Solved Lost contents of windows.old folder after Windows 8.1 Update

Hewlett-packard / S3300f
January 3, 2014 at 10:27:16
Specs: Windows 8.1, Dual Core 1.8ghz
Hello all, Hopefully I can explain this thoroughly. I will try to make it easy without making it long and boring!

I have files (pics/music/documents, etc...) from the last 12 years that I have been backing up and moving from machine to machine as the years go on. I backed that stuff up to my external drive 1/1/13 to install Windows 8 Pro over Windows 7. After the install I noticed it took ALL my documents and stuck it in C:\windows.old - COOL! I didn't even have to hook my external back up and send the stuff back to my PC as it was already there! I left everything in there and mainly worked out of the windows.old folder (only adding a few thousand picures form my cell phone backups.) So one year went by, and the other day on 1/1/14 I decided to download the 8.1 update. 2gb file took a while to download and install. I didn't think to back anything up because it was an update, and not a full install. Well, after it finished, I went into my Windows.old folder and everything was GONE!! The folder was there, with a 1/1/14 date, but all my stuff was not!! Weird thing is, is that it didn't t put the other documents/downloads that accumulated in their main folders into windows.old, it just left them where they belong. I'm not really concerned about that stuff though. I really want the stuff that USED to be in window.old back. I DO have the backup from 1/1/13 on my external which it a majority of the stuff, minus the cell phone pictures, which are important to me. I searched all through the folders, even through DOS mode and can't find them. Is there any way to revert the 8.1 update and have my stuff back? Is it hiding somewhere?? I tried using "Recuva" with not much luck. Any other help would be greatly appreciated!!

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January 3, 2014 at 11:15:12
When you update from Win 8 to Win 8.1 it keeps a Windows.old folder (your previous Win 8 stuff). Most likely it overwrote the one you originally had. Note that the current Windows.old folder will be automatically removed within a few days.

You cannot revert back to Windows 8 without re-installing it from scratch. You won't get your old stuff back that way.

Always keep your backups updated seperately, you can't rely on what happens to be stored in Windows. When you had your previous Windows.old folder you missed your chance of backing up from it onto another drive.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

message edited by Derek

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January 3, 2014 at 11:39:23
Derek, thanks for your reply!

How come the contents of my first windows.old folder never went away after installing windows 8 or is that new with 8.1.

I am going to try undeleting again. There is an option in Recuva to search for just pictures so I will try that. Do you have any recommendations for undelete software? I do understand that the longer I wait and the more I write to the computer, the less chance of recovering files.

Thanks again.

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January 3, 2014 at 11:56:14
✔ Best Answer
Yes, the Windows.old eventual deletion is peculiar to Win 8.1 updates. Your old Win 8 restore point vanish too. Of-course if there is anything of interest in Windows.old you could always copy it to the desktop and rename it to OldWindows - that ought to stay.

There is "iobit uninstaller" but I can't vouch for it personally.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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January 3, 2014 at 12:11:03
See #3 above.

I meant to ask if this is a 64 bit computer (sorry, I haven't checked)?

If so, apparently the free version of Recuva is unsuitable. It was because of this another helper recommended IObit Uninstaller

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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