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INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to restore personal files after you perform a custom installation of Windows Vista or of Windows 7.

In some scenarios, you may be unable to perform an upgrade from an earlier version of Windows. If you cannot upgrade, you may have to perform a custom installation. When you perform a custom installation of Windows Vista or of Windows 7, Windows creates a Windows.old folder that contains the files from your previous system. You may want to recover your personal files from the Windows.old folder, and move them to the custom installation of Windows.


To have us restore personal files for you, go to the "Fix it for me" section. If you prefer to restore personal files yourself, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section.

Fix it for me



To fix this problem automatically, click the Fix it button or link. In the File Download dialog box, click Run, and follow the steps in the Fix it Wizard.


Restore personal files
Microsoft Fix it 50582


Notes
  • The Windows.old folder that contains the files from your previous system should exist on the computer.
  • You may receive some error messages in the command prompt when you run the package. You can ignore the error messages.
  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
  • If you are not on the computer that has the problem, save the Fix it solution to a flash drive or a CD, and then run it on the computer that has the problem.

Then, go to the "Did this fix the problem?" section.



Let me fix it myself

If your previous operating system was Windows XP

To recover personal files from the Windows.old folder, locate the folders that contain the files. Then, move the files to the appropriate folders in the current installation of Windows.

Locate the personal files

After you install Windows Vista or Windows 7, move personal files from their former folders to the corresponding folders.

Important We recommend that you do not delete any files or folders until you verify that you have successfully moved all the personal files to the current installation of Windows.

The Windows.old folder

When you install Windows Vista or Windows 7, the Windows.old folder is created. The installation program creates this folder to store the files from the Windows XP installation. To locate the Windows.old folder in Windows Vista or in Windows 7, click Start
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Start button
, type drive:\windows.old (for example, c:\windows.old) in the Start Search box, and then click Windows.old in the Programs list.

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 User Account Control permission
If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or click Continue.
The Windows.old folder contains the following folders from the Windows XP installation:
  1. drive:\Windows.old\Windows
  2. drive:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings
  3. drive:\Windows.old\Program Files

The "Documents and Settings" folder

Most programs store a user's personal files in the "Documents and Settings" folder. Generally, you do not find personal files in the Windows folder or in the Program Files folder.

The "Documents and Settings" folder contains one folder for each user who logged on to the computer in Windows XP. For example, the following folders appear in the "drive:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings" folder:
  • drive:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings\Administrator

    If you did not use the Administrator account to log on to Windows XP, this folder may not contain any personal files.
  • drive:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings\All Users

    If you used the Shared Files feature in Windows XP, the shared files are located in the All Users folder. For example, this folder contains recorded television shows on computers that are running Windows Media Center Edition 2005. Open the folders in the All Users folder to locate any files you may want to preserve. Then, copy these files to a new location that is outside the Windows.old folder structure.
  • drive:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings\UserName

    Most personal files are located in folders that are labeled for each user who logged on to the computer in Windows XP.

User folders

Most personal files are located in the following location:
drive:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings\UserName
This folder contains the following three folders:
  • drive:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings\UserName\Cookies
  • drive:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings\UserName\Start Menu
  • drive:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings\UserName\UserData
Typically, these three folders do not contain important user data. The following three folders are also located in the "drive:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings\UserName" folder:
  • drive:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings\UserName\Desktop
  • drive:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings\UserName\Favorites
  • drive:\Windows.old\Documents and Settings\UserName\My Documents
Typically, these three folders contain most of the important personal files from the Windows XP installation.

Restore the personal files

To recover personal files from the Windows XP installation, follow these steps.

Step 1: Restore recorded television shows

By default, Windows Media Center 2005 saves recorded television shows in the Recorded TV folder. To recover these files, follow these steps:
  1. Locate the Windows.old folder, and then open the following folder:
    Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Recorded TV
    Note The path may also be the following:
    Documents and Settings\All Users\Shared Documents\Recorded TV
  2. Right-click Recorded TV, and then click Cut.
  3. Click Start
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    Start button
    , and then click the user name in the upper-right side of the Start menu.
  4. Right-click the Videos or the My Videos folder, and then click Paste.
Windows moves the recorded television show files to the Videos folder.

Step 2: Restore Internet Explorer favorites

To move the contents of the Favorites folder from the Windows XP installation to Windows Vista or to Windows 7, follow these steps:
  1. Locate the Windows.old folder, and then open the following folder:
    Documents and Settings\UserName\Favorites
  2. Press CTRL+A to select all the items in the Favorites folder. Then, press CTRL+X to move the items in the Favorites folder to the clipboard in Windows Vista.
  3. Click Start
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    Start button
    , and then click your user name in the upper-right side of the Start menu.
  4. Right-click Favorites, and then click Paste.
Windows moves the Internet Explorer Favorites files to the Favorites folder.

Step 3: Restore the Desktop folder

If you did not store any files or data on the Windows XP desktop, you can skip this step. You can open the Desktop folder in the Windows.old folder to verify that only shortcuts and no data files were located on the Windows XP desktop.

To restore the Desktop folder from the Windows XP installation, follow these steps:
  1. Locate the Windows.old folder, and then open the following folder:
    Documents and Settings\UserName
  2. Right-click Desktop, and then click Cut.
  3. Close all open windows.
  4. Right-click a blank area on the desktop, and then click Paste.
The Windows XP Desktop folder appears as an icon on your current desktop.

Step 4: Restore the My Documents folder

Typically, most personal files are stored in the My Documents folder in Windows XP. Although you can move this folder to any location in Windows, we recommend that you move it to the Documents folder. Then, you can more easily find these files in the current version of Windows.

To move the My Documents folder, follow these steps:
  1. Locate the Windows.old folder, and then open the following folder:
    Documents and Settings\UserName
  2. Right-click My Documents, and then click Cut.
  3. Click Start
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    Start button
    , and then click Documents.
  4. Right-click Documents, and then click Paste.
Windows copies the My Documents folder together with its contents to the current Documents folder.

Restore other users' files and folders

If other users logged on to the computer in Windows XP, follow the steps in the "Restore personal files" section to restore the other users' data. When you do this, you may want to log on to Windows Vista or Windows 7 as a separate user for each Windows XP user who has data on the computer. This may help keep each user's data separate in current installation of Windows.

Restore other files and folders from the Windows.old folder

After you restore all the personal folders from the Windows XP installation, examine the Windows.old folder to determine whether any other folders that contain personal data exist.

Important Make sure that all important data has moved before you delete the Windows.old folder.

If your previous operating system was Windows Vista

To recover personal files from the Windows.old folder, locate the folders that contain the files. Then, move the files to the appropriate folders in the current installation of Windows.

Locate the personal files

After you install Windows Vista or Windows 7, move personal files from their former folders to the corresponding folders.

Important We recommend that you do not delete any files or folders until you verify that you have successfully moved all the personal files to the current installation of Windows.

The Windows.old folder

When you perform a custom install of Windows Vista or of Windows 7, the Windows.old folder is created. The installation programs create this folder to store the files from the previous Windows XP, or Windows Vista installation.

To locate the Windows.old folder in Windows Vista or in Windows 7, click Start
Collapse this imageExpand this image
Start button
, type drive:\windows.old (for example, c:\windows.old) in the Start Search box, and then click Windows.old.
Collapse this imageExpand this image
 User Account Control permission
If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or click Continue.
The Windows.old folder contains the following folders from the Windows Vista installation:
  1. drive:\Windows.old\Windows
  2. drive:\Windows.old\Users
  3. drive:\Windows.old\Program Files

The "Users" folder

Most programs store a user's personal files in the "User" folder. Generally, you do not find personal files in the Windows folder or in the Program Files folder.

The "Users" folder contains one folder for each user who logged on to the computer in Windows Vista. For example, the following folders appear in the "drive:\Windows.old\Users" folder:
  • drive:\Windows.old\Users\Public

    If you used the Shared Files feature in Windows Vista, the shared files are located in the Public folder. For example, this folder contains recorded television shows on computers that are running Windows Media Center. Open the folders in the Public folder to locate any files that you may want to preserve. Then, copy these files to a new location that is outside the Windows.old folder structure.
  • drive:\Windows.old\Users\UserName

    Most personal files are located in folders that are labeled for each user who logged on to the computer in Windows Vista.
Individual User folders
Most personal files are located in the following location:
drive:\Windows.old\Users\UserName
This folder contains the following folders:
  • drive:\Windows.old\Users\UserName\Contacts
  • drive:\Windows.old\Users\UserName\Desktop
  • drive:\Windows.old\Users\UserName\Documents
  • drive:\Windows.old\Users\UserName\Downloads
  • drive:\Windows.old\Users\UserName\Favorites
  • drive:\Windows.old\Users\UserName\Links
  • drive:\Windows.old\Users\UserName\Music
  • drive:\Windows.old\Users\UserName\Pictures
  • drive:\Windows.old\Users\UserName\Saved Games
  • drive:\Windows.old\Users\UserName\Searches
  • drive:\Windows.old\Users\UserName\Videos
Typically, these folders contain most of the important personal files from the Windows installation.

Restore the personal files

To recover personal files from the previous Windows installation to Windows Vista or to Windows 7, follow these steps.

Step 1: Restore recorded television shows

By default, Windows Media saves recorded television shows in the Recorded TV folder. To recover these files, follow these steps:
  1. Locate the Windows.old folder, and then open the following folder:
    Users\Public\Recorded TV
  2. Right-click Recorded TV, and then click Cut.
  3. Click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    Start button
    , and then click the user name in the upper-right side of the Start menu.
  4. Right-click the Videos or the My Videos folder, and then click Paste.
Windows moves the recorded television show files to the Videos folder.

Step 2: Restore your personal files

To move your Personal files folders from the previous installation to Windows Vista, follow these steps:
  1. Locate the Windows.old folder, and then open the following folder:
    Users\UserName
  2. Press CTRL+A to select all the items in the folder. Then, press CTRL+X to move the items in the users folder to the clipboard in Windows Vista.
  3. Click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    Start button
    , and then click the user name in the upper-right side of the Start menu.
  4. Click Paste.
Windows moves the personal files folders to the Windows Vista user account.

To move your Personal files folders from the previous installation to Windows 7, follow these steps:
  1. Locate the Windows.old folder, and then open the following folder:
    Users\UserName
  2. Right-Click the Documents folder, and then click Rename. Rename the folder to My Documents.
  3. Right-Click the Music folder, and then click Rename. Rename the folder to My Music.
  4. Right-Click the Pictures folder, and then click Rename. Rename the folder to My Pictures.
  5. Press and hold CTRL, and click to select all the folders in the user folder. Then, press CTRL+X to move the items in the users folder to the clipboard in Windows 7.
  6. Click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    Start button
    , and then click the user name in the upper-right side of the Start menu.
  7. Click Paste.
Windows moves the personal files folders to the Windows 7 user account.

Restore other users' files and folders

If other users logged on to the computer in Windows Vista, follow the steps in the "Restore personal files" section to restore the other users' data. When you do this, you may want to log on to Windows Vista or Windows 7 as a separate user for each Windows Vista user who has data on the computer. This may help keep each user's data separate in current installation of Windows.

Restore other files and folders from the Windows.old folder

After you restore all the personal folders from the Windows Vista installation, examine the Windows.old folder to determine whether any other folders that contain personal data exist.

Important Make sure that all important data has moved before you delete the Windows.old folder.

Did this fix the problem?

  • Check whether the problem is fixed. If the problem is fixed, you are finished with this section. If the problem is not fixed, you can contact support.
  • We would appreciate your feedback. To provide feedback or to report any issues with this solution, please leave a comment on the "Fix it for me" blog or send us an email message.

Properties

Article ID: 932912 - Last Review: June 21, 2014 - Revision: 3.0
Applies to
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Starter
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
Keywords: 
kbhowto kbinfo kbexpertisebeginner kbfixme kbmsifixme KB932912

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