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How to keep files and stuff while activating Windows

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I installed the Enterprise Evaluation on my PC 90 days ago. It's expired now, and I want to upgrade to Windows Student Pro.

How do I make sure I'll keep all my settings so nothing changes except for the OS and the constant shutting down?

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Why on earth did you use an evaluation version for important stuff ? It's for evaluation, not to trust with your actual work. You should never test an OS without having a backup-restore strategy.

Backup your files and reinstall the machine with a permanent OS.

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Why on earth did you use an evaluation version for important stuff ? It's for evaluation, not to trust with your actual work. You should never test an OS without having a backup-restore strategy.

Backup your files and reinstall the machine with a permanent OS.

I had nothing else available and needed to run my pc.

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I had nothing else available and needed to run my pc.

Seems like a standard pebkac error to me. Don't worry there's a fix to this. Download linux and config it to boot from a thumb drive that way you should be able to access your files and such on the harddrive.

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Seems like a standard pebkac error to me. Don't worry there's a fix to this. Download linux and config it to boot from a thumb drive that way you should be able to access your files and such on the harddrive.

That would mean formatting and reinstalling Windows, but that might be the best option anyway. Even if you were to attempt an in place upgrade, I would not do that without proper backups first.

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You had nothing else except for any of the thousands of linux distros.

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You had nothing else except for any of the thousands of linux distros.

That rather depends. Plenty of programs can only be run on Windows (and/or Mac, I guess). Some don have any real alternatives, sometimes it does not pay to invest time in those alternatives that do exist.

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I believe your only options are to activate your current edition of Windows, or install a new one. Enterprise can't be converted to Student, so if that's the key you have, then there's a Windows reinstall in your future. Sorry.

Keeping everything between Windows installs is an exercise in futility, unfortunately. Things just go to too many places, and there's no guarantee that any given application actually uses a standard location at all. Nothing's stopping anyone from dumping critical settings into some goofy location that nobody but them uses, bypassing any clever backup software that you might have. I've never seen anyone restore applications from a backup without a significant fraction of them breaking, the exception being a full disk backup (which would also restore the version of Windows, so no good for you).

Your best option is going to be to manually back up individual folders, then manually copy them back after installation. If you back up nothing else, back up your user folder. It has a TON of stuff in it, even if you didn't put anything in there. Most importantly, that's where AppData lives.

Personally, I treat OS disks as ephemeral. Unless you're using a top of the line SLC SSD with millions of hours MTBF, you'd be wise to as well. Use a computer long enough, and your primary drive will die for no discernible reason. To cope, I do a lot of data segregation, backups and syncs. All installers and ISOs I use are archived on my large data drive, keeping only the most recent one around. I also keep a high speed thumb drive ready with the version of Windows I'm currently using. Any time I need to, I can nuke the drive, reinstall Windows, reinstall my applications/drivers and restore my settings in about an hour. And if I lose my backup drive, it's only 3-4 hours.

Forget half day RAID recoveries, just stop caring about the durability of your data. It's liberating.

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Forget half day RAID recoveries, just stop caring about the durability of your data. It's liberating.

Not to mention RAID causing trouble on its own, dropping mounts and rebuilding for no apparent reason. Employ a healthy and abundant backup strategy and accept things will break sometimes.

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That would mean formatting and reinstalling Windows, but that might be the best option anyway. Even if you were to attempt an in place upgrade, I would not do that without proper backups first.

Why? Booting linux from a thumb drive doesn't require any formatting or reinstalling. It's going to allow him to retrieve whatever he needs and will work fine.

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i usually do two partitions on single drive systems just for this very situation. i keep about 150gb for the os partition(s), and everything else is for data. should the os ever go kaput, you can format the os partition(s) and install a new os there without loosing data. the os doesnt like it when you do this so you need to set up junction points so that your data appears to be were the os wants it, while its on another partition entirely.

on a working system just use mklink from the command prompt to create junction points. i think the syntax is:


mklink /j "linkpath" "targetpath"

linkpath is the directory where the link is created, for example "c:\Users\username\Documents\" (use quotes if the path has spaces)

targetpath is where the data actually is stored, for example "d:\documents\" (use quotes if the path has spaces)

so


mklink /j "c:\Users\username\Documents\" "d:\documents\"

windows will think "c:\Users\username\Documents\" and all its files and sub directories are on the drive where the link is created, however it is actually in "d:\documents\". any changes you (or the system) make to the files in "c:\Users\username\Documents\" will appear in "d:\documents\" and vise versa. if you format the c drive however, it will only destroy the junction point and not the files on the other drive. you need to plan for this when setting up a system, have 2 partitions minimum, and if you have a bunch of junction points it helps to stick all the commands to make them in a batch file to recreate them whenever your os decides to start being broke.

in your case i think your best bet is to set up a flash drive as a live linux distro so you can recover your data, then restore it after you get your system up and running with what ever os you install (this would be a good time to partition your dive). there are a number of lightweight linux distros you can stick on a flash drive. i usually just use the ubuntu instal iso copied to a flash drive. but there are other distros specifically for running off of flash drives, which frees up space for backups.

Edited by Nuke

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Why? Booting linux from a thumb drive doesn't require any formatting or reinstalling. It's going to allow him to retrieve whatever he needs and will work fine.

OP asked how to upgrade one Windows to another, so to end up with the requested setup (Windows Student Pro installed) you are going to need to reinstall Windows and probably a format too. Your suggention only works if you ditch Windows altogether and go with Linux. It is, however, useful to rescue the files without installing Windows to another drive, providing that you have a secondary drive to put the files on until you installed everything onto the first.

Having a Linux distro on a stick on hand never hurts, it's a nice thing to have when things don't work out the way they should.

Edited by Camacha

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OP asked how to upgrade one Windows to another, so to end up with the requested setup (Windows Student Pro installed) you are going to need to reinstall Windows and probably a format too. Your suggention only works if you ditch Windows altogether and go with Linux. It is, however, useful to rescue the files without installing Windows to another drive, providing that you have a secondary drive to put the files on until you installed everything onto the first.

Having a Linux distro on a stick on hand never hurts, it's a nice thing to have when things don't work out the way they should.

OP put important stuff on a trial version of an OS, I gave him the only solution that's guaranteed to ensure he saves his important stuff.

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actually if you got a boot disk of any kind you should be able to go in and delete everything but the users folder, then instal windows to that drive without formatting.

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OP put important stuff on a trial version of an OS, I gave him the only solution that's guaranteed to ensure he saves his important stuff.

I gave him the only solution that will actually produce the result he requested, while also saving his important stuff :wink:

actually if you got a boot disk of any kind you should be able to go in and delete everything but the users folder, then instal windows to that drive without formatting.

Again, I would not recommend such a move without any form of backup.

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Again, I would not recommend such a move without any form of backup.

its certainly something to be really careful about. but its a method that saved the day for me a couple of times in lieu of appropriate backup media. where you have one computer with one drive and everything is on one partition, your os is dead, and you dont own a flash drive big enough to back everything up. some versions of windows will install to existing partitions without formatting them, but it is neccisary to clear any directories that it expects to use, such as windows, program files, etc. its very easy to inadvertently delete the users folder, so only use this as a last resort.

if you can backup, do so, and just do a clean os install.

Edited by Nuke

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i usually do two partitions on single drive systems just for this very situation. i keep about 150gb for the os partition(s), and everything else is for data. should the os ever go kaput, you can format the os partition(s) and install a new os there without loosing data. the os doesnt like it when you do this so you need to set up junction points so that your data appears to be were the os wants it, while its on another partition entirely.

That's convenient, but it's really bad for performance on conventional hard disks (i.e. non-SSDs). Partitions are physically separate on the platter, so multiple active partitions on a hard disk force longer seek times when switching between them.

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Great mod!!

Out of curiosity, why does the water structures(the one that are in a folder) are way heavier than the land structures?

I mean, for the runway and helipad my game work fine but when I try to take-off from the carrier, my game lag(and crash if I have all the water structures).

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Great mod!!

Out of curiosity, why does the water structures(the one that are in a folder) are way heavier than the land structures?

I mean, for the runway and helipad my game work fine but when I try to take-off from the carrier, my game lag(and crash if I have all the water structures).

I think you got the wrong thread there :P

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its certainly something to be really careful about. but its a method that saved the day for me a couple of times in lieu of appropriate backup media. where you have one computer with one drive and everything is on one partition, your os is dead, and you dont own a flash drive big enough to back everything up. some versions of windows will install to existing partitions without formatting them, but it is neccisary to clear any directories that it expects to use, such as windows, program files, etc. its very easy to inadvertently delete the users folder, so only use this as a last resort.

That sounds like a rather cavalier way of dealing with important data, to be honest. And of course everyone has a way to do proper backups :wink: We know how important those are.

If the data doesn't matter you can just do a clean Windows install, since it did not matter.

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