Backing Up Application Data

As we are getting closer to the date the Spring 2018 Windows 10 update roll out starts, April 10, 2018 there is one area of backing up your data you might not know about.
Its the Applications Data folder in Windows 10. This is where your programs keep their settings and data files.
Having a copy of these folders sure makes things get back to normal a bit faster after doing a fresh install.

Its just a matter of after the reinstall process is done, going to where you store your backed up data, USB flash drive, external hard drive, etc.. copy those data files back onto your computer and you are set. Well, of course after you install the program again 🙂 .

There are other folders that are actually quite large where these data folders are stored that we don’t want to backup & restore, such as the Microsoft folder.

I’m going to walk through this as if I was copying the folders from my computer. The three main data folders that I want from my computer are the Mozilla folder which has Firefox settings, bookmarks, & add-ons, Thunderbird folder, & TwBlue. To go to where these folders are stored press the windows key and type: “%appdata%” without the quotes and press enter.

Through the magic of Microsoft you are now in the roaming folder.
It helps to not be currently using the programs for which you are going to copy their data folders, some programs don’t like that.

The first one on my computer I want to copy is the Mozilla folder, just arrow down to Mozilla and press control c to copy.
Either press windows key and r to enter the drive you want to go to & save this folder or press Windows key and e to open File Explorer, arrow to the drive you want and press enter. Once you are at your external drive, press control v to paste the folder. I repeat that for the Thunderbird and the TWBlue folders.

Should the time come that I need to wipe the drive and install Windows 10 from a USB Flash Drive and start over, having these program data folders makes getting up and going again faster.

If that time comes, its just a matter of reversing the steps. Go to your external drive, copy the data folders. Press Windows key and r. Type in %appdata% and press enter.
Unless you have already installed, as in my example, Firefox, Thunderbird, and TWBlue, you shouldn’t see any of those folders in the Roaming folder after a fresh install of Windows. So just paste the data folders from your external drive in the folder.
After you install the programs again, there will be all of the settings for Firefox and the other programs I mentioned in the example of my computer.

After a fresh install of Windows 10, if you installed Firefox and the other programs before copying the data folders from your external drive, just delete the data folders for each program that are in the roaming %appdata% folder. Its not a good idea to copy your backed up data folders over existing data folders, sometimes you get a little of this and some of that which causes problems.

Knowing about the folder that %appdata% takes you two can also be handy if you ever want to clear out a program’s settings and just start over from scratch. You could delete the data folders for Mozilla etc.. and the next time you run Firefox, it will recreate its data folder and act like you just installed for the first time.

There is allot of hidden and system stuff in the Microsoft data folder, so its best to just leave that one alone.

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