Thunderbird take the Profiles folder for the user.  Very nice.
Passwords and serial numbers of software and OS.  May have to pull some of these out of registry if not backed up elsewhere.
Internet passwords for sites (you should be using a database like Keepass for this)
Downloaded installers for applications.
Perhaps the AppData folder as well.  This may contain data and settings.
I recommend you backup the entire disk to an external drive using EaseUS Todo backup or Clonezilla. That way if you miss something you can still recover it.
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if you could backup passwords that easily - they are useless
so you select for backup 1 out of 2 - or use both (the best) 1 file backup-or 2 disk backup
as said for 2 you best use an imaging software.
i use the paragon free tool for this - fast and easy : http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/download.html
25112Author Commented:
1)is FAVORITES stored in a file?

2)Are 'browser history', 'bookmarks' in files, too? (browser specific?)

3)serial number for softwares - is there a native tool to use to show this up (from regedit) in one screen for all the softwares installed or save it (or print)

4)thanks for the clone idea.
>>  1)is FAVORITES stored in a file?  <<  yes - if you export them to a file
>>  3)serial number for softwares   << i beleive siw does that  http://www.gtopala.com/

if you want all the user data, copy the folder under C:\users\"username"
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
2.  Yes.  Browser and version and location specific.  See http://forensicswiki.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer_History_File_Format for example.
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