can Windows.old files be swapped?  

  1. Posts : 103
    Windows 10 21H2

    can Windows.old files be swapped?

    I still have a Windows.old file from a previous upgrade from 1909 to 2004. I have renamed it so it can't be auto-deleted. I have also extended the expiry out to the max 60 days, so it is not expired yet anyway.

    But if I try a repair-install, then that procedure will create a now Windows.old, correct? If so, can I rename that to get it out of the way, then use the original Windows.old to revert to the previous major version?

    Or does Windows keep track of whatever Windows.old is produced, by means of a hash or whatever? Thanks.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 14,006
    Windows 10 Pro X64 21H1 19043.1503

    Good question. Post your results and let us know

    Seriously, would be good to know. I'm sure some of the folks here know the answer and will respond soon.
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 4,989
    Windows 11 Pro 64-bit

    You can manually revert to the previous version of Windows 10.

    Any live bootable rescue media can be used but i will be using FalconFour’s Ultimate Boot CD to boot my computer into MiniXP Enviroment.

    1. From MiniXP Enviroment open Windows Explorer and navigate to partition where Windows.old folder is stored.

    2. You will rename Windows folder to Windows.bak and rename Recovery folder to Recovery.bak.

    3. Copy or move Windows folder and Recovery folder from within Windows.old folder to the root of the Windows installed partition, basically you are replacing Windows.bak and Recovery.bak folders you have renamed.

    4. Replace the NTUSER.DAT file located at \Users\UserName folder with the NTUSER.DAT file stored within \Windows.old\Users\UserName\ folder.

    5. Restart your computer normally.

    When you restart your computer it will take few minutes or more to login to Windows 10 Desktop. If the screen stays black for long period of time press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to open Task Manager and from Users tab select your user account and click Log Off button. After you have log back in you may be ask to activate Windows 10.

    Open the Command Prompt by clicking Start Menu --> All Programs --> Accessories, right-click on Command Prompt, and open it as an administrator. Execute following command:

    Sfc /Scannow

    Restart your computer after SFC command finish repairing any corrupted Windows system files.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 103
    Windows 10 21H2
    Thread Starter

    Wow, FreeBooter. That is very interesting. You might be the genius of the week! Thank you. Your instructions are very well written, too.

    However, I don't have a Recovery folder. But I do have $WINDOWS.~BT in Windows.old that is 900MB

    and also a $WINDOWS.~BT under C: that is only 25MB, plus a $Windows.~WS that is 199KB, plus $WinREAgent plus $SysReset and $GetCurrent

    Does all that complicate things so that a manual revert is too complicated and perhaps unwise?

    Both ntuser.dat files are exactly where you describe. It seems odd they are both the exact same size for the two versions: 1909 and 2004.
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 4,989
    Windows 11 Pro 64-bit

    Skip replacing Recovery folder, don't worry about folders you have listed they play no role reverting Windows 10 to previous version.
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 103
    Windows 10 21H2
    Thread Starter

    TY again, FreeBooter.

    Let's say this is a theoretical question: what would happen if I replaced the ntuser.dat in my current 2004 with the ntuser.dat from my 1909 Windows.old?

    The reason I'm wondering is because I know that permissions have been fouled up by the update to 2004. I'll probably use repair program to reset the permissions, but beforehand I'd like to understand more about what is happening.
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 4,989
    Windows 11 Pro 64-bit

    I think without replacing ntuser.dat it will work you will need to try to find out.

    Also some of the programs you have installed may not work as you're replacing Windows registry hives store within Windows directory.
      My Computer

  8. Posts : 103
    Windows 10 21H2
    Thread Starter

    Let me rephrase, I wasn't clear enough before:

    Without doing anything with the C:\Windows folder, what if I tried to fix my current problems in 2004 by merely getting the ntuser.dat from 1909 in Windows.old and using that in my current 2004? (I suppose the big risk is that I might not be able to boot Windows.)

    But there seems to be a chance that trying this maneuver might fix my problems in 2004.
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 4,989
    Windows 11 Pro 64-bit

    You will be missing registry entries because ntuser.dat will hold old registry entries but i don't see why would Windows will not boot with ntuser.dat from 1909 in Windows.old folder.

    You can rename the ntuser.dat before replacing it as ntuser.dat.old within C:\User\UserName folder if anything goes wrong you can restore it back.
      My Computer

  10. Posts : 7,597
    windows 10

    There isn't a lot of point to doing this if you use disk image its bomb proof why are you using old system that is out of support?
      My Computer


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