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Author Topic: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?  (Read 6740 times)

justice

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Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« on: May 28, 2007, 03:34:05 AM »
Hi! As you use your software you make settings modifications, interface changes and add data to your apps. Most of these are saved as preferences or application data. Now there will come a time when a program will stop working or some other reason why I will need to start from a fresh install.

Is there an application that will list compatable installed applications and allows me to backup these preferences / settings and optionally data? Most applications have a knowledgebase article or help page available that tells one how to backup the preferences etc. To do this for 40 or more applicatinos will take me a few days. However I can't find anything faster.

Good idea? Bad Idea? Does it exist? Is there a market?  ;)

Found the following apps:
AppHomepageCostNotes
OBXhttp://fileforum.bet...ail/OBX/1129770850/1FreeOpera only
NikSaverhttp://www.niksaver.com/Shareware; $35 - or freeSupports about 500 programs. Restoring settings not supported in trial.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2007, 04:29:21 AM by justice »

Grorgy

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2007, 03:54:27 AM »
sounds like an excellent idea, someone made a firefox extension ( http://customsoftwar...sions/febe/febe.html) which backs up all firefox setting, userchrome and passwords and of course your extensions and themes, much like that one for opera, i dont know how popular it is but i know i like it and use it, and would certainly use something similar for all or other applications.

justice

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2007, 05:18:08 AM »
I've since had the NikSaver application throw an exception when you run the Add program wizard a second time. Now I am running Vista, with the app given admin rights and in XPSP2 mode. So it could be a compatibility mode. The app generated a bugreport to send but the email address doesn't exist. Hmm. also it could be easier to create your own scripts. But in general this seems to be an app to live with, it depends if I can make 20 scripts to qualify for the free registration. But there must be something more reliable.


Hirudin

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2007, 06:14:38 PM »
What I do may be something you might want to try, maybe as a last resort.

I format my drive into 2 partitions, a C: (30 gigs for Vista, 15 gigs for any other windows) and a D: with all the rest of the hard drive space. The C: partition gives me enough room for Windows, the few apps I install into C:\Program Files, and enough additional space to save pretty much any file on my desktop. The D: drive is where I put everything; 'specially programs. Programs that I have to install get put into D:\ProgNew, programs that can just be unzipped get put into D:\ProgNoInst. After a format pretty much all the programs in ProgNoInst will continue to work as if nothing happened. I'll also change the name of the ProgNew folder to ProgOld. Then I'll go through ProgOld and delete any program that I'm no longer interested in using.

After I install a program that I had installed before I'll use Beyond Compare to compare the New with the Old. If there's file differences, specially in .ini files, I'll selectively transfer the Old stuff to the New stuff.

Sometimes after a format I'll rename the ProgNew folder to ProgKeep. Then I'll try every program I'm still interested in and see if any still work. Any that do I'll leave in the ProgKeep folder for easy future formatting.

The first couple times going through this process takes a little extra time, but after a while I build up a collection of software that I don't need to worry about getting messed up if Windows decides to take a crap on me. I suppose it would be easy enough to backup all the -non-install- programs periodically to help protect against a HDD failure or something.

NixSaver looks like a very good solution for other software that must be installed though. justice, what do you mean by "Opera only" in that table?
« Last Edit: May 28, 2007, 06:24:37 PM by Hirudin »

Hirudin

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2007, 06:44:56 PM »
Here's a few programs I've noticed are not on the supported programs list that may be easy to create:

Directory Opus
KeePass
KMPlayer
Super Flexible File Synchronizer
Beyond Compare
InfraRecorder
Sumatra PDF
Screenshot Captor
*torrent*
AutoHotKey
Rhinoceros
CounterStrike (this has always worked even after a format, so the settings must be saved in the main program dir somewhere)
Raven Shield
(Bold signifies that it appears the settings are simply saved as a set of files)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2007, 06:49:22 PM by Hirudin »

justice

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2007, 07:45:23 PM »
OBX is a program to back up preferences but only Opera browser's preferences, much like Grorgy's firefox backup prog. Great post I'll have to read it in detail tomorrow.

Grorgy

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2007, 08:52:21 PM »
oh wow  :o hirudin, sounds good, but way way to organised for me lol,  :-[

Darwin

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2007, 09:20:36 PM »
Yeah, I'm with Grorgy on this one - it all makes sense and is impressive, but beyond my abilities to maintain anything that organised!

FWIW, I have two partitions C: gets Windows and all of my programs and E: gets everything else. I backup E: to a USB drive using synchronizing software (used to use DOpus' built in feature, now use Super Flexible File Synchronizer (thanks Zaine!) and backup C:\ about once a week using Acronis TrueImage 9.1 for Workstations. This has served me well so far... (knock on wood!).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

justice

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2007, 06:49:43 AM »
I never understand where you get the free space if you make a weekly backup of windows + all progs.. How many backups do you keep? Where do you put the trueimage backup?

Darwin

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2007, 09:24:30 AM »
Ah... there's the rub! Actually, TrueImage will allow you to do two things that are very helpful in this regard: it compresses the backup and it allows you to make incremental backups. So once you've backed everything up, you just have it save the changes made since the backup. I've never played with the compression level - just have it set to default, but could compress it more via options - and have a 32GB partition for Windows and Program Files. It is backed up into about five files at the moment that total about 21GB on the USB drive. What I tend to do is this:

The first backup is a base windows install with all drivers and True Image installed. Then I make another (incremental) backup that has my basic needs installed (Office, DOpus and anything that that requires activation). I follow this up with another incremental backup once everything is installed and continue to make backups periodically after that. Incremental backups reflect software uninstallations in addition to installations, so the size varies from 8 or 9 GB to as little as a couple of hundred MB's. When space gets tight, I delete the incremental backups back to the Office install or some other point (i.e. I delete everything but at minimum keep the first two backups - they're named sequentially, by default, My Backup1, My Backup2, and Acronis allows you to make detailed notes that are attached to the file as well, so it's easy to be precise about this) and then do an incremental backup. This works because I have just about all my user settings on my other partition (My Documents for a start, but I also have my favorites, Outlook pst files, etc. redirected to E: as well) so I can restore right back to my second backup and not lose anything important.

OK rambling post  :-[ but I hope you get the gist?!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

justice

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2007, 09:55:04 AM »
Yes fantastic with quality advice like that it makes you wonder why there isn't a software workflow website with screencasts of getting the most out of software. Practices like what you describe really take familiarity with the software.

Darwin

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2007, 10:43:43 AM »
I'll try get some screenshots together to clarify this - hopefully later on today. In the meantime, check out mouser's Pro-user Backup Guide. It covers a lot of this territory.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2007, 08:37:20 AM »
Ouch! Sorry justice I never got back to this thread  :-[ (lame excuse: went to Vancouver the next day for a three day visit and then left for five weeks in Belgium on June 16 and it slipped my mind). I'll get some screencaps ready and post them here later today.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

justice

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2007, 08:54:14 AM »
It's not important but looking forward to the screencaps :)  :Thmbsup:

Darwin

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2007, 11:56:36 AM »
Well, this was going to be a screencast, but it seemed more relevant to do screencaps from the cast of the relevant "bits" of the operation. The only thing I didn't get was the last screen, which would have shown an "operation completed successfully" pop-up. I've combined 14 images into a powerpoint presentation and saved it as a Shockwave File. Click on the link below and it should open in your default swf player (for me, it's GOMPlayer). I don't know how useful this is, but there it is!

http://
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: August 15, 2007, 12:13:01 PM by Darwin »

Armando

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2007, 11:59:36 AM »
Thanks for the links (in your 1st post), Justice.
Have you tried any of these... like the above mentionned NikSaver?

I think programs like this are pretty useful if you just want to revert 1 or 2 apps to some previous configuration (without having to dig for hours to find out where the right settings are stored, which image contains the right config, etc.). Right now, I use a normal backup strategy based on True Image, a bit like Darwin. It works OK, but is not optimal in some cases.

BTW : this thread is somewhat related to the User settings storage debate

tomos

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2007, 03:49:14 PM »
apparently the new (3.10) Backup4all has

Starting with version 3.10 it is possible to load plugins to
backup/restore the settings of specific programs
. A plugin is
actually an XML file that once imported in Backup4all adds a
predefined backup. For instance, a backup plugin for Mozilla FireFox,
when loaded, will automatically add in the Predefined Backup list an
entry for Firefox, so when defining a new backup job if that is
selected the FireFox profiles will be added as source for the new
backup.

Backup plugins recently added:
- Mozilla FireFox
- WinRAR
- WinZIP
- LimeWire
- Opera
- Yahoo Messenger
- Trillian
- Spybot Search & Destroy
- NOD32
- FileZilla Server
- ICQ
- MSN Messenger
- Mozilla Thunderbird
- eMule
- Alcohol 120%
- Adobe Photoshop CS2
- BearFlix
- Windows Scheduled Tasks
- Windows Media Player
- Windows Explorer Toolbar


To download these plugins visit the Plugins section of our
Knowledgebase at: http://www.backup4all.com/kb/15

Each article contains information on how to download and install the
plugins. We will add soon information on how to create a plugin. For
questions and suggestions email us at: info@backup4all.com

The Backup4all Team
http://www.backup4all.com
havent tried it meself
Tom
« Last Edit: August 16, 2007, 11:35:40 AM by tomos »

Darwin

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2007, 05:32:36 PM »
Thanks justice! As noted here, I managed to get myself into a pickle right after recording the video for you - you saved my bacon because I had a recent image to restore and all is well. I just wish that I had gone straight for the restore instead of wasting time trying to get things up and running...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Lashiec

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2007, 11:10:12 AM »
Cool! And anyone can write its own plugins, as they're simple XML files. Might make my future backup routine a bit more clean.

Darwin

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2007, 11:33:20 AM »
Lashiec - I like your new avatar  :Thmbsup:
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Lashiec

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Re: Q: Preferences backup for installed applications?
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2007, 11:59:50 AM »
Thanks! It seems it's being liked around here, that's good.