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You probably have several dozen pieces of software installed on your computer. Aside from tools you use every day like your web browser, it’s easy to forget about programs you don’t use often. This can cause problems whenever you’re resetting your computer or buying a new machine, as you won’t remember which software you need to reinstall.
Thankfully, Windows makes it easy to generate a list of all the software you have installed. It’s made possible by PowerShell, but don’t be scared if you’ve never used it before: you only need a few easy commands.
Go ahead and open up a PowerShell window by typing Powershell into the Start Menu. Once there, paste in this line to generate a list of all your software, including its publisher and the date you installed it:
Get-ItemProperty HKLM:\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\* | Select-Object DisplayName, DisplayVersion, Publisher, InstallDate | Format-Table –AutoSize
Of course, this list alone doesn’t do you much good. To send this information to a text file, append the line below, changing the file path to your username:
Altogether, using the command below (make sure you change USERNAME to your own Windows username) will generate a list of your installed software and export it to a file on your desktop called InstalledProgramsList.txt:
Get-ItemProperty HKLM:\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\* | Select-Object DisplayName, DisplayVersion, Publisher, InstallDate | Format-Table –AutoSize > C:\Users\USERNAME\Desktop\InstalledProgramsList.txt
To easily find out the different software you have installed on different systems, run this command on two machines and paste the resulting text into a text comparison website.
(thank you list of installed programs that tells me I installed google chrome on 2 December 2011)
— Hannah ? (@hvn42) December 3, 2016
Once you’re done, don’t forget to save this file to a flash drive, cloud storage, or other external media for safekeeping. If you wipe your computer, you’ll erase this file along with it!
Interested in what PowerShell can do as opposed to the Command Prompt? Have a look at their differences.
Do you find it useful to keep a list of installed software? Let us know if you’ll use this command soon down in the comments!
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