Windows.old folder - Restore into a new installation

ByLine
How to Restore your Windows.old Folder into a New Installation
Synopsis
This tutorial explains how to restore files and settings from the windows.old folder after a new installation over an old one.
How to Restore your Windows.old Folder into a New Installation

information   Information
When you install Windows on top of another Windows or do a upgrade install, the previously installed Windows files and settings will be backed up to the Windows.old folder. This tutorial will show you how to restore the files and folders from the windows.old folder to the currently installed Windows.

This means that any documents, settings, and programs will be restored to their previous positions and settings.
It will look similar to your previous installation, but not exactly the same! There will be some differences!

YES, this works in Vista, as well as Windows Seven. The instructions are EXACTLY the same!

warning   Warning
Make sure you:
  • Know how to boot from a CD/DVD.
  • Know how to install Windows from a DVD, over an existing installation.
Make sure that the free space on the drive you are restoring to has enough free space for the windows.old folder.

This does NOT work perfectly!!!
When I used this, I still encountered some errors, such as TWO Program Files folders, and missing icon pictures.

This is NOT a recommended way to do a restore! It will work, but you should back up your data and take the time to either create a restore image, or reinstall your files.

It WILL work just fine for files such as those in your Documents folder.




Setup:
1) Make sure that you want to do a new installation. If you are, then boot into the Install Disk and complete the installation.


2) Now you want to restore some of your old files? OK, read on!

Let's begin:


1) Insert your Installation disk into your DVD drive, and reboot. Make sure you can boot from the DVD.

2) Press any key to boot from CD when the option appears.

3) At this point, you have already done a clean install over your existing installation.

4) Select "Repair Your Computer" from the installation menu (see screen shot below).
5) Select your Windows installation you want to restore to.

6) Select Command Prompt. This will bring up the command prompt window.

warning   Warning
This starts getting complicated, and if you do something incorrectly, it could cause problems. Make sure you have your windows.old folder backed up, as well as your current installation (if needed).

Type each command EXACTLY as it is written! If you misspell what is in the code box, you will misspell the folder, possibly causing problems or errors!

Note   Note
When you type one or more of the commands at the command prompt in the following steps in this section, and you then press ENTER, you may receive the following message:
The system cannot find the file specified.
If you receive this message, go to the next step in this section, and then type the command in that next step.


7) Type the following commands in, one at a time. Press ENTER at the end of each line. This will rename the windows.old folders, in preparation of being moved.
Code:
c:
Code:
ren Windows Windows.Vista
Code:
ren "Program Files" "Program Files.Vista"
Code:
ren "Users" "Users.Vista"
Code:
ren "Documents and Settings" "Documents and Settings.Vista"
8) Now we will move the folders over the new ones, restoring your old settings and files. Again, type the commands in one at a time, pressing ENTER at the end of each. If you are using a drive other than c: for your windows installation, replace c: with that drive letter!
Code:
move /y c:\windows.old\windows c:\
Code:
move /y "c:\windows.old\program files" c:\
8a) When the previous Windows installation was Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Windows XP, or Microsoft Windows 2000:
Code:
move /y "c:\windows.old\documents and settings" c:\
8b) When the previous Windows installation was a different version of Windows Vista or Windows Seven:
Code:
move /y c:\windows.old\users c:\
9) Now we need to restore the boot sector of the previous installation.NOTE: D: represents the DVD drive in the following commands. If the DVD drive on the computer is represented by a different letter, such as E:, use that letter in the command.
When the previous Windows installation was Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Windows XP, or Microsoft Windows 2000
Code:
D:\boot\bootsect /nt52 c:
When the previous Windows installation was a different version of Windows Vista
Code:
D:\boot\bootsect /nt60 c:
10) Restore the Boot.ini file for the previous Windows Installation of Windows XP or Windows 2000
Note
: Only follow these steps when the previous installation is Windows XP or Windows 2000.
Code:
c:
Code:
attrib boot.ini.saved -s -h -r
Code:
ren"boot.ini.saved""boot.ini"
Code:
attrib boot.ini +s +h +r
11) Exit Command Prompt by typing:
Code:
exit
Then restart your computer.

Your Windows installation will start as normal, with the newly restored files and settings.
warning   Warning
This does NOT work perfectly!!!
When I used this, I still encountered some errors, such as TWO Program Files folders, and missing icon pictures.

This is NOT a recommended way to do a restore! It will work, but you should back up your data and take the time to either create a restore image, or reinstall your files.

It WILL work just fine for files such as those in your Documents folder.


For anyone that wishes to use it, I hope it works for you.
I hope this tutorial will help many a person, and provide a solution.

~Lordbob



 
Last edited by a moderator:

Comments

Hello Damastah,

I have updated the information box at the top of the tutorial for this for you. :)

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
wow thats long. ok
can you define windows.old for me?
Hello Damastah,

I have updated the information box at the top of the tutorial for this for you. :)

Hope this helps,
Shawn
Hey, why didn't you tell me!!?!?!?! :mad:

LOL, no just kidding Shawn, don't worry about it. ;)

Sorry I forgot to put that in. I sort of expected anyone that used this to know about it. :o

~Lordbob
 
Hello,
I had windows 7 installed and went back to windows Vista, folowing all the steps in this topic, but it doesnt seem to be working properly, looks like some drivers are missing. And i had recovery partition on my pc, where i could reinstall my pc to factory settings, now i cant do that.
Is there something i did wrong or it has to be like that?

Thank you
 
When you port over files and settings, things like programs, drivers, and anything installed will have to be reinstalled.

This is on purpose, and will rarely work. They need to be reinstalled because they add things to the registry that this restore WILL NOT bring over. The Vista registry is different from Sevens, and the program needs those registry files.
Drivers especially fall into this category.

Did your computer come pre-installed with Vista or Seven? If it was Seven, then you cannot restore from Vista, you will need to reinstall Seven first. If you did have Vista pre-installed then you will should try booting into the Vista install CD and restoring with that partition.

~Lordbob
 
if I have my windows.old folder on an separate hard drive in which steps do I need to change the c: to the letter of the other hard drive?
 
never mind I figured out my last question. but I do have a new one. when I get to the part where I'm supposed to move the files I typed the first command (compensating for my external HD of course) but it tells me "Access is denied" how do I get it to move it?
 
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