Reinstall Windows 7 keeping data and programs

Some users who use the Windows 7 operating system experience problems with their computer for various reasons. Some users prefer to solve this problem in a radical way: by reinstalling Windows.

A “clean” installation or “upgrade” will help fix errors and problems with your PC. Most often, users reinstall the system with the removal of all data from previously installed Windows.

A less common way: installing Windows 7 over Windows 7 using the system update method. This option is suitable when you want to save data, programs and settings.

In circumstances where you don’t want to reinstall important programs or have nowhere to copy user data, reinstalling Windows 7 while keeping settings, files, and programs is the best option.

Some users will say that this is wrong, that’s not how you can install Windows and they will be wrong. Installing Windows 7 over a previous version of Windows 7 by updating the system is a regular installation option for Microsoft operating systems.

Windows 10 users constantly update their computers in this way, about once every six months.

During the OS installation process on a computer, Windows Setup always asks the user about the type of installation: “Upgrade” or “Full installation”. When choosing the first option, the new system becomes on the PC over the previously installed one.

Reinstalling Windows 7 over the previous operating system has its own characteristics. The new system being installed must have the same settings as the previous Windows 7:

  • Both operating systems must have the same bit depth.
  • It is required that both Windows have the same edition version.

This means that if a 32-bit version of Windows 7 is currently installed on a PC, then a 64-bit version of the system cannot be installed on this device. Or, on the contrary, it will not be possible to install a 32-bit system on a 64-bit OS.

The version of the current operating system must match the version of Windows 7 that you are installing. For example, if your PC is running Windows 7 Home Single Language (Windows 7 Home Single Language), then you must use the same edition of the system to reinstall. Accordingly, this also applies to other OS editions installed using this method.

Reinstalling Windows 7 with saving data and applications takes much longer than a regular “clean” installation of the operating system. The installation process may take several hours. The duration is affected by various factors: the total size of the saved data and programs, the technical characteristics of the device, etc.

How to find out the version of Windows 7

Now we will see how to find out the version of the operating system on this computer. This information is useful for inexperienced users.

There are various options to find out the version of Windows, which you can read about in a detailed article on this site.

Here is one of the easiest ways:

  1. Right-click on the “Computer” icon on the desktop.
  2. Select “Properties” from the context menu.
  3. The “View basic information about your computer” window will open and provide you with the information you need.

Pay attention to the edition of Windows installed by the Service Pack, the type of system is 32-bit or 64-bit. This information is useful for finding a Windows 7 image that matches these parameters.

Read the article on how to download Windows. Some of the methods discussed will allow you to download the “seven” to your PC.

Reinstalling Windows 7 with Data Preservation: Preparation

First, you need to prepare before directly starting the reinstallation of the operating system on the computer.

We will need an ISO image of Windows 7, which must be placed in a convenient location on your PC. For clarity, I use the Desktop.

The Windows ISO image must be unpacked using an archiver such as WinRAR or 7-Zip. Instead of an archiver, you can use a program to create virtual CD / DVD drives on a PC, with which you can open a Windows ISO image to start the installation of the system.

As a result, a folder with files of the Windows operating system will appear on the Desktop (or in another convenient place).

Reinstall Windows 7 while keeping files, data and programs

Now we move on to the next step: reinstalling Windows 7 while keeping data and programs over the version of the operating system installed on the computer.

You need to start the installation process of the operating system:

  1. Open the folder with the unpacked contents of the Windows image.
  2. Run the “setup” file by double-clicking on it with the left mouse button.
  3. The Windows Setup window will open on your desktop. Click on the “Install” button.
  4. On the screen of your device, you will see inscriptions replacing each other, first “The installation program is copying temporary files …”, and then “Starting installation …”.
  5. In the “Getting important updates to install” window that opens, you will be offered two options:
  • Connect to the Internet for the latest installer updates (recommended).
  • Do not download the latest installer updates.
  1. Click on “Don’t download the latest installer updates”.

This choice is due to the fact that we do not want to delay the process of installing the operating system. All suggested updates from the Microsoft website can be installed after you finish reinstalling Windows 7.

  1. In the “Read the license terms” window, check the box “I accept the license terms”, and then click on the “Next” button.
Attention! Now comes the most important moment of installing the OS. By choosing the right installation type, we will be able to reinstall Windows 7 over the previous version of the “seven” installed on this computer.
  1. The Select Installation Type window offers two options:
  • Update.
  • Full installation (advanced options).
  1. We need to save user files, settings and programs, so you need to click on the Update installation type.
  2. Compatibility check in progress.
  3. In the “Update Windows …” window, the process of installing the operating system on the computer begins.

Installing Windows 7 with data retention consists of several steps:

  • Copy Windows files.
  • Collection of files, settings and programs.
  • Unpacking Windows files.
  • Transfer files, settings and programs.

During these steps, the PC will restart several times. The update may take several hours to complete.

Until the final stage of installing the operating system, you will not need to perform any actions. Take some time to wait for the result.

After several reboots of the PC, finally, the final moment of the system installation process comes – setting the OS parameters.

  1. The installer prepares the computer for first use and tests video performance.
  2. In the “Enter your product key” window, click the “Skip” button.

You can activate Windows after installation is complete at any convenient time. You will need to enter a product key, which can be copied from the PC case or from the packaging of your copy of Windows. On some devices, activation is “hardwired”, so there it is performed automatically after connecting to the Internet.

  1. In the “Help me automatically protect your computer and improve Windows” window, you need to choose the order in which updates are installed.

We are offered three options:

  • Use recommended settings – Install important and recommended updates to improve overall security and improve the health of your computer.
  • Install most important updates – Install only security and other important updates.
  • Postpone decision – Updates will not be installed on this PC until the user decides.
  1. Click on the appropriate option, in most cases – “Use recommended settings”.
  2. In the next window, set the time and date. If your country does not use Daylight Savings Time, uncheck “Automatic Daylight Savings Time”.
  3. The “Select the current location of the computer” window offers network location options for this PC,

You can choose:

  • A home network is a trusted network for computers at home.
  • Work network – A trusted work network for devices at work.
  • A public network is a network without trust located in public places.
  1. If your computer is at home, select the Home network location.
  2. Next, the network settings are configured on the PC, and then Windows finishes applying the settings.
  3. After preparing the desktop, the operating system starts on the screen. Reinstalling Windows 7 over the previous “seven” with the preservation of programs, settings, files and other data is completed.

As you can see in the image above, after reinstalling Windows 7, files, programs, and other data remained on this computer.

Article Conclusions

In some cases, users need to reinstall Windows 7 while keeping programs, data, and settings. They can use the system upgrade method when installing Windows on top of an existing operating system. As a result, a new version of Windows 7 will appear on the PC with saved data from the previous OS.

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