Need help with backups

I know just about nothing when it comes to raid, backups etc. so pardon my stupidity.  I recently have given up on windows 8 so I made sure everything was backed up ( to my seagate backups plus) I had my program files and program files x86 backed up as well as documents pictures etc.  When I installed windows 7 the documents all were fine and so were the programs, but for some reason none of the programs are accessable through the start menu.  When I go through to the folder and open it then close it and open it again it was like I was never there.  It is like they aren't really installed on the computer the files are just there.  I was wondering if there was some diffrent way I need to back my programs up for next time.


Thanks for the help and time