Installing over corrupted Windows 7 Starter, can I trust Windows.old to be created?

Hello. I don't have a hard drive large enough to backup the data on my daughter's netbook with a corrupted W7 starter install. When I attempt to re-install W7 starter, it does tell me that if it detects a previous Windows install, it will move the files over into a Windows.old folder. I'm familiar with the process, but can I really trust that the installation won't just format and install over my previous files? Does it mostly find your old install and move it with little fail rate?

Looking at the drive through a liveCD, I can see all my files are indeed still there. Although I will have to delete some files to make room for a new install since I apparently don't have enough room for it. Would it be safe to delete everything in my Programs folder (I don't mind losing this)? Or would that make the Windows installer unable to recognize my previous install?


Essential Member
Hello and welcome to :)

From my experience (I always chose the windows.old route to avoid backing up), it's fail proof. I have had instances where there was several failed installations and each one created ANOTHER windows.old.00x folder on my drive. The process is simply taking the existing contents from an installation and putting it in said folder, there's nothing that could possibly go wrong. If the files are visible through Live CD, they will be moved to the folder and available. No sweat.

Hope this helps.

And, just to verify, deleting the programs folder to save space won't hinder the installation from making a Windows.old since it's not even looking at the files for verification, just moving them, correct?


Essential Member
I would imagine. Although you may have some difficulty deleting it unless you use the Live CD

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