RTM fresh install won't let me delete Windows.old

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Installation' started by JuanTLlibre, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. JuanTLlibre

    JuanTLlibre New Member

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    I installed RTM (x86), and did a "fresh install".

    When setup was done, I went to delete Windows.old and Windows.000.

    Windows.000 deleted OK.
    Windows.old ( which has /Windows and /Program Files directories in it ) won't delete.

    The OS keeps telling me I need "Trusted Installer" permission to do that.

    BIG problem...since there's about 8 GB (almost 50,000 files ) clogging up the hard drive.

    I tried changing the permissions on the directories (they are read-only) but the system won't let me.

    I tried formatting the drive from another installation, but it refuses to format the partition.
    Apparently, I'm stuck in a limbo in which I am left powerless.

    Why can't setup accept the instruction to do a clean install
    without saving a bunch of old garbage to windows.old ?

    Why isn't that option (clean install, full-format and don't save anything) available to the user when setup runs ?

    What do I have to do to recover the 8GB space which I have lost ?
     
  2. textureDnB

    textureDnB New Member

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    It should be an option to clean install did you boot from CD or run setup from inside Windows?
    If you search on this board "clean install with upgrade media" without the quotes and do a little digging you will find detailed instructions on how to perform it.
     
  3. JuanTLlibre

    JuanTLlibre New Member

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    I created a USB boot disk, per the instructions on this board.
    That setup shouldn't differ from a "boot from CD", right ?

    No need to do that, right ?
    Is setup from a USB boot disk any different than regular setup from a CD ?

    In any case, whatever happened, happened.
    Windows 7 RTM runs fine, it's just that I have 8GB locked up by the OS.

    What can I do to recuperate that space, short of installing Windows 7 again and
    repeating the process with little hope of success, given that windows.old will always be created?

    Notice that the option to do a "clean install" will *always* create window.old.

    Windows 7 Development Team : there should be a user option during setup to not create the windows.old "backup".
     
    #3 JuanTLlibre, Aug 13, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  4. textureDnB

    textureDnB New Member

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    Windows.old should only be created during an upgrade install. Perhaps there was some mistake is this technet download of the RTM/GA or a leaked supposed RTM from a torrent site?Because with a format and clean install these folders should not be created.
    You can delete these folders but you first have to change the permissions to allow your user full control and often if you have trouble changing permissions you have to take ownership of the files. (all from the security tab in the folder properties)
     
  5. JuanTLlibre

    JuanTLlibre New Member

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    This is an authorized RTM from Connect. I participated in the Beta.
    I also have an RTM downloaded from MSDN. Those two are identical.

    Well, they are. What can I say ?

    I can't, as explained.

    It won't let me change any permissions.

    I haven't tried that. I'll try it and see what happens.
    I'll let you know if it worked in a little while.
     
  6. JuanTLlibre

    JuanTLlibre New Member

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    That didn't work...

    Logged in as MachineName\MyAccountName,
    I took over ownership of the windows.old folder.

    No problem.

    I logged off and logged in again as MachineName\MyAccountName,
    which is the Administrator of this box.

    Then, tried to delete windows.old.

    Surprise !

    The OS tells me that I need to get permission from MachineName\MyAccountName
    in order to be able to delete that directory ( never mind that MachineName\MyAccountName
    is now the owner of the directory and the files in it, and never mind that MachineName\MyAccountName
    is the Administrator for the box ).

    There are no other user accounts on the box.

    This is looking like a bona-fide BUG !
     
  7. textureDnB

    textureDnB New Member

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    There is a more effective command that needs to be run from an elevated prompt i don't remember it, though i'm sure google would turn it up just make sure to run it from an elevated command prompt.

    It's mildly frightening to me that there are a couple of similar posts up like this since the RTM was released to technet subscribers and invited beta testers , Makes me wonder if they have changed something about the upgrade media or process.[​IMG]
     
  8. Radenight

    Radenight New Member

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    If you have the windows.old folder then you didn't do a "fresh install".. ;) If you had done a clean install that folder wouldn't exist.. ;)
     
  9. textureDnB

    textureDnB New Member

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    Very true Radenight but I can count for sure two of these (today) since RTM release to Beta testers and i know there were more i just can't confirm them without heavy digging. Either something weird is going on or we are experiencing an epidemic of people mistaking a clean install for an upgrade in place (highly possible as well now that i put it into words.).
     
  10. JuanTLlibre

    JuanTLlibre New Member

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    I wish that were true and that you were correct instead of mistaken.
    Unfortunately, I *did* select "Custom" (clean) install when setup started.

    I just tested again, selecting "Custom" install.
    I just got a dialogue which states, in very clear terms :

    <quote>
    The partition you have selected might contain files from a previous Windows installation.
    If it does, these files and folders will be moved to a folder named windows.old.
    You will be able to access the information in Windows.old, but you will not
    be able to use your previous version of Windows.
    <quote>

    So much for your impression that a "clean" install to a partition
    which houses a previous version of Windows will not get saddled
    with the windows.old directory which, to boot, is unerasable.

    During the Beta period, I tested reinstalls to already-installed partitions.
    There was no problem deleting the windows.old directory then.

    I will be filing a bug at Connect's Windows 7 Beta
    feedback program regarding this permissions problem.

    In any case, I'm trying to fix the permissions problem, given that I've found no way to delete windows.old.
    Any ideas about how to go about that ?
     
    #10 JuanTLlibre, Aug 13, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  11. thepantz

    thepantz New Member

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    had the same problem

    Try this
    In windows.old folder
    Properties> Advanced> Change Permissions> select user, edit> select Full Control, apply

    hope this helps
     
  12. RAK

    RAK Extraordinary Member

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    Unzip and run the attached file. The "Take ownership.reg "will create a right click option. Right click the windows.old directory and, of course, take ownership. You should then be able to delete the folder.
     
    #12 RAK, Aug 14, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  13. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    You will still have old folders if you did not format the drive during the clean install... you must delete the parttion or re-format the drive. I suggest just deleting all the partitions on the disk during the clean install. It is still picking up old files on the filesystem and moving them, even though it is indeed a clean install. This is known behavior and done intentionally for people who don't have extra storage to backup their stuff per se.
     
  14. JuanTLlibre

    JuanTLlibre New Member

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    Solution to : Why is being a file's owner not enough permissions to delete it?

    I was finally able to delete the files and directories in windows.old
    through a very laborious manual process which included the use of
    both takeown.exe and icacls.exe plus a lot of directory switching
    and running of batch commands to remove the read-only flag from all files.

    One of the main problems for completing the manual workaround is the
    sheer size of the task, which included over 50,000 files and over 7,000 directories.

    I sweated meatballs doing this last night. This should be easier.

    My main questions for the Windows 7 developers are :

    1. Why isn't there an option to format an existing partition
    with an active Windows installation when running setup ?

    That would have prevented the buggy behavior involved
    with not being able to delete windows.old and its files.

    2. Why doesn't setup assume ownership and change the ACLs
    of the files and directories in windows.old, if there's no format option ?

    That would have prevented the buggy behavior involved
    with not being able to delete windows.old and its files.

    3. Why doesn't being a file's owner include enough permissions to delete it?

    This was truly surprising.
    I expected to be able to delete a file I had taken ownership over.

    You can't.

    *First* you have to change the current ACE permissions on the file in order to allow its deletion.
    After that is done, and after ownership is taken, *then* the file can be deleted.

    This should be easier.

    "Taking ownership" should mean just that : you *own* the file, and that "ownership"
    should allow the owner do whatever it needs to with the file...including deleting it.

    I'll be filing 2 bug reports at the Connect Windows 7 Beta Feedback program.
     
  15. JuanTLlibre

    JuanTLlibre New Member

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    re:
    !> You will still have old folders if you did not format the drive during the clean install

    Formatting the drive doesn't help because windows.old will still be created and the permissions bug reappears.

    Re-formatting a drive which already includes the buggy permissions behavior isn't allowed,
    I suppose because the OS recognizes that files with different owners would disappear.

    re:
    !> I suggest just deleting all the partitions on the disk

    Easy for you to say but not an option for me.
    I'm running a 1 terabyte disk with over 400GB in use.

    I didn't try to delete just the partition with the ( with Acronis or similar ).
    Maybe I should have tried that first.

    re:
    !> This is known behavior and done intentionally for people

    It's perverse if it doesn't work correctly.

    During the Beta, there was no problem deleting windows.old.
    This is new, buggy, behavior.

    The simplest solution, of course, would be for setup to include an option
    as to whether windows.old should be created at all, leaving the choice in
    the user's hands...where it should be.

    That would prevent the main bug behavior by not needing to delete windows.old at all.
     
  16. JuanTLlibre

    JuanTLlibre New Member

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    Read my more detailed reply, just posted.

    It's not enough to just "take ownership".

    The ACEs on the files must also be changed with icacls
    or you'll get "access denied" when you attempt to delete the files.

    Why ? Don't ask.

    I would have thought that file owners would be able to delete their files, as obviously you do, too.
    That I needed to do something else besides taking ownership was a big surprise to me.

    This was a learning experience I wish I hadn't had.
     
  17. JuanTLlibre

    JuanTLlibre New Member

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    It helps...but it doesn't help enough.
    See my other replies.

    Thanks, anyway...
     
  18. RAK

    RAK Extraordinary Member

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    The Microsoft built in "takeown.exe" only takes ownership of single files. If you had used my attachment, it would take ownership of the folder.

    Your
    1. There is. At the beginning of the install process, when you select custom which asks you where you wish to install. Over on the right is another option , "Drive Options (Advanced)", which allows you to format before installing. You quotation "The partition you have selected might contain files from a previous Windows installation.
    If it does, these files and folders will be moved to a folder named windows.old.
    You will be able to access the information in Windows.old, but you will not
    be able to use your previous version of Windows" is quite clear.

    2. It is for your protection. Many cleaning freaks would quickly dispose of that folder, should it exist. You are not the "Global" Administrator, which would have allowed you to delete it without preamble. II have rarely performed an install by writing over previous data, but I seem to remembert that, also, the built in program "Disk cleanup" (in Accessories) also does the job.

    I doubt your bug report will be received with enthusiasm. There are many tutorials and instructions available. Microsoft themselves have a very lucid one here:
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/get/installation-instructions.aspx (look at para 6)
     
    #18 RAK, Aug 14, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
  19. JuanTLlibre

    JuanTLlibre New Member

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    re:
    !> The Microsoft built in "takeown.exe" only takes ownership of single files.

    Interesting...
    re:
    !> If you had used my attachment, it would take ownership of the folder.

    <chuckle>

    I think I wish I'd had it before going through the trouble I did.
    Your attachment doesn't do anything about the ACE permissions, though, right ?

    I'd still have to use icacls to assign deletion permission to myself, right ?

    re:
    !> At the beginning of the install process, when you select custom which asks you where you wish to install.
    !> Over on the right is another option , "Drive Options (Advanced)", which allows you to format before installing.

    Ahhh... I'll keep that in mind the next time.
    Using that option doesn't create a windows.old directory ?

    re:
    !> It is for your protection.

    Lately, it seems, users are being needlessly over-protected by Microsoft.

    Another example : the overbearing IE8 "security measures", which overburden the user.
    FireFox works fine out of the box...and protects the user just as well, without saddling the user with repetitious tasks.

    re:
    !> I doubt your bug report will be received with enthusiasm.

    We'll see.

    Even if the format option is already available,
    at the very least some attention needs to be paid to the permissions bug.
     
    #19 JuanTLlibre, Aug 14, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
  20. RAK

    RAK Extraordinary Member

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    I will emphasise that it is not a bug. As a result of a mass of complaints regarding security, during the XP into Vista era, Microsoft restricted the old, open XP permission scene. You must now enable the Global Administrator account to return to the same security conditions that you experienced in Xp.
    Microsoft were enthusiastic enough to try and please the majority - an impossible task.

    Cannot answer the "Ace" query, sorry.

    Correct, if you use the "format" option, your partition/harddisk, will have the "quick" format applied and you will not have the "Windows.old" folder
     

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