I do not have access to a hard drive and windows will not allow me to shrink my partition enough to create a backup partition to suit my needs. In general when I reinstall windows, I use my secondary hard drive. However, I have a large directory (~500gb) of files that my secondary hard drive can't contain. I remember the windows.old folder being created sometimes, and I just wanted to know some things. When is this folder created? If I choose to do a fresh install of windows 8 (not a cleanup of an existing one), will it be created, and if so, from what directories are files collected to go into windows.old.
If, for some reason, the windows.old folder isn't create when doing a fresh installation of windows 8.1, how near to "factory settings" is a refresh or a reset?
Put simply, here are my goals:
1. Completely reinstall my operating system such that I have a completely clean copy (no trace of anything in windows/ program files/ user directories that wouldn't be there on a newly built system)
2. Keep a particular directory full of files.
Intuitively I some reason think that if the directory is in the root of my hard drive, there's no reason for Windows to delete it when installing, since it's not in Windows, Users, Program Files, or ProgramData directories, but I'm sure it can't be that simple.