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Windows 7: Reinstalling Windows 7 Avoiding Windows.old Folder

18 Dec 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
Reinstalling Windows 7 Avoiding Windows.old Folder

Hello, I have a Dell laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium and 3 partitions:

39 MB - OEM
451 GB - OS (C: )

I tried reinstalling the OS with the CD that came with the computer but it created a Windows.old folder that I can't delete (already tried safe mode and RD /S /Q command plus Disk Cleanup, didn't work) and also the computer keeps hanging for minutes at a time every now and then, so I think I should reinstall the OS again and avoid the windows.old folder but I don't know how to. When it asks me where I want to install the OS it gives me the option to Delete or Format a partition, which one should I choose? I don't want to remove any partition, I want to leave everything as it is but delete every file before installing so it doesn't backup anything.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Windows.old is the file you get after reinstalling over the existing OS, for example if I reinstalled 3 times I would get windows.old, windows.old001, and windows.old002, But instead have all four windows.old if I didn't delete them.

Download this and Run it:
Take Ownership Shortcut

Right click on Windows.old and click Take Ownership.

Now delete it if not, my favourite tool for deleting tough files is Unlocker :
Download Unlocker 1.9.1 -

Download and run it, and then browse the file you want and delete it using Unlocker.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2011   #3

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit

Hello Os0o,

If I remember correctly, you can just delete the windows.old file off your computer without problem if you wanted. Here is a Microsoft "How-to":

I don't know why you are getting the slowdowns though.

If you are interested in completely reinstalling still, try this method: Clean Install Windows 7

What kind of CD is it? Is it the complete OS or just a dell restore type CD?

PS, cute smiley face ":)"
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Os0o View Post
OS (C:)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Dec 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

I had already tried every option given in the thread posted by theog, the elevated command prompt actually kind of worked, but it failed to delete one folder (C:\Windows.old\Windows\assembly\GAC_MSIL). Command prompt at boot also failed and Disk Cleanup didn't give me the option to delete old installations. Haven't tried Unlocker though, may give it a try but I'm still having the slowdowns issue and I believe it has something to do with the whole backup process made during the installation leaving old files and inconsistent ownerships.

I think I will try the clean reinstall since I haven't really installed much and I had already backed up my files (didn't lose them since they were backed up to Windows.old). I'm not sure what kind of CD I have though, it is from Dell and it says it is for reinstalling the OS but it certainly doesn't do a factory restore since none of Dell's software was installed after it finished. I just wanted to make sure that formatting my OS partition (as the tutorial posted by DustSalior says) won't affect the other two partitions and will prevent the installation setup from backing up anything to Windows.old.

PS, fixed the smiley face :P
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Unlocker should be able to let you delete that, but it will probably not fix the slowdown issues, was the System working fast before Reinstalling?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2011   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Well it wasn't precisely fast but it didn't have these weird slowdowns. Sometimes my whole laptop hangs but I can still move the cursor and click around, and after a few minutes it responds again and opens everything I clicked. Other times it just takes a lot of time to open anything (Explorer, Browser, etc.) but I can still use anything that was previously opened.

I don't know if this has anything to do with the problem but I see quite a few errors in event viewer regarding "atapi" which say something about a driver error in \Device\Ide\IdePort0
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2011   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Was your computer shipped with a Drivers & Utilites Disk, if so install all the drivers from that disk.

If not, please fill in the System Specs by going to your User CP (Control Panel) and click Edit System Specs: this will help us determine what drivers you will need.

To find out your System Specs:
System Info - See Your System Specs

or download Speccy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2011   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

I installed unlocker but I couldn't even open it, I reinstalled it and activated the Send To shortcut but it still didn't do anything.

I do have my Drivers Disk and I already installed every driver including one Matrix Storage thing but apparently it didn't help much.

Thanks for the advice though. Could anyone confirm that formatting my partition is safe and will delete everything before reinstalling?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2011   #10

Window's 7 Ultimate 64bit

%SystemRoot%\System32\Cmd.exe /c Cleanmgr /sageset:65535 & Cleanmgr /sagerun:65535

Open run, then open an admin CMD window and copy and paste this in window and I believe it does a disc cleanup of windows old not sure haven't had a windows old folder show up in a long time
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Reinstalling Windows 7 Avoiding Windows.old Folder

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