windows create list of installed programs

How to create a list of installed programs on Windows 10 or 11

In recent years, a large hard drive or SSD has become the default option on Windows machines. There is usually at least 128GB built into laptops, but this can go well beyond 2TB if you’re willing to pay more. It is easier on desktop computers, where the end user can upgrade the storage capacity.

This is great, because it means you’re less likely to run out of space. As you will realize, a device approaching full capacity will be much slower and more sluggish than before.

But all that extra space means that it’s hard to keep track of everything installed on your computer. Clearing File Explorer is always something worth doing, but that also includes programs and apps you’ve downloaded.

In the settings you will find a list of everything that is installed, but this is useless if you plan to completely reinstall the operating system. Instead of worrying about trying to remember everything, there is a much easier solution.

With one simple command, Windows can produce a text file containing all the programs you have installed. This can then be shared with another device, ensuring that nothing important is forgotten.

The method below works for all modern versions of Windows, including Windows 10 and Windows 11.

How to create a list of everything you have installed on Windows 10 or 11

This tutorial uses the Windows PowerShell tool that is pre-installed on all devices. It can be used to make permanent changes to your device, but following these steps carefully will avoid any harm. If you plan to reinstall the operating system soon, don’t worry:

  1. Click the search bar next to the start menu and type “powershell”

  2. Click on Windows PowerShell to open it and a window will appear ready for you
  3. Copy and paste the following command exactly as you see below, then hit Enter:
    Get-ItemProperty HKLM:\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\* | Specify object display name, DisplayVersion, publisher, installation date | Table Format – Auto Size
  4. Windows list of installed programs
  5. The PowerShell window will now display every program you’ve installed, along with the version, developer name, and when it was first downloaded.
    Windows list of installed programs

The final stage involves exporting to a text file. Scroll to the bottom of the list until you see “PS C:\” followed by your username (“anyro” in the example below)

  1. To the right of the > icon, copy and paste the following:
    Get-ItemProperty HKLM:\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\* | Specify object display name, DisplayVersion, publisher, installation date | Table Format – Auto Size> C:\Users\anyro\Documents\InstalledPrograms.txt
    Just be sure to replace the file path and document name (italic above) with your own details
    Windows list of installed programs

Go to the selected area of ​​File Explorer and it should now be there. It will open in the Notepad app by default, but you can share it just like any other file.

Windows list of installed programs

If you make a copy of the file before and after you reinstall Windows on some machines, there is a way to compare the two side by side:

  1. Open Windows PowerShell again
  2. Copy and paste the following command, replacing the information in the file paths (slashes below) with where your selected files are located and what they are called:
    compare object – reference – object (Get-content C:\Users\anyro\Documents\InstalledPrograms.txt) -DifferenceObject (Get-Content C:\Users\anyro\Documents\InstalledPrograms2.txt)
    Windows list of installed programs

  3. Press Enter and you will see a list of both, displayed next to each other. In the ‘side cursor’ column, => means it is pinned to the second column but not the first and vice versa for <=. The = sign is displayed if it is attached to both

This doesn’t work on all devices, but it’s a useful way to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

If you prefer not to execute commands in Windows PowerShell, there is another way.. Just download the free version of CCleaner and set it up. From the main screen, choose Tools, then make sure the Uninstall tab is selected. From there, simply click “Save to text file…” from the bottom right corner.

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