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Is it possible to backup and reset a hard drive this way?

I'm currently experiencing very strange and unusual problems with my laptop that I can't seem to find solutions to. I would like to back-up my hard drive, and try resetting my PC with the recovery option that comes with Windows 10. If I opened my C: drive and dragged all of its contents onto an external hard drive through USB 3.0, then reset my PC, then copied everything back. Would there be anything fundamentally wrong with doing that? Would my computer be exactly the same as it was before?
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  1. What I would do is make an image of your HDD in case something goes wrong. This way you can restore your computer and files as if nothing happened. Then I would make a file backup of all your user files (Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos, etc) and if you have STEAM, that directory too. Then do your restore, and then copy your file backup back to their respective locations.

    If you have STEAM, install STEAM, log in to STEAM and authorize if for your computer. Then shut STEAM down and copy over your backup to write over your new install. This way you shouldn't have to re-install all your games again. You may have to do a verify cache integrity on some games before they work.

    The reason you don't want to just file backup the entire HDD and then copy it back after the restore is twofold. One: many of the files are protected / locked and won't copy over. Two: more importantly you may restore the strange behaviour that you are trying to eliminate.
  2. techgeek said:
    What I would do is make an image of your HDD in case something goes wrong. This way you can restore your computer and files as if nothing happened. Then I would make a file backup of all your user files (Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos, etc) and if you have STEAM, that directory too. Then do your restore, and then copy your file backup back to their respective locations.

    If you have STEAM, install STEAM, log in to STEAM and authorize if for your computer. Then shut STEAM down and copy over your backup to write over your new install. This way you shouldn't have to re-install all your games again. You may have to do a verify cache integrity on some games before they work.

    The reason you don't want to just file backup the entire HDD and then copy it back after the restore is twofold. One: many of the files are protected / locked and won't copy over. Two: more importantly you may restore the strange behaviour that you are trying to eliminate.



    Would it be okay to copy over my program files and program files (x86) folders too? I have lots of programs that redirect to folders with other programs and it's all very messy and re-installing them all is something I definitely don't want to do.
  3. techgeek said:
    What I would do is make an image of your HDD in case something goes wrong. This way you can restore your computer and files as if nothing happened. Then I would make a file backup of all your user files (Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos, etc) and if you have STEAM, that directory too. Then do your restore, and then copy your file backup back to their respective locations.

    If you have STEAM, install STEAM, log in to STEAM and authorize if for your computer. Then shut STEAM down and copy over your backup to write over your new install. This way you shouldn't have to re-install all your games again. You may have to do a verify cache integrity on some games before they work.

    The reason you don't want to just file backup the entire HDD and then copy it back after the restore is twofold. One: many of the files are protected / locked and won't copy over. Two: more importantly you may restore the strange behaviour that you are trying to eliminate.



    Would it be okay to copy over my program files and program files (x86) folders too? I have lots of programs that redirect to folders with other programs and it's all very messy and re-installing them all is something I definitely don't want to do.
  4. Copying files, documents and even app settings will work this way. However, copying the Program Files folder won't do you any good (and may harm you - do not do that).
    If you really need to transfer programs, you'd need some type of migration kit, but they are not cheap - so I'd consider installing the stuff manually.
  5. Best answer
    You can't normally copy over your Programs folders. The reason being that when you install a program, the installer typically makes entries in the Windows registry for file associations, among other things. It's always best to install your software from scratch. The one exception is STEAM, and to some extent Origin. However you still need to start out by installing these programs, but then you can overwrite the folders created by the install with your backups.
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