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12Ghosts ProfileCopy

12Ghosts - ProfileCopy

 

What does it do for me?

Save and restore Windows user settings, independent of the Windows installation. Include wallpaper settings (and the wallpaper picture file itself!), desktop icons (and even their layout!), sound and mouse cursor schemes (including the sound and cursor files themselves!), favorite files (restored into the relative user's favorite folder, not the absolute path!), start menu and desktop shortcuts (restored only if not broken on the new machine!). You may add files, folders, and even registry keys to the backup! Works between all versions of Windows, including 95, 98, ME, NT 4.0, Windows 2000, XP and Vista! Works unattended and scripted over the network (however, the user needs to be logged on).

What’s different from a normal backup program: Not only does it save registry settings, it also copies the files referred to by these settings. The wallpaper bitmap, the screen saver file, the sound and cursor files themselves are copied from different locations into a new folder (or zip file). Then you only have to handle this one folder, and restore all files on a new computer (with a different Windows version, or folder structure) .

12-ProfileCopy is a full backup program. You no longer need to backup the complete Windows folder every time, but save only your personal settings. 12-ProfileCopy has been vastly enhanced with this version to work fully unattended and (optionally) integrates with 12-Zip to compress the profile folder after saving. It now supports the addition of wildcards to the list of files and folders. Save time and relax doing automatic backups.

 

Where should I start?

IMPORTANT: Please read the paragraph "Things you Should Know" before using 12-ProfileCopy. The FAQ below also contains many hints and helpful explanations. Before testing 12-ProfileCopy on your computer make sure you have a full backup of your system!

Open 12-ProfileCopy and look through the possible options to save. Change the Profile Path at the bottom of the dialog box (you may use %username%). This is where the profile settings are stored into. Next, look through Advanced options that are explained in detail below.

To save a profile you need to check the options you'd like to include, and add files and registry keys to the list at the bottom of the dialog box. Finally, click on Save Selected Items to save the profile. To restore the profile, first logon as the user who is supposed to get these settings, then click on Restore Profile from Path.

To test if 12-ProfileCopy works as expected create a new "test" user on your computer. Select a few options, then:

  1. Save the profile
  2. Log on as the test user
  3. Restore the profile

Again, log off and then back on after restoring and check if all settings have been copied as expected.

 

Automate Saving

You may start 12-ProfileCopy from any application scheduler, for example 12-Timer, with the parameter "/save" to automate saving the profile. To restore from the command line use "/restore".

 

Advanced Options

M e s s a g e s   a n d   L o g g i n g

S a v e

R e s t o r e

 

Compression integrated

12-ProfileCopy supports calling 12-Zip for compression. If you want to use any other compression utility you can start it before starting 12-ProfileCopy. It is probably a good idea anyway to create a batch file to save and restore the profile with command line parameters, for example in a log on script for several networked computers. And if you have a batch file you can also start your compression tool after saving and before restoring from this batch file easily. Remember to store the profile locally first, and then compress and copy it to a network server, not the other way round. Otherwise the compression program would copy all files back through the network a second time and then store it through the network a third time. This way you also save time because only the smaller compressed file is copied to the network.

It also makes sense to apply the 12-ProfileCopy settings before saving, to make sure the client has the correct settings. Below you find an example of how to do this automatically. Note the switch /s for silent in the first line, and the "start /wait" sequence that you need on Windows NT for each step to finish before executing the next.

  REM save profile
start /wait C:\Program Files\12Ghosts\12profile.exe /s "c:\data\ProfileCopy Settings.12g"
start /wait C:\Program Files\12Ghosts\12profile.exe /save
  REM set current dir
cd c:\data\profile
  REM this is 12-ProfileCopy's internal command when compression is enabled
C:\Program Files\12Ghosts\12zip.exe zip -qS7Rm "c:\data\profile.zip" *.*
-------------------------
  REM to restore the profile
start /wait C:\Program Files\12Ghosts\12zip.exe unzip -qq "c:\data\profile.zip" -d "c:\data\profile"
C:\Program Files\12Ghosts\12profile.exe /restore

 

Things you Should Know

IMPORTANT: Please read the following paragraphs before using 12-ProfileCopy. The FAQ also contains many helpful explanations.

General Issues

• Verify the system folder settings (click the System Folders Tweak button) before saving the folders created by 12-ProfileCopy. For example, if one of the system folders is set to "C:\", your complete disk would be copied.

• After changing system folder settings it is necessary to log off and then back on before saving or restoring system folders. Windows needs to recognize the new settings.

• Windows 95: The icons for My Computer, Network, Recycle, etc. will only be restored on Windows 95 if Microsoft Plus! is installed.

• Shortcuts are not adjusted. If the target path does not exist on the restore platform, the shortcut will not work. This is the nature of shortcuts. In the "Misc. Settings", however, you'll find the option Copy only working shortcuts which will verify if the path the shortcut refers to exists and only then copy the shortcut.

• Sound and Cursor files will always be restored to %WinDir%\Sounds or %WinDir%\Media. This is intentional because the paths should be "relative" and exist on every Windows installation. - To backup a folder and restore it to the exact same "absolute" path, add it to the list of "Files, Folders and Registry Keys".

• For certain screen savers additional files may be necessary. For example, the popular Boogie Baby screen saver would need baby.avi and baby.mid. You need to add these files in the lower list box to have them copied. This is also necessary for screen saver settings that you wish to save. For example, if you use the Marquee screen saver, you'd have to add the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Screen Saver.Marquee.

• Profile.ini is not a Windows system file. It is created new and used only by 12-ProfileCopy.

• Don't forget to log off and then back on after restoring so that the restored settings take effect.

Items in the List

• You may add your own registry keys to be copied in the list box. Make sure, however, that you know what you are doing. These keys will not be checked but just copied and restored.

• Folders and Registry Keys will always be restored according to the entry in profile.ini, regardless of whether or not they appear in the list box (because on another PC they would not). To deselect certain entries, delete them manually in profile.ini.

• Files referred to by registry keys in the list box will not be copied, only the keys themselves.

• It is not recommended to save/restore the complete HKEY_CURRENT_USER registry key (nor any of the other main hives), except for backup purposes for one single machine. See the FAQ for more detailed information.

We always enhance our software to give you the most powerful tools available. Please e-mail if you encounter any difficulties not listed here. Thank you!

 

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a profile?

All user defined settings in Windows are stored in a special database, called the registry. Settings included are your selected wallpaper, current sound and cursor schemes, desktop colors, mouse and keyboard settings. Also stored in the Registry are the contents of the Start and Programs menu, the Desktop and Favorites folder, and more.

It's tedious to set up all parameters and copy all pertinent files each time you install a fresh version of Windows, be it for updating purposes, cleaning up, beta testing, or whatever! Transferring all settings, for example, to a new computer or between a PC and a notebook is almost impossible. Your administrator may assign a new user account to you with a fresh profile; in this case, all your settings would be gone. With 12-ProfileCopy you can now save and restore your profile easily.

You may also include several settings for applications and even your own documents.

 

Why not just backup the whole (nt)user.dat, that is, HKEY_CURRENT_USER?

You should backup your registry regularly, but 12-ProfileCopy does more:

1) 12-ProfileCopy has been designed to be able to copy settings between Windows 95 and Windows NT and between different PCs. Many settings are different in Windows 95 and Windows NT. You can not copy the whole (nt)user.dat to another installation because it may render your system unusable.

2) 12-ProfileCopy also copies files referred to by registry keys, for example, your wallpaper bitmap or sound and cursor files. The keys and files are restored correctly on another machine, even if the Windows folder has another name.

3) The contents of system folders (Start Menu, Desktop, etc.) are copied from and restored to their respective paths. That is, their relative, not absolute, paths. 12-ProfileCopy uses %WinDir%, for example, not C:\Windows to restore files.

4) To transfer settings between PCs, the same applications need to be installed on both PCs. This is, however, usually not the case. You can add specific registry keys for installed applications if you know that the application is installed on the restore platform.

5) The paths saved/restored and referred to by registry keys are probably different on different machines and on different installations of Windows. You would need to search and replace all paths in the Registry after copying HKEY_CURRENT_USER. Not so with settings copied with 12-ProfileCopy.

6) All keys in (nt)user.dat need to be closed to save or restore the file. This is hardly ever the case, except before booting or logging on. For example, Windows NT allows restoring the Last Known Good only before loading the system, and a roaming profile is copied before log on, etc. Restoring HKEY_CURRENT_USER completely may not work because the keys are locked.

7) There are better utilities for just backing up the complete registry if you like: the Windows Backup, or REGSAVE and REGREST from the Windows Resource Kit, and among others.

 

What is the difference between a profile and a Microsoft Plus! Theme?

You can only install a theme, that is, "put settings in". With 12-ProfileCopy you can "get settings out". When you change settings or add files, these changes will not change the theme, but the profile. In other words, you can not save settings by using a theme. With 12-ProfileCopy you can.

 

Does 12-ProfileCopy support command line parameters?

You can specify the command line options /save for save or /restore for restore. 12-ProfileCopy will not display any message when started with /save or /restore. Instead it will continue on all confirmation questions automatically. Should errors occur 12-ProfileCopy will create an error log in the same path where the profile.ini is (or in the .exe path should the profile-path not be writeable.) You can test this behavior for example by producing a simple overwrite message. Just save the profile with /save to the same folder twice and you will find an "error_log<date>.txt" file.

 

Why should I copy "12profile.exe" to the profile path?

You may want to restore your profile on another PC or on a fresh installation of Windows. No need to install 12-ProfileCopy again, it's already in your profile folder, ready to use.

A common problem with backup programs is that the backup program must be available in order to be able to restore. Not only the program, but probably the correct version, too. One day there may be an updated version of 12-ProfileCopy and we can't guarantee backward compatibility over the next 50 years. The profile.ini format might change. But for you this is not a problem if the appropriate version of 12-ProfileCopy.exe was copied into the backup path!

 

Do you recommend including HKEY_CURRENT_USER completely?

Just for backup purposes, yes. To transfer profiles between PCs, no. To transfer profiles between users on the same machine, not really, but this depends really on the applications installed. (See question "Why not just backup the whole (nt)user.dat...?" above.)

 

What's different from a full backup?

Not all Windows settings are saved by default. The main purpose for using 12-ProfileCopy is to copy profiles from one user or PC to another, as well as between Windows 95/98 and NT/2000. Application settings are not saved by default, but you may add as many registry settings, documents and folders as you need. To backup your complete data, please use a full featured backup program like 12-Backup regularly.

 

Can I backup the whole registry?

You can backup every registry key by adding it to the list box. But it doesn't make sense necessarily. For example, keys below HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE are only used by applications installed on the machine. If those applications are not installed on the other machine, why would you need those settings? Different users on the same machine all access the same HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. There is no need to copy it.

As mentioned above, we would recommend that you backup all data and the complete registry regularly with your preferred backup program. Many backup programs today come free with Windows or a new hard drive, that's why 12-ProfileCopy was not designed to imitate a full backup program.

 

Is it safe to use 12-ProfileCopy?

Please take all reasonable precautions, read the FAQ and the Known Issues carefully. This program is capable of changing system settings if not used carfully. Test 12-ProfileCopy on "test user" profiles. Always save the current profile before you restore a new one. Backup your data regularly and make sure you have a recent full backup before trying new software, including 12-ProfileCopy.

 

 

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