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Windows Easy Transfer VS backup & restore RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've searched for hours and cannot find a straight answer to this question: What is the difference between Windows Easy Transfer and Back Up/Restore in Windows 7?  I have an RC version of Windows 7, and will need to upgrade soon.  I want to be able to transfer all my applications, files, and programs to the freshly installed RTM version.  Since I'm still a week or two away from receiving my RTM copy of Windows 7, does it make sense to run a back up on the RC version, and then just hit "restore" when I cleanly install the RTM version?  I just don't understand what the WET does that the Restore function wouldn't do?  When you hit "restore" or use "WET," will all the desktop backgrounds and settings remain the same, or does W7 just throw everything from the backed up computer into a new folder, leaving the user to figure out how to organize the information?

    Additionally, in Win 7, is there a way to set Back up/Restore to save every single version of a Word document onto an external drive (like in Mac's Time Machine).  I'm a writer, and I want to make sure that every auto-saved version (literally 50-60 versions per hour at a 1/min save rate) is backed up.  Is this possible?
    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 6:18 AM

Answers

  • I want to be able to transfer all my applications, files, and programs to the freshly installed RTM version. 
    Not possible, with any Microsoft tool whatsoever.  You will need to reinstall your programs following a clean install.  You will only be able to retain the functionality of your installed programs if you perform an over-the-top upgrade install.

    Windows Easy Transfer tool is capable of backing up your data and user settings, and transferring those to the new install as a 'restore' procedure.  You can get your user accounts and user configurations back with WET, but you can't get your installed programs back.

    Sorry, but you're asking for the impossible.
    • Proposed as answer by Techwrighter Wednesday, October 28, 2009 7:56 PM
    • Marked as answer by Vivian Xing Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:49 AM
    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 6:52 AM
  • Additionally, in Win 7, is there a way to set Back up/Restore to save every single version of a Word document onto an external drive (like in Mac's Time Machine).  I'm a writer, and I want to make sure that every auto-saved version (literally 50-60 versions per hour at a 1/min save rate) is backed up.  Is this possible?

    Carterman, I'm a writer too.  And it seems to me that you might be trying to harvest the veggies from the flower bed.  There's no need to have Windows save dozens of separate copies of a file every hour - instead a bit more advanced skill with the tool of trade sees the need addressed.


    The 'track changes' feature of Microsoft Word will allow you to retain an audit trail of changes made to a document over time:

    http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word/HA012186901033.aspx
    • Proposed as answer by Techwrighter Wednesday, October 28, 2009 7:56 PM
    • Marked as answer by Vivian Xing Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:49 AM
    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 7:55 PM

All replies

  • I want to be able to transfer all my applications, files, and programs to the freshly installed RTM version. 
    Not possible, with any Microsoft tool whatsoever.  You will need to reinstall your programs following a clean install.  You will only be able to retain the functionality of your installed programs if you perform an over-the-top upgrade install.

    Windows Easy Transfer tool is capable of backing up your data and user settings, and transferring those to the new install as a 'restore' procedure.  You can get your user accounts and user configurations back with WET, but you can't get your installed programs back.

    Sorry, but you're asking for the impossible.
    • Proposed as answer by Techwrighter Wednesday, October 28, 2009 7:56 PM
    • Marked as answer by Vivian Xing Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:49 AM
    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 6:52 AM
  • In Windows 7, previous versions of files are saved when you create a restore point and the file is on a drive that has system protection turned on for that drive.
    You would have to create a restore point to include subsequent changes to a file after the last restore point was created. You of course would have to backup your computer to save any changes to your system, including the new restore point.

    My Microsoft OneNote 2007 has backup settings that can be set to backup as often as every 1 minute and how many backup copies to keep, which seems to accept a number as high as 99, 999. You can also select the location the backups are saved to, including external drives.

    If you want frequent backups of the drives you store backups on then a RAID set up in a mirrored array might be a good option, then you have a backup continuously.

    Note that not all versions of Windows 7 has the Previous Versions capability.

    You can test the WET by using Virtual PC and create a new Windows 7 install from your Windows 7 RC media. Then use WET on the Virtual PC and see what it is like. If you can't run Windows 7 Virtual PC on your computer, you can use Virtual PC 2007 SP1.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 7:38 AM
  • Additionally, in Win 7, is there a way to set Back up/Restore to save every single version of a Word document onto an external drive (like in Mac's Time Machine).  I'm a writer, and I want to make sure that every auto-saved version (literally 50-60 versions per hour at a 1/min save rate) is backed up.  Is this possible?

    Carterman, I'm a writer too.  And it seems to me that you might be trying to harvest the veggies from the flower bed.  There's no need to have Windows save dozens of separate copies of a file every hour - instead a bit more advanced skill with the tool of trade sees the need addressed.


    The 'track changes' feature of Microsoft Word will allow you to retain an audit trail of changes made to a document over time:

    http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word/HA012186901033.aspx
    • Proposed as answer by Techwrighter Wednesday, October 28, 2009 7:56 PM
    • Marked as answer by Vivian Xing Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:49 AM
    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 7:55 PM
  • Thanks for the response, but I'm still confused about the difference between "Backup & Restore" and "Windows Easy Transfer" in terms of transferring my data (not programs) to a clean install of W7.  I  use "B&R" daily to back up my files, and I'll soon be doing a fresh install of W7.  I only have 250gb on my external drive, and of that, 150gb are taken up by the back up file.  This means when I switch over to the clean install, there won't be enough room on the drive to fit a Windows Easy Transfer file.  What is the difference between transferring my files to the clean install using "restore" and transferring my files using "WET"?  If there is some advantage to WET, does it make sense to dump my back up file right before I plan on transferring to the clean install, and in its place, put a WET file on the drive?
    Thursday, October 29, 2009 3:47 PM
  • Easy transfer collects program user interface configuration settings data that typical backup does not. Using easy transfer will transfer your desktop background coler, the way some of your installed programs are configured, explorer settings such as animation characteristics  for example  the behavior of windows minimizing  and maximizing. Typical backup will not restore these attributes.
    Thursday, October 29, 2009 7:54 PM
  • Yes.  the 'Backup and Restore' tool can be used for two purposes:

    * Creating backups of data files
    * Creating backup 'images' of entire hard drives, for later restoration.

    When used to backup data files, the tool does not and cannot also back up user configurations and settings.  The tool, in it's function as a drive imaging tool, is best used AFTER you make the change to Windows 7.  When you have your Windows 7 install fully working and fully configured to your liking, and confirmed in good working order, use the 'Complete PC Backup' feature to create a backup image of the entire system drive.  Store that away safely.  If you have need later on to reinstall your system you can 'Restore' from that drive image to quaickly and easily have your windows 7 install back in fully working and new condition.




    In comparison, the 'Windows Easy Transfer' tool is one designed for use in the migration.  It will transfer your user data files and user configuration settings etc.  It does NOT transfer installed programs.  Use with cautioon, as it does not automatically backup and restore everything on your system.  Some backups (such as your MS Outlook .pst file for example) will still need to be performed manually.
    Thursday, October 29, 2009 9:30 PM
  • Thanks for the response, but I'm still confused about the difference between "Backup & Restore" and "Windows Easy Transfer" in terms of transferring my data (not programs) to a clean install of W7.  I  use "B&R" daily to back up my files, and I'll soon be doing a fresh install of W7.  I only have 250gb on my external drive, and of that, 150gb are taken up by the back up file.  This means when I switch over to the clean install, there won't be enough room on the drive to fit a Windows Easy Transfer file.  What is the difference between transferring my files to the clean install using "restore" and transferring my files using "WET"?  If there is some advantage to WET, does it make sense to dump my back up file right before I plan on transferring to the clean install, and in its place, put a WET file on the drive?

    This might help you and others understand. Easy Transfer saves your personal files for restore or upgrade purposes, while Backup/Restore backs up the entire hard drive as a file: personal files, programs, settings, operating system files, and literally anything else that exists on your harddrive, right down to the disks file system. If you plan to reinstall windows DO NOT USE Backup/Restore. If you reinstalled, for an example, to get rid of a system error or glitch, when you restore, EVERYTHING will be replaced by the backup: the new os, the new personal files, the new programs, the new settings, will be wiped out and replaced by the backup. This means everything will be like it was when you backed up, system glitches and all. The new hard drive partition will be completely lost and replaced by the backed up one. Windows Easy Transfer however, doesn't back up this much, it simply backs up your personal files, your account, program settings, and desktop wallpaper. The new system files WILL REMAIN INTACT with this method. Thus you will have your old files, but with the fresh os install, which is likely what your looking for.

    As a side note, if you wish to make a list of all your installed programs, so you can re-install them after the os reinstall, this powershell script may serve you well:

    get-wmiobject -class "Win32_Product" -namespace "root\CIMV2" | sort Vendor | select-object Vendor,Name,Version,InstallDate,InstallLocation | export-csv "out.csv" 

    It creates a list of installed programs, that the os is aware of. Portable apps however (ones you didn't install, but rather click an .exe to run) will not be shown. The os runs them without really knowing what happened before or after you ran it. Other third-party programs claim to backup actual program files, but I prefer to reinstall myself. On the plus side, reinstalling yourself help you know what programs you do, and do not install. Programs you don't want, and didnt knowingly install, cannot get reinstalled this way. FYI the script outputs the list into a .csv file, thats then placed in your user folder (not Documents). It can at least be opened with Excel

    I sincerely hope this helps everyone,

    Signing Out,

    arkangel11004



    • Proposed as answer by arkangel11004 Friday, September 19, 2014 1:08 AM
    • Unproposed as answer by arkangel11004 Friday, September 19, 2014 1:09 AM
    • Proposed as answer by arkangel11004 Friday, September 19, 2014 1:09 AM
    • Edited by arkangel11004 Thursday, September 25, 2014 7:42 PM Added .csv Location information
    Friday, September 19, 2014 1:07 AM
  • arkangel

    This was most helpful and appreciated. 

    Thank you,

    Sue Lamour

    Saturday, November 17, 2018 5:50 PM