Posted 02 August 2007 - 09:19 PM
If you're speaking of commercial programs, no you can't back them up. If you mean programs like AVG antivirus or other programs you may have downloaded, you can back up the original downloaded files to avoid having to download them again.
Using an imaging program to back up the hard drive is useless because you back up the bad along with the good. However, if you want to use an imaging program, you can do a fresh installation, install all your programs, and then image the hard drive.
What you need to back up are personal files, bookmarks and favorites, cookies if you need them. Some programs save files to their own folders and you'd need to find them. Basically, you back up what you don't want to lose. This includes data from address books. Such things can be exported to a file, then all your files can be copied to CD or DVD to re-use after the re-install. In addition, you can back up the two files necessary for Windows Activation and replace them after the re-install, so you don't have to re-activate, as long as you don't change hardware.
When you do a fresh install of XP, you must re-install all the programs because files are scattered though different parts of the hard drive, such as the registry and Program Files and so on.