About a year ago, I had heard of a handy piece of software that will automatically analyze or scan your program files and put them in the right place, so that you don't have to spend days re-installing them. I saw this on linus tech tips. Anyone happen to know something like this?
i don't such all ever exists. There is no standard way to store so files and configuration - of you look closer, even different distros differ among themselves.
Some store their fillers as suborders of/etc, others use /opt, /var User preferences are often stored in the profile folder, but even there some use conduit folders for the GUI, while others go directly to the user.
I am not using hundred of apps, and I reinstall then from scratch, then move settings on case by case basis.
Well that sucks. I was hoping that something like that existed. Someone needs to get on that unless it's impossible with windows because, well, it's windows that we're talking about.
You've posted this in "Open source" forum, therefore I assumed you're talking about Linux. It is same unorganized stuff in Windows. That's the reason for "proliferation" of portable utilities which do not need installation.
In Windows, every program can store its files everywhere on the file system - Program Files, Program Data, Windows folders, user folders, shared folders, custom folders, you name it. Then settings can be stored in registry - per machine, per user, or somewhere else. Last but not least - many applications these days are locked to the computer they are installed on, so moving them would be extremely difficult.
This sounds somewhat like the Ninite installer, which will automatically download and install applications you select. I am not sure whether it can detect applications which are already installed, however.