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Windows.old -- In over my head! Reinstall?


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#1 dawnzig

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 05:43 PM

:lmao: What started out as a 'simple' malware removal on a friend's netbook has turned into a giant mess due to my apparent lack of understanding of the W7 os....

 

I'd never seen or noticed the windows.old folder (or knew it was relevant in any way) until today, after using the analyze option in CCleaner and seeing the main/important program files (that weren't currently running) listed in the report.

 

it appears that someone did some kind of custom reinstall or update about a year ago (when it originally started having problems), leaving all the original programs and drivers, etc., in that .old folder and no longer running in the current installation...no a/v, nothing!

 

As well, there are at least a few deep-rooted infections (Win32.downloader.Gen, among them) that I haven't been able to conquer yet.

 

Would a clean install or repair reinstall help? How do I get her old programs to run? Have I posted this in the correct topic even?? I'm stuck! :smash:

Thanks in advance for any guidance~

dawnzig



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#2 dls62

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 06:36 PM

Whenever you do an inplace upgrade of an operating system, the Windows files from the previous installation are not deleted but placed in the Windows.old folder so that any necessary files can be recovered after the upgrade.

 

The Windows.old folder can be deleted if no longer required.

 

Ensure that you have installed a good antivirus product and perform a full scan of the system - Avast Free is one option.

 

Also install Malwarebytes Free and run a full scan.



#3 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 07:08 PM

As I understand it, the 'windows.old' folder is a built in safety net which hoovers up all your files and folders into one place when you do certain types of install or upgrade - for example, from Vista to Win 7. Quite why it works the way it does I don't understand. Possibly it was easier for the writers to make it gather up everything, or it may be a conscious decision on their part that if you gather up everytning, then nothing can get lost. It does mean that for someone who has not done a back-up first, they don't actually lose any data.

 

The problem is that although, for example, if there is an MS Office folder in 'windows.old', you can't just move it into 'Program files and expect it to work. It won't. ALL applications that you had on the system and that you want again have to be re-installed. However, you can just move your data - documents, music, photos, what ever - to wherever you want to put them.

 

Once you have re-installed your applications and moved your data to appropriate locations, then you can delete the 'windows.old' folder and free up a fair piece of hard drive.

 

Follow dis62's advice on security, and if you still can't clean this computer, then you should consider posting in the 'Am I infected' section of BC

 

Chris Cosgrove



#4 dawnzig

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 08:50 PM

...The problem is that although, for example, if there is an MS Office folder in 'windows.old', you can't just move it into 'Program files and expect it to work. It won't. ALL applications that you had on the system and that you want again have to be re-installed. ...

 

O..M..G.. that's terrible news! That .old folder has EVERYTHING in it: every single system driver (sound, cam, function keys, etc), all the Dell support files, and Norton (not that I care much about that a/v, but I think she has/had a paid subscription). 

 

From what I'd researched, I figured that was the case... that's why I'm wondering if reinstalling altogether (from the Dell recovery discs?) might be a better option than futzing with all this on top of infections. Any idea if a reformat is a good course in this instance? Or, what?

 

I really appreciate both of your responses and help~

Kindly,

dawnzig



#5 hamluis

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 10:05 AM

No one can tell you whether you should format/clean install or not...that's a judgement call you have to make.  You can either try to get the system cleaned here at BC...or you can take the expedient route and do a clean install, assuming that you have the capability and desire to do so.

 

As for the relevancy of anything in the .old folder...if the system is running Windows now, drivers should be properly installed.  If they are not, they should be available at the website of the system or system compnent manufacturers.

 

IMO...since you mention "recovery disks"...you need to ensure that you have such disks for that system...and the possibility that any restore/recovery partition that may be be required...has been possibly damaged or removed via previous efforts...before even considering the restore to factory defaults.

 

Louis



#6 dawnzig

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 12:54 PM

hamluis, on 12 Feb 2014 - 10:05 AM, said:

...or you can take the expedient route and do a clean install, assuming that you have the capability and desire to do so.

 

 

 True! and, probably not, on both counts lol

 

 

if the system is running Windows now, drivers should be properly installed. 

 

Most are not installed, sigh...

 

 

 

IMO...since you mention "recovery disks"...you need to ensure that you have such disks for that system...and the possibility that any restore/recovery partition that may be be required...has been possibly damaged or removed via previous efforts...before even considering the restore to factory defaults. 

 

Very good points, Louis, thanks. I guess I'll go the cleaning route first.

 

Thanks everyone for your help!

Kindly,

dawnzig






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