Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Maintenance and Backup
Read the article that everyone's commenting on.
That was not the answer I was looking for...
I have read about programs that will allow a "backup" (iso image perhaps) and then restore to another machine so one does NOT have to reinstall???
How does that work and what are some suggestions for programs please...
Sherwood-- Leo already answered this question above. There is no way to "back up" an installed program and have it work on a different machine. This is a deliberate part of the installation process, to prevent piracy! The software typically takes a sort of "fingerprint" of the computer it's installing to, and when it boots from then on out, it looks for that info, to ensure that it's still on the same machine.
As Leo said, the solution is to save the installation media (or a copy of the executable if you downloaded it) plus whatever key or activation code the vendor requires. If you need to load it on another computer (and the EULA allows this) then you run the executable/installation disk, and enter they key or code when prompted.
A disk image backup (which might use the ISO format, or might not) will allow you to re-load a copy of whatever was on the disk at the time you made the backup, without re-doing the installation process (including entering the key). That would work if, say, you got a virus or spyware that corrupted your hard drive... you're on the same hardware, with the same software, and it'll work just the same as it did when you made the backup. It WON'T work if you're re-installing because a power surge fried your motherboard and you bought a replacement computer.
FWIW, I have a 3-ring binder with CD sleeves for each of my computers. In it, I have the installation (NOT "recovery") DVDs for all the software, with the keys/codes written on paper printouts. I also have a DVD copy of the first full backup I did after activating everything and setting up my preferences, and a DVD copy of the current quarter's full backup-- my daily backups go onto a removable hard drive. But whatever way you do it, a little organized work up front can really save your butt, let me tell you!
Excellent points made on backing up data. I would say at the very least users should backup their pictures. My old companies fee for data recovery starts at $300 and goes up to around $600 bucks. It's so worth investing in a data backup solution.
As far as backing up software goes I personally have a image backup program. It takes a complete backup of my computer every week ( Incremental after the first backup )so I do not have to worry about re-installing software on the same computer. If it every went down. As a home based business I also backup that image online as well using an online data backup service. This protect me against theft, fire, water and the like.
If I were to purchase a new computer I could use a program like PCMover to transfer over my software programs to the new computer. However if my old computer was not working because of a hardware failure I would be unable to go that route.
Love reading Leo's responses. I have to break down and buy his answers book. It would be great reading! I'm just waiting for a coupon or discount Cough, Cough ;)
When a program is activated it writes some entries in the registry and in some of its own configuration files. To keep the activation going all you have to do is to copy the config files and the registry entries and use them to activate offline at the next reinstall. The trick is in finding these entries.
One thing I have found useful is uploading the keys and even some of the install programs to my Google Docs account. There are other similar free and low priced sites available as well and that way you have your keys and even the backups themselves where you can find them.
I place a copy of whatever "Install" EXE a program uses, plus a copy of whatever text or datafile contains the license or activation code(s), right into the same subfolder that contains that program's main "*.EXE" file, and mark those files as "read-only".
This way, if I should ever need to re-install the program, I can copy the relevant files to my DeskTop and do the re-install from there, right over the original -- or, if need be, I can uninstall, erase the files in the subfolder, and then do a "fresh" install (moving the install & activation files from my DeskTop back into the proper subfolder afterwards, of course).
This has become standard practice for me. There have been times, in the past, when I've neglected to do this, and have come to regret it; so I do try never to omit it when installing something!
It works for me, and it has saved my bacon on quite a few occasions! Hope this helps! :)
I have an image backup of my whole hard disk. I thought I was covered this way.
Then my motherboard failed and I had a new one installed. My technician told me that because of the change in the motherboard my image backup was of no use. Is that true or is there a way to make this backup work? I have one drive for the software and another for the documents etc.
One thing that is relevant: a considerable number of software developers allow software to be installed on either only 1 single machine, or 2 (desktop and laptop). That allows for 2 activations... and if a hdd crashes, or the hardware changes, the activation server may decide the activation signature is different and an illegal copy may have been installed and deactivate the software! Even a hdd reformat has done this! And it is rather inconvenient, especially with developers and/or companies that are less than reasonable... I think what this reader was asking is, how can one backup an installation so one can avoid this hassle... and I don't think there is a way --- that is, any legal way --- because the only solution would be to circumvent/avoid the connection with the activation server, check the signature, etc., and to avid that, the software must be cracked or hacked... The irritating thing is that the hackers and crackers never have these problems (they never spend a dime, use only pirated stuff, etc.) Only the good guy/gall that rightfully owns the software has to deal with this hassle! And I speak from experience... I do not use pirated software, but once and a while, get a program asking to activate again and again and again... and in more than one occasion, have bumped into rather unreasonable support who insists I am trying to activate the software beyond my allowed number of times... and have dumped programs and companies because of this... But mostly, I must say, I have been lucky and positive experiences weigh more than negative. Would I like to find a solution for this? YOU BET!...
I guess you need to backup your registry before installing. You can use Handy Backup for it. Also you can use something like registry monitor (RegMon). Check what exactly installation changes and try to change those branches of registry manually. Also you need to backup your "Application Data" and, of course, inatallation directory.
The only way to backup live running software is to use a portable application such as those available at portableapps.com.
This type of Windows app stores everything it needs in a single folder. Copy the folder and you have an app backup.
Registry? We don't need no you-know-what registry. :-)
I use the portable version of Firefox and can move it from computer to computer and the "move" includes saved bookmarks, extensions, UI customizations, saved passwords and everything that makes it *my* copy of Firefox.
Normal Windows applications that get "installed" can not be backed up. Maybe given another 20 years Microsoft will get to it, if the company is around that long.
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