Archiving Software Properly

Note: This guide mostly applies to Windows applications.

When it comes to archiving software, it is important to test if it can work in a vacuum and see if it has any dependencies.

In general, the best way to do this is to import the software's files in a fresh virtual machine (VM), prevent your computer from accessing the internet and then try to run the application in the VM.

Many software write into the registry. In some case, simply copying the files of an application to another computer will be insufficient to archive it.

When such applications are encountered, the simplest way to archive the software is to preserve its setup file - providing it can install the application without internet access.

In some case, it may be possible to transplant registry keys, but this can have varying degree of success.

If a piece of software can run on a fresh virtual machine without access to the internet, this means that it is self-sufficient and can be safely archived.

If any dependencies are discovered (i.e something requiring Java), it is important to archive it alongside the target software verify if they can also exist in a vacuum.

Written by manpaint on 28 August 2022.