Original post by: rab777hp ,
You don't really need to copy over applications, if you want to save your application data, either export data from that app, or copy the library folder. What you want to save are YOUR files, so all your precious and important photos, documents, etc. as matthewfrey says. As he says also, doing it through the finder is not the best option, I suggest you follow more along the bac's idea, cloning your drive with either of the free utilities he suggested. This will be the most complete backup and will ensure a quick and easy recovery for you from this calamity.