Retrieve files from the Windows.old folder

Applies to: Windows 8.1

If you choose to “Keep nothing” when you upgrade to Windows 8.1, or if you reset, refresh, or reinstall Windows, your personal files are temporarily saved to the Windows.old folder for 28 days (unless you formatted your hard drive before installing). If you decide you want some or all of these files back, you can usually retrieve them from this folder.

To retrieve your files

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.) 
  2. Enter Computer in the search box, and then tap or click Computer in the search results.
  3. Double-tap or double-click the drive that Windows is installed on (typically, the C: drive).
  4. Double-tap or double-click the Windows.old folder.
  5. Double-tap or double-click the Users folder.
  6. Double-tap or double-click your user name.
  7. Open the folders that contain the files you want to retrieve.
  8. Copy and paste the files that you want from each folder to a folder in Windows 8.1.
  9. Repeat steps 5–7 for each user account on your PC.