I hate reinstalling Windows. It’s not about the time it requires to install it, it’s the time it takes to configure after installing that I dislike the most. All the files and documents can be easily backed up and restored by simple copy and paste, but that’s not possible for installed programs. One can’t just copy an application folder from the Program Files folder and paste it again to restore it. In some of the cases it might work, but for the majority of programs which use separate folders to backup data and different registry keys to save your configuration, it will simply not work.
However, since yesterday when I found PickMeApp, all that changed. PickMeApp is a portable application for Windows using which you can take backup of software that are installed on your computer along with all its associated data and registry keys. It captures the program state on your computer which you can restore as a working copy of the application on any computer running PickMeApp.
Installing and Using PickMeApp
To download PickMeApp you will have to first register on the product website and then request for a download link on your email. While installing the program, the installer will ask you if you would like to install additional (adware) application. Make sure you click on the Decline button when it does.
Note: I would recommend you to install the application on any of the non-system partitions if you have them.
The application will not create a desktop icon and neither will it pin itself to Start Screen or Start Menu if you are on Win 7, and you will have to run the executable file from the folder where you installed it. When the application runs for the first time, it will index all the applications that are installed on your computer. The program interface is divided in two parts. The left side lists all the applications that are installed on your PC and can be backed up while the right side lists all the apps that are compatible with the tool and can be installed in one click.
Now to take the backup of a program, select it on the left hand list and click on the capture button. The tool will take some time to create the backup of the program and save it as a .tap file in the installed directory. The .tap file can be restored to a PC using the PickMeApp tool itself but you can create an executable installer too. After you have captured the program, look for it in the right hand list, select it and click on the button Save as .exe.
If you ask me, the first method is more flexible if you are planning for a batch backup and restore. Installing exe files one after another might annoy you. Another tip I would like to mention here is that before you take the backup of the applications that are installed on your computer, you should clear the default application list that’s on the right side. There’s no point of it anyways if you want to backup and restore applications along with the data.
Warning: The tool worked perfectly fine for me but I take no responsibility if it doesn’t work for you and you end up loosing all your data. Do test the tool for one or two programs first to see how it goes.
So that was how you can use the tool to backup and restore installed programs on Windows along with their associated data. The tool is bit clumsy to handle but accomplishes the tasks that it’s meant for. Do try it out and let us know how it worked out for you.