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Windows 7: Restoring Windows.old Folder After Win7 Reinstall


30 Sep 2012   #1

Windows Home Premium 64bit
 
 
Restoring Windows.old Folder After Win7 Reinstall

My cousin is borrowing her son's laptop, an Alienware M15X.

While her son was using the computer, he deleted various productivity programs (Word, etc.), because he's using it only for gaming.

My cousin was trying to get those programs back, and oops!, put in the wrong DVD...the Alienware Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit reinstall disc.

For whatever reason, she allowed the reinstall to go through, and now she has a new, blank desktop, and it's apparently missing video drivers (VGA display), networking drivers (no wireless networking) and who knows what else.

Her old stuff is still on the computer in the Windows.old folder.

I imagine her son's original setup is gone, but she'd at very least like to get back to regular video display (no drivers), working WiFi, and whatever programs she had before her son zapped them. (There is an Alienware "Resource Disc", would the factory programs be there?)

She'd also like her stuff in Windows.old back in a place she can use.

We saw articles about restoring Windows.old, but the DVD drive isn't autobooting. We manually booted the DVD and started the process, but the "Repair" option is missing. We're worried another reinstall A) will take us back to where we were and B) if it'd wipe out Windows.old.

Any help...or any point-to-the-right-direction...would very much be appreciated. I think I hit the wall on this one...


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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30 Sep 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

Here are the steps which need to be taken to get a perfect Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7. Note the steps for drivers which are delivered by optional Windows Updates or imported from your Dell model's Support Downloads webpage. Back up your files needed from the windows.old folder before overwriting C in a booted reinstall.

But since you have windows.old if this installation is satisfactorily performing then you can also in Device Manager browse from the devices needing drivers into the windows.old "windows/system32" folder to install up the missing drivers now. This will almost always work since the entire previous install is in Windows old and all drivers are somewhere in System 32. But if not you can run all of your Important and Optional Windows Updates after enabling Automatically get recommended drivers and updates for your hardware to see what drivers are installed, or import them from the Dell Downloads page for your model.

Then complete the additional steps using the tools and methods in the tutorial to get and keep a perfect reinstall.

There are procedures if you have irretrievable software which cannot be reinstalled to restore a Windows 7-based computer to a previous Windows installation by using the Windows.old folder however it is cumbersome and not nearly as beneficial as either salvaging this reinstall if it performs well, or reinstalling using the tutorial after backing up your files from windows.old.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #3

Windows Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Sounds like a plan...though I wouldn't be able to run Windows Update until I get the wireless working.

But finding things in Windows.old sounds like it'll work. I'll update next time I'm over there. Thank you!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Oct 2012   #4

7 x64
 
 

The only way it to have a boot disc of some type that has a file manager program included. With that you could Delete the Windows folder and ReName the Windows.Old folder to Windows. that should get you back uo and running from the original install.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

That's the general idea, but it is slightly more involved.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #6

7 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
That's the general idea, but it is slightly more involved.
Ok how is it more involved?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Do it your way and which users, program files,program data etc are still present ? - the newly installed ones.

It isn't too hard, you just move them from windows.old onto the root of the drive.

That's apart from the fact the Windows.old folder already contains a directory called Windows.

Even if you could rename it - still no go - the Windows directory needs to be on the root - not inside another folder.

Safest way is to make a new folder - called e.g. win.new or anything you like.

Move the newly installed Prog files,prog files (x86) prog data, users, windows into it.

Then move the corresponding ( previously installed ) ones from windows.old onto the root of the drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #8

7 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
Do it your way and which users, program files,program data etc are still present ? - the newly installed ones.

It isn't too hard, you just move them from windows.old onto the root of the drive

Sorry I don't understand. If the OLD install is from a working system with all User profiles and programs making that the Windows directory, Renaming it from Windows.old to Windows, would allow the computer to Restart using that directory just as it did before the OP accidentally did a second install.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

I hadn't finished the post - got distracted by real life - check it out again.

Your general idea is sound - should be able to do it with a boot disc - assuming it has a file manager. You could do it via command prompt from any winpe type media, but it's easier if you can see what you are doing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #10

7 x64
 
 

Never had to deal with this but IIRC Windows.old does not have a second folder called Windows in it. The original Windows folder is just renamed windows.old and has all subfolder included.

I may be wrong and I hope I never have to find out myself.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
Do it your way and which users, program files,program data etc are still present ? - the newly installed ones.

It isn't too hard, you just move them from windows.old onto the root of the drive.

That's apart from the fact the Windows.old folder already contains a directory called Windows.

Even if you could rename it - still no go - the Windows directory needs to be on the root - not inside another folder.

Safest way is to make a new folder - called e.g. win.new or anything you like.

Move Prog files,prog files (x86) prog data, users, windows into it.

Then move the corresponding ones from windows.old onto the root of the drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Restoring Windows.old Folder After Win7 Reinstall




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