Not-so-clean reinstall


pokeefe0001

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This posting will probably just indicate I can't follow directions, but I will forge ahead risking embarrassment.

I have rarely done clean installs of Windows, and the last 2 - one a week ago and one a couple years ago - did not go as expected. Each time I booted from an ESD flash drive built by the MCT. Each time I thought I requested a "save nothing" install, and both times non-Windows files were saved. That was actually a time-saver both times, but I'm about to do another "clean" reinstall, and this time I need to make sure I'm doing it correctly. I need to clean up some old garbage - deleted user profiles, clean ProgData, clean registry. (My data files are fine; they could stay if everything else was new.)

Those previous installs did a fine job of removing user profiles and giving me a new ProgData, but I'm not sure about the registry. I would have expected all the registry records to have a "Modified" date of the installation date or more recent, but last weeks install left a lot of records with dates of 6/5/2021 and 11/4/2021. Is that normal?
 
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Win11 Pro 21H2 build 22000.795

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FreeBooter

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pokeefe0001

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I had that tutorial next to me on a laptop as I was going through the process. I thought I was following it correctly (except maybe step 11) but, as I said, I had unexpected results. According to step 10 I would either keep files, setting, and applications or I would remove them. Instead, applications and settings were gone but files were still there (on the C drive).

But none of that matters much to me. My real concern is about the registry. Do those two options both rebuild the registry with just Windows-related stuff? If so, why do I have a bunch of Windows-related registry records (stuff relating to drivers, etc.) with old dates rather than the installation date? does that indicate that something went wrong?
 

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imanlien2020

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This posting will probably just indicate I can't follow directions, but I will forge ahead risking embarrassment.

I have rarely done clean installs of Windows, and the last 2 - one a week ago and one a couple years ago - did not go as expected. Each time I booted from an ESD flash drive built by the MCT. Each time I thought I requested a "save nothing" install, and both times non-Windows files were saved. That was actually a time-saver both times, but I'm about to do another "clean" reinstall, and this time I need to make sure I'm doing it correctly. I need to clean up some old garbage - deleted user profiles, clean ProgData, clean registry. (My data files are fine; they could stay if everything else was new.)

Those previous installs did a fine job of removing user profiles and giving me a new ProgData, but I'm not sure about the registry. I would have expected all the registry records to have a "Modified" date of the installation date or more recent, but last weeks install left a lot of records with dates of 6/5/2021 and 11/4/2021. Is that normal?
sadly sometimes people who dont have the experience dont know that when doing a clean install you need to delete every single partition on the main drive your going to reinstall. once they are all deleted you choose which drive you want to backup to and of course pick your main drive which now has nothing on it and then install from a USB. I always use Rufus to install a bootable iso but thats me and as said a million times theres many programs and ways to reinstall windows. So whatever that may be that works for you.
 

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FreeBooter

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You are doing Reset if you were doing clean installation, you would delete partitions you don't need that will also delete data on those deleted partitions and install Windows 11 on unallocated space.
 

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pokeefe0001

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sadly sometimes people who dont have the experience dont know that when doing a clean install you need to delete every single partition on the main drive your going to reinstall.
Well, I'm definitely one of those inexperienced people. So I didn't delete the partitions; I just pointed the installation process to the partition that had been my C: drive. Given that, what did the installation process do? Did it just overwrite all the Windows-specific directories and files and leave everything else on the drive untouched?

I don't really need to do a completely clean install. I think I just need AppData, ProgData, and the registry back to a pristine condition.
 

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Ghot

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1. Unhook all drives that you're NOT installing Windows on.
2. When you boot from the install media...there's an option to delete partitions.
3. Delete them... then point the installer to the now... unallocated space, when it asks where to install.

In the tutorial... choose: "Custom" in step #10
Then in step #11 you can delete all the existing Windows partitions.

That... is a clean install








/edit
When you do a clean install of Windows....the drive will end up looking like this...

00000 Default Disk Partitions.png

If you use the whole drive, only the Windows partition (BLUE), will grow to fill all the unused space on the drive.
So if you use the whole 1TB drive... the Windows partition (BLUE), will be approx. 930GB.
And the drive will still have those 4 partitions.


When doing a clean install, you need to delete all four of those partitions, from the drive you are installing Windows on.
When they are deleted, they will show as one big unallocated space.

When the installer asks where to install Windows... you point it to the unallocated space.
 
Last edited:

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FreeBooter

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I don't really need to do a completely clean install. I think I just need AppData, ProgData, and the registry back to a pristine condition.
In this video, i will show you how to reset Windows 11.

 

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pokeefe0001

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Thanks to all of you, but this isn't really answering my questions
  1. What is the expected result of choosing "Custom: Install Windows only" but not deleting the partitions? Would this leave non-Windows files and folders on the C: drive even though the option says "The files, settings, and applications aren't moved to Windows". "Moved to" and "not moved to" are very vague terms.
  2. What is the state of the registry after either of the options in step 10? Are any records created by non-Windows programs still present after the install? (I assume not, but I need to know for sure.)
 

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FreeBooter

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If you install Windows 11 on a partition that has already had Windows 11 installed then Windows.old folder is created that contains previous Windows installation, program files and all the data of Users.

All Registries will be deleted.
 

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spapakons

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I frequently install Windows without format, so all old data go into Windows.old and any extra folder in C:\ (the root of Windows partition) remains as it was. I usually create a Drivers folder which I would not want to be deleted. After the installation is complete, I can browse the Windows.old folder to copy any old data needed. My old user files will be at C:\Windows.old\user\username for example. I know I could just do a backup and then delete all partitions, but the above method is failsafe in case I forget to backup anything.

Tip: To recover your Firefox data copy any "mozilla" folder from Windows.old to the respective folder in the new installation BEFORE reinstalling Firefox. This will prompt Firefox installer to "upgrade" the old version and once installation is complete you should have all your bookmarks, passwords and addons. Some folders are hidden, so make sure you enable to show the hidden folders as well. Look in Program Data, Program Files, Program Files (x86), users\username\AppData\Local (and LocalLow and Roaming). Make sure you copy ALL Mozilla data before installing. The same trick works for Google Chrome and Opera as well. Haven't done it for Microsoft Edge.
 

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pokeefe0001

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Thank you. That confirms that the files and folders left on the C: drive was normal.

I've actually done the FireFox (and Thunderbird) cloning a number of times unrelated to resinstallation of Windows. And I've just read that the Local AppData doesn't need to be copied - just Roaming. Local apparently contains things like caches. (I'll try it on my test PC before I trust that.)

Thank you for mentioning Windows.old. That's easier to access than data on backups.
 

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Megahertz

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Thanks to all of you, but this isn't really answering my questions
  1. What is the expected result of choosing "Custom: Install Windows only" but not deleting the partitions? Would this leave non-Windows files and folders on the C: drive even though the option says "The files, settings, and applications aren't moved to Windows". "Moved to" and "not moved to" are very vague terms.
  2. What is the state of the registry after either of the options in step 10? Are any records created by non-Windows programs still present after the install? (I assume not, but I need to know for sure.)
A Clean install demands that you install on a Clean drive. If you don't clean all partitions it isn't a clean install.
 

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pokeefe0001

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Thank you, but I'm not asking about a clean install, and I don't particularly want a clean install. I'm asking what is left when I do a "Remove everything" install but do not delete the old partitions. I now understand that non-Windows files and folders are left.

I'm specifically interested in the registry. I expected that the install would have cleaned it out and all records would have a "Modified" timestamp of the install but I found a bunch of records with a much older date. I think they were all device drivers. Is this to be expected?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Microsoft
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8400
    Motherboard
    ASUS PRIME H370-PLUS
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel UHD Graphics 630
    Sound Card
    On board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung SyncMaster 2043BWX
    Screen Resolution
    1680 x 1050
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 850 256GB
    WDC 1TB NVMe
    WD 3TB external USB drive
    PSU
    I don't remember
    Case
    Fractal Design R4
    Cooling
    Air CPU + 2 case fans
    Keyboard
    DAS S Pro (Cherry Brown)
    Mouse
    Logitech USB of some sort
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