This is a very easy Instructable for those computer geeks that have ten thousand programs.  If my computer were ever to get a virus, then the first thing I would do is reinstall most of the important programs on a new one.  But I have just over 100 desktop programs, and there is no way I will remember that.  The solution: use this Instructable to backup a list of programs.

Just note that this Instructable is also valid if you got a new computer, and need to install programs on the computer, but don't have access to the old one the whole time.

Good luck, and I hope you enjoy.

The first picture is of my cluttered desktop with all of the programs.

Step 1: Install Programs

There is just one thing that I would like to mention before continuing: this tutorial does not back up your actual programs.  It simply creates a list of all of the programs you have installed on your computer and saved to your desktop.

The first step is go out and install a bunch of programs.  This is very easily done.  But there is one thing you must do when you do install the programs:
In the program installation wizard, you have to make sure that you are adding an icon to the desktop.  See the picture for more information.

When you look at the third picture (the one of my desktop), you may be able to guess that I don't really use my desktop to open programs.  It would take way to long for me to find the program I want.  So what I do instead is use it to back up my programs.  To open programs, I use the Search Bar in the Start Menu. See second picture for more information on that.

Step 2: Open CMD or Command Prompt

This step may scare a lot of people, but it really is quite safe.  Command Prompt (often called CMD) is the command interpreter for the Windows environment.  Don't worry about that, though.  There are lots of bad things that be done in CMD: viruses, Trojans, and many other forms of hacking.  But this is completely safe.  There are a lot of good things that happen in CMD as well.

But to start Command Prompt, press the Windows key on the keyboard, and then press the letter R at the same time.  This will open up a box that looks like the first picture if you are running Windows Vista or 7.  The Windows XP box will look a little bit different, but that doesn't matter.
From there, type "CMD" without the quotes into the box.  Then press OK or hit enter.  This will bring up a box that looks like the third picture.

Step 3: Save the Tree

In the end, what we are saving is just a tree directory diagram of the desktop.  To do this, you will need to know two things:
•What file type you want to save it as
•What directory you want it saved in

•If you want it to be saved as a plain text file (.txt), copy and paste the following while replacing (path) with the path to the place you want it saved as well as a name and then press enter:

tree "desktop" /f > "(path).txt"

A sample of how that should look is:
tree "desktop" /f > "C:\My Desktop Programs.txt"

•But if you want it to be saved as a word document (.doc), copy and paste the following while replacing (path) with the path to the place you want it saved as well as a name and then press enter:

tree "desktop" /f > "(path).doc"

A sample of how that should look is:
tree "desktop" /f > "C:\My Desktop Programs.doc"

•Just one thing that should be mentioned is that if you are a hot key person like myself, you can't use them in CMD.  If you type Control + V, which is the paste hot key, it will just display a character that looks like this: ^V.  So right-click when you are pasting.

Step 4: Find and Check the File

You are done creating the file.  Navigate to the path that you chose in the previous step.  In the example, it was C:\, but yours might be anywhere on your computer.  Open up the text or Microsoft Word file.  The first couple lines are useless and just talk about your HDD, but the rest is full of information.  The first thing you will notice is all of the shortcuts end in .ink.  This is normal, and there really isn't a lot you can do about it.  But continuing, there is the list of everything on your desktop.

Step 5: Move the File to a Safe Location

If your computer gets a bad virus, then you won't be able to access any of the information on it. So having that text file saved on the computer is almost useless.  if you have a large hard drive that you back everything up onto, then you should copy the file to there.  you can also copy it to a small memory stick and save it there.  It doesn't  matter where you put it, as long as you have ti saved somewhere safe.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  you just never know when a virus  will get on your computer, so it is always good to have everything (including your programs) backed up.

The End!!!!!
<p>This is the biggest WASTE of TIME! Your better off just doing what i do. Take a screen shot of your desktop and any other things on your PC you want to remember and Save It to the Cloud. This was a worthless post. #BeeLayZmoN</p>
<p>I know this is a bit late but holy cow that is a lot of unnecessary steps!</p><p>in cmd.exe: </p><p>wmic product get name &gt; outputfile.txt</p><p>This one puts it in the clipboard so you can paste it wherever.</p><p>wmic product get name | clip </p><p>done...</p>
Too hard, this is easier.<br> Save:<br> <pre> dpkg --get-selections | grep -vi kernel &gt; /etc/installed.conf </pre> Restore:<br> <pre> sudo dpkg --set-selections &lt; /etc/installed.conf apt-get -u dselect-upgrade </pre> Should work.
This is a Linux/Unix command. I gave instructions on how to do it simply in windows. Your method would work better on a Linux system, but mine is the only for windows.
Not for Windows it won't. Those are Linux commands.

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Bio: I like woodworking, as well as just about anything that has to do with computers or electronic software/hardware. I also like bitcoins, a respected ... More »
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