This is a step-by-step tutorial explaining how to restore your personal files after you perform a custom installation of either the operating system Windows Vista or Windows 7. This is applicable when you are unable to upgrade from an earlier version of Windows and are forced to carry out a custom installation.

GETTING FAMILIAR WITH THE CONCEPT

When you custom install either Windows Vista or Windows 7, the Windows.old folder is created. This folder contains the files from the Windows XP installation. To locate the Windows.old folder in Windows Vista or in Windows 7, click Start, type into the blank field drive:\windows.old (example, c:\windows.old) in the Search box. You will get a Programs list. Select windows.old from the list. The components will be folders such as Windows, Users, Program Files. The Users folder contains individual users’ files such as Contacts, Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Saved Games, etc.

THE PROCEDURE OF RESTORATION

WHEN PREVIOUS OPERATING SYSTEM WAS WINDOWS XP

1 – Restore recorded television shows

Windows Media Centre 2005 saves recorded TV shows in the Recorded TV folder. To recover these files, follow these steps:

1. Locate the Windows.old folder, and then open Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Recorded TV
2. Right-click Recorded TV, and then click Cut.
3. Click Start, and click the user name in the upper-right side corner of the Start menu.
4. Right-click the Videos /My Videos folder, and then click Paste.

Windows moves the recorded television show files to the Videos folder.

2 – Restore Internet Explorer favorites

To move the files from the Favourites folder of the Windows XP installation to Windows Vista/Windows 7, follow these steps:

1. Locate the Windows.old folder, and then open 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 and click your user name in the upper-right side corner of the Start menu.
4. Right-click Favorites, and then click Paste.

The files will be moved to the Favorites folder.

3 – Restore the Desktop folder

To restore the Desktop folder from the Windows XP installation, follow these steps:

1. Locate the Windows.old folder, and then open 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 folder appears as an icon on your desktop.

4 – Restore the My Documents folder

To move the My Documents folder, follow these steps:

1. Locate the Windows.old folder, and then open Documents and Settings\UserName
2. Right-click My Documents, and then click Cut.
3. Click Start and then click Documents.
4. Right-click Documents, and then click Paste.

The folder, along with its contents, are copied to the current Documents folder.

WHEN PREVIOUS OPERATING SYSTEM WAS WINDOWS VISTA

1 – Restore recorded television shows

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 Users\Public\Recorded TV
2. Right-click Recorded TV, and then click Cut.
3. Click Start, and then click the user name in the upper-right side corner of the Start menu.
4. Right-click the Videos or the My Videos folder, and then click Paste.

The recorded shows are moved to the Videos folder.

2 – Restore your personal files

To move your Personal files folders from the previous installation to Windows Vista, follow these steps:

1. Find the Windows.old folder, and then open 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, and then click the user name in the upper-right side corner of the Start menu.
4. Click Paste.

The personal files are moved 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 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, and then click the user name in the upper-right side corner of the Start menu.
7. Click Paste.

The personal files are moved to the Windows 7 user account.

The above procedure can be repeated for different user name accounts.