Solved I need to reinstall Windows 7, without backing anything up.

May 27, 2012 at 16:48:08
Specs: Windows 7, 3.4ghz/4gb
I want to reinstall Windows 7 urgently, but I've got an awful lot of stuff on here (nearly 1tb of applications, games and files) that I'm currently unable to back-up and probably won't be able to for at least a week.

I've been reading up on the installation process and it does mention in some documentation that a folder called "windows.old" would be created containing the old system if I just installed over the top of the current one, however, is this just the contents of the current "C:/Windows/" directory or would it contain everything I've got on my C drive right now (the C:/Users, C:/Program Files & C:/Windows folders)?


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May 27, 2012 at 17:36:39
The windows.old is just the system.

If it is just that the Windows software is corrupted then one way to backup is to download a Live Linux CD such as Puppy Linux. You will have to use the "burn an image" feature on another computer to create the CD.

On the faulty computer ensure that the CD drive is ahead of the HD (in BIOS). Then put the CD in the drive and power-up. Linux will give access to your HD so unless it is faulty you can then drag your own files onto a flash drives.

Applications, including games, have to be re-installed because there are registry entries associated with them. They can't just be copied onto a re-installed system.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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May 27, 2012 at 17:59:41
System corruption may be the issue. All I know is it's malfunctioning and I can't be bothered to try any more fixes, I just want to start fresh. If however it won't let me archive the contents of C drive then I'm just going to have to wait that week or so until I can actually get storage media that'll be big enough to fit it all on there. I am aware the apps and (some of) the games will require re-installation, but the majority of the data is in the form of videos and music. Thanks for the help at any rate.

Trailing a bit here, but this is one area I really like about Apple's OS X installation software, it lets you "archive and install" which basically dumps the entire drive into a folder and installs a completely new system next to it as opposed to overwriting anything. Here's hoping Microsoft implement such a feature in future releases of Windows... It's actually rather handy in situations such as mine.

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May 27, 2012 at 18:15:32
✔ Best Answer
Ah, if the system is still working (I assumed it wasn't) then a neater way would be to purchase a USB HD. They are about the physical size of a mobile phone and not too expensive.

Even if the system isn't working then Puppy Linux will also see a USB HD if the computer hardware is OK.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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Related Solutions

May 27, 2012 at 19:03:38
Why wouldn't you just fix the problem?

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May 27, 2012 at 21:29:41
You can do a repair install of Windows 7 and NOT lose the data you've personally added, if you have a suitable Windows 7 DVD, or can borrow one.

Search the web for: repair install Windows 7

How to Do a Repair Install to Fix Windows 7

I did a similar procedure for Vista and it worked fine, it fixed the problems I was having.
HOWEVER, it took MUCH longer to run than a regular Setup - about three hours or more - and that was not for a huge partition (it was no more than 100 gb of data), at times I thought it had frozen, only the hard drive activity led showed me it was doing something, but eventually it completed fine.
Afterward, I looked on the web, and found that what I experienced is common for a repair install of Vista.
Similar probably applies for a Repair install of Windows 7.

TEST your hard drive with hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics BEFORE you run a repair install !

Seagate's Seatools will test (almost) any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.

The bootable Dos versions of SeaTools can be used even if Windows is not working properly.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, go ahead and try the Repair install of Windows 7.

They DO recommend you back up the data you do NOT want to lose BEFORE you run it, but I have run a repair install of XP many times without a problem.

In any case, you DO NOT NEED to copy or back up programs or games or music or videos etc. that you can easily install again. You only need to copy or back up files that can't be replaced if you lose them, or, for music, videos, etc., that would take a lot of time to copy again
ALL your personal files are saved by default in C:\Users\(your user name)\ the files and sub-folders of that folder, including personal files for programs you have installed yourself even if you installed the program on a partition with a different drive letter, unless you deliberately chose another partition drive letter to store them on, or you stored them in other non-default locations.
You DO NOT NEED to back up any files that came with Windows, and you need the installtion files for programs you installed yourself to install them properly. Copying what is in C:\Program Files is useless, except for keeping a record of what you installed. If you made your own custom folders on C that are not in C:\Users, you can copy those if you like.

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May 28, 2012 at 03:05:29
So to be on the safe side I may as well continue to wait until the end of the week when I can purchase a external drive and back up my data. I'm going to see if I can borrow a friend's laptop later so I don't have to be stuck with a malfunctioning OS for the week. Well anyway thanks guys for the help.

Incidentally, riider, as I alluded to in my previous post, I have tried to fix it. A lot. And failed. I've literally just given up with it.

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May 28, 2012 at 05:17:19
Once you make your back up and begin your install, delete the old partition and create a new partition and format it BUT do not make the partition the entire drive size. I would suggest making a 12GB to 200GB partition for Windows and your programs and after your install, use Disk Manager to partition the rest of the drive for your storage. This way you will have your files on a different partition and you would be able to either reinstall or reimage your C drive without effecting your storage drive in any way. I say to leave the creation of your other partition for Disk manager since I once created two partitions at the install but Windows was installed on the wrong partition even though I was careful. I had to shrink the C drive and add a third partition so C is actually the middle partition with Programs first and storage last (though Windows does not show this). I actually had to reinstall once (did not effect storage drive) so I created an image of the drive so I could reload it from the stored image which is much easier and faster (all preferences preserved, etc).

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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May 29, 2012 at 06:13:06
You never even described what's wrong - "System corruption may be the issue"?

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September 11, 2012 at 07:22:14
I didn't describe what's wrong, mostly because I wasn't asking for help to fix it.

Anyway I did eventually get a 2tb USB drive and just dumped what I wanted onto that then wiped the HDD clean and started fresh.

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September 11, 2012 at 07:36:03
Whatever, glad to hear it worked out and thx for letting us know.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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