Windows 8 mysteriously finds files from another Windows 7 installation

Discussion in 'Windows 8' started by Palladin, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. Palladin

    Palladin MDL Senior Member

    Feb 1, 2014
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    I got a notice from Microsoft MSDN/Technet to try the new Windows 8.1 Enterprise eval version. It said it was good for 90 days, so I thought I'd give it a try to see what it was all about. Eveh thought I knew it was only good for 90 days, I thought I see if I could fool Mr. Softie. I had planned on making an image of the base installation and then in thirty days, restore that image, and see if the counter would stay at 90 days left, or update to 60 days. Probably a long shot, but I figured I give it a try.

    I downloaded the iso directly from Microsoft and burned a DVD using ImgBurn.

    Then I cloned my working drive with Acronis to a spare hard drive. My working drive is formatted at 3 partitions. One 60GB boot partition, one 60GB backup partition, and one 650GB partition for digital packrat storage of various iso's.

    After I cloned the Working drive to the spare drive, I booted off the working drive, and then formatted the cloned drive's boot partition. I did a quick format, not the destructive one that takes forever.

    Then I shut down the computer, and disconnected the working drive, just in case Windows 8 took a look around and decided to install itself where it wanted, and not where I told it to. With only one drive in the system, and the C: boot partition formatted, I figured what could go wrong.

    Windows 8.1 installed no problem, it showed the one drive, and installed it on the C:\ boot partition, and started right up, no problems. But when I switched to the Desktop my old Desktop background image was there.

    At first I didn't think too much about it, but as I thought about it more, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how Windows 8 found, and installed my desktop background from a Windows 7 installation that was on a hard disk that was unplugged. :eek:

    When I looked at where the image was stored the mystery deepened. It was stored not where I kept it on the Windows 7 installation, but in another location that I never knew existed...

    C:\users\al\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes\RoamedThemeFiles\DesktopBackground\hubble_ultra_deep_field_orig_2.jpg

    Here's what it looked like, and it had a file creation date, of the 19th which is when I did the initial install of Windows 8.1

    hubble-new-position.jpg

    The bizarre part is that I never kept the file there, and the file size listed is different from the file size of the original file. I have a bunch of stuff that I keep in one sub-directory and copy it to the Windows directory on any new installation. The only problem, is that I hadn't copied this directory yet. Here's what the original files, and location are on the Windows 7 installation. Keep in mind that this hard drive is powered off.

    hubble-old-position.jpg

    I thought maybe when ImgBurn created the Windows 8.1 iso it somehow magically behind the scenes copied some additional files, but I searched the DVD and no file showed up with Hubble anywhere in the file name.

    So the $64,000 question is how did Windows 8 know that this was the desktop background from a Windows 7 installation on a hard drive that was powered off. Try as I might, I couldn't come up with any reasonable answer. Maybe someone here can.

    And on a more pleasant note, I can attest that PatchPae2 works just fine on Windows 8.1 and even though I installed the 32 Bit operation system, it happily reports the full 6GB or memory I have installed. :biggrin:

    My-Computer-6GB-32-Bit.jpg Resource-Monitor-6GB-32-Bit.jpg
     
  2. FaiKee

    FaiKee Misinformation spreader

    Jul 24, 2009
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    If you had installed win8.1 with your MS account, it stores your settings and applies it to other win8.1 installs with same MS account. I don't know for win7, maybe you have syn-ed it too. :p
     
  3. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

    Jul 29, 2009
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  4. Palladin

    Palladin MDL Senior Member

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    I fear you are correct. It's the only logical explanation. The only time I had logged on previously was to check out the new Sky Drive renamed to One Drive. I uploaded a file, and then logged off. Then the next time was to check out the offer for Windows 8.1 Enterprise. At that time I was using Windows 7 Pro.

    Whenever Microsoft wants me to opt in to some techno babble "improve you experience" I always decline. I never agreed to sync anything with anything. But it looks like Microsoft has a hidden agenda that really has nothing to do with any "experience" or "syncing" of files. The desktop background I used, was stored in a non standard location. Not where Windows stores themes, or any of the other desktop backgrounds. So it seems that Microsoft has a routine that looks at the internal system settings, probably the environment variables, of your computer whenever you log on to their site, and then proceeds to download and store that information, and those files, on some Microsoft site somewhere.

    That would explain the new placement and re-sizing of the original file. I'm really annoyed that Microsoft does this. Because if it has some sort of system analysis tool that either runs when you log on to Microsoft, or worse, it might be built into Windows 7 and it accumulates all the necessary information/file locations and sends them to Microsoft. You might not even have to log onto the site to have them access your files.

    In that case my computer is infected with a root kit virus, called Windows 7 Professional.

    Here's what I'm going do. First off I've downloaded the file that pisthai suggested, and will install it, and hopefully there is some sort of log function. Then I'll create a new Gmail account. Then change the background image to something different than what I currently have. Then log onto Microsoft's site, and sign up and download the Win 8.1 Enterprise trial, but not use it, instead use the DVD created from the last one. Then format the spare boot drive partition, with the destructive format, just to be certain everything is gone. Then install Windows 8.1 on the blank drive, and use my new Gmail account to log into Microsoft's site.

    I'll be curious to see which desktop background shows up. If it's the Hubble one, then they are tracking me by my IP address. If it's the new desktop background, they are tracking me by my new Gmail address.

    Either way it will be interesting to see what happens. I'll report back with the results.
     
  5. FaiKee

    FaiKee Misinformation spreader

    Jul 24, 2009
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    Nah, a general no-body(like me) doesn't worry anything about MS or NSA poking for infos in my machines, if you don't like syn-ing of settings, just turn it off in win8's PC settings.

    btw, about that 6GB ram, I am not tech guy, but what I heard was, 32 bit could only address 2^32(i.e. about 4GB) of memory, yes you could get over 4GB ram by PAE-patching, but still, the OS could only use max 4 GB memory at any one time. Still, there is speed improvement because with higher ram, you'll save a lot of the time in uploading/downloading to/from HDD. :D
     
  6. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

    Jul 29, 2009
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    It's possible to use up to 64GB of memory with Windows in case you modify the Kernel. But, that applies for Windows OS only and NOT 32bit application! How much memory the apps could use is depend on each of the apps running and it's desired by their limitations implemented by the developers of the apps.

    That said, even if you patch the Kernel there will be still quite a bit of 'old' limitation for to use at max 3.25GB!
     
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  7. Palladin

    Palladin MDL Senior Member

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    Well, it does little to worry about it now. Seeing as how Microsoft has hoovered my desktop background, it's probably a certainty that they have pretty much everything they wanted. Probably the entire hard drive, for all I know.