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Remove Old Windows Installation

By ashechtm ·
I've been using the same hard-drive(s) in my last three PC's - moving them from one PC to another, and installing updated windows versions over top of previous installations. The current HD started with 98, then 98SE, then ME, then XP, now XP-PRO SP2. Each installation seems to leave old files and folders containing now useless (and/or unused) files, which clutter up my HD and which are difficult to remove because I'm not sure which files may be needed. FYI, my system reflects the software junkie that I am - and contains hundreds of programs covering many functional categories in which I work - databases, text processing, graphics, paint/draw, video and video editing, desktop publishing, not to mention assorted up-and-download, file sharing and networking programs.
The basic windows add/remove programs doesn't work anymore, nor does Norton/Symantec remove, nor does TuneUp2006. Any suggestions as to how I can remove these unnecessary programs/files to free up hd space? I've also looked at many of the directories by date, and have thought about deliting prior to a specific date- but when I have tried that I invariably get an error message that windows is using one of the files and cannot delete it.
Appreciate any assistance.
Tnx
Allen

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by Pendal1 In reply to Remove Old Windows Instal ...

Have you considered using one of the registry repair tools such as registry first aid. This is a good tool that can scan your registry to deterime what's a valid or nvalid entry and what's still being used by windows. That's a tough one when you have so much overlapping. If things are too jumbled, you may want to back up your relevant data and format (highlevel to clear out the MBR) and start clean or install a second hard drive and slave it or slave your current drive for further protection in case a crash. That is if you don't want to erase your current drive.

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by Pendal1 In reply to Remove Old Windows Instal ...

Have you considered using one of the registry repair tools such as registry first aid. This is a good tool that can scan your registry to deterime what's a valid or nvalid entry and what's still being used by windows. That's a tough one when you have so much overlapping. If things are too jumbled, you may want to back up your relevant data and format (highlevel to clear out the MBR) and start clean or install a second hard drive and slave it or slave your current drive for further protection in case a crash. That is if you don't want to erase your current drive.

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by 3xp3rt In reply to Remove Old Windows Instal ...

Also you can try some utility like Norton WinDoctor, even this remove the unnecessary entries in registry, and also the unused icons, programs

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by 3xp3rt In reply to

The Norton WinDoctor remove only the invalid link's and progs. This program don't remove the unused or rarely used progs

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by pierrejamme In reply to Remove Old Windows Instal ...

My recommendations is since this is admittedly an older hard drive, i would make it your \ drive as a slave. Buy a new hard drive, very cheaply these days and install XP Pro on that.
I never upgrade over an old install, always format a do a fresh install.
Peter

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by nirav In reply to Remove Old Windows Instal ...

Installing / Upgrading newer operating systems over older versions has its advantages and drawbacks. You retain previously installed programs and settings, but at the same time retain unnecessary files. I always prefer backing up my critical data and files and installing a fresh copy of the operating system / programs for this reason. The other option would be to install the desired operating system on a new hard drive and using the old drive as the secondary or slave (but you will have to reinstall all your programs again). I guess this does not solve your problem, but may give you another option to look at.

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