How do I retrieve the names of the programs installed on my PC?

How to Recover Play from PC Formatting Programs
How to Recover Play from PC Formatting Programs

Sometimes, you may need to create a list of applications installed on your computer in order to install them on another PC or so that they can be reinstalled more easily after the system has been reset.

I have a habit of taking screenshots of my Control Panel or my Start menu for this purpose. But there is an easier way to do this job using built-in Windows functionality.

By following these steps, you will be able to generate a text file that contains all the programs installed on your Windows machine. For this task, we will be using the WMI console. WMI is a protocol that allows you to administer and control Windows using simple commands.

How to get the read of programs from your computer?

  • Open the command prompt (in Windows 8 and Seven, open it as administrator by right-clicking). To do this, go to All Programs> Accessories and right click on Command Prompt and select "Run as administrator".
  • In the command prompt, type WMIC and press Enter.
  • After a few seconds, a new "wmic: rootcli>" prompt will appear. Enter the command:
    /output:C:\ListApps.htm product get name, version

    and validate with [Enter]

The command then generates at the root of disk C: a text file containing the list of all the installed applications.
You can also change the output file name and drive letter if you want to change the output location.
application list

I tested this trick in Windows 7 (32-bit) and it works great, but it should also work on Windows 8 and XP without any issues.

However, there is a freeware called Belarc Advisor to do the same job. It creates a detailed list of the applications installed in your system, and displays the results in your web browser.