General Question

Vincentt's avatar

Which files do I want to backup from a Windows PC?

Asked by Vincentt (8074points) February 20th, 2009

My mom’s Windows doesn’t want to boot anymore (even in safe mode) so I’m installing Ubuntu (at least for now). Anyway, obviously I don’t want to lose all her important stuff and preferably preserve the possibility to buy a new Windows and restore it in the previous state at much as possible.

However, I’m not a Windows guy, so my question is… Which files to I backup? I have an external harddrive. It concerns Windows XP.

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3 Answers

RandomMrdan's avatar

I’d back up any of the personal files, if you plan to re-image it, the rest doesn’t matter.

Usually My Documents, My Pictures, My videos, and any other file that you’ve ever downloaded into, maybe files on the desktop.

If you buy a Windows disc, that would be used to Re-image it back to having nothing except for the OS. Using a restore function may solve the problem but may not fully fix the issue.

I’d recommend a Re-image and start from fresh, just be sure and back up all the personal files, and download any necessary drivers for Video, Lan, etc from the manufacturers site.

Vincentt's avatar

Right… I’ve got Documents and Settings backed up, I suppose all the documents and, well, settings from all users are located there? I see the Desktop folder as well, good…

Should I also backup Program Files? I can imagine applications having saved important stuff there, e.g. preferences or perhaps serial keys if she bought software. Or is this a foolish thought?

RandomMrdan's avatar

If she bought software, she should still have the serial keys. I almost always assume when I re-image that I need to reinstall software since they are specific to the registry for that computer.

You should also back up all the documents and files from each user as well. Pictures, Documents, Videos, Downloads, etc.

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