I reinstalled my win7 PC yesterday and when I launched Nvidia Control Panel today and wanted to set profile for specific application, there were applications from previous installment visible (i had "Show only programs installed" checked). When I typed the name into Start and clicked "Open location" I got message it no longer exists.

What i did when reinstalling was as usual except I just removed all partitions (so the whole disk was unspecified space) and then ran installation on that.

Does this means that if there was virus in my previous installment could it survive (if we dont count specific cases of viruses who resides in MOBO's UEFI bios or something)? Also i did Avast/MalwareBytes check which found nothing before reinstallment but PC acted really strange. Could it be just some registry entries which survived or undeleted memory on disk which somehow gets read?

Thanks for any explanation/clarification.

  • Did you install Windows over itself or format the drive then installed Windows? Based on what is still on the HDD, it sounds like, you installed Windows over itself.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 15:54
  • Yes, i installed windows over itself I guess. But it was booted from USB from BIOS not inside of windows. Also there is no sign of windows.old. Basically I thought it is gonna format in installation so I did not format it, only removed logicals to make it all unspecified space. Maybe it did fast formatting and now memory gets read from places where data chunks still resides? But then I dont understand why OS would try to read there.
    – eXPRESS
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 16:28
  • Your question is not clear. Please provide more specific information in order to better understand what you describe. This question cannot be answered without that information.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 16:42
  • I think that harrymc basically summed it up in his answer. The question is if something non-windows could have survive this "upgrade".
    – eXPRESS
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 17:39
  • The answer you received is actually incorrect. If Windows "upgraded itself to itself" there actually would be a Windows.old directory. You indicated that the partitions were deleted, became unallocated space, and Windows was installed to that. Once you provided that information it was clear, you were originally not clear, one what data still exists on your system. Which is the reason, I requested more information, because what data still exists is not clear. Now your welcome to accept the answer you received, that is entirely up to you, but you should still improve the question.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 23:23

1 Answer 1


I'm a bit unclear about the method used for re-installing Windows, but this might not be important, since you do not wish to totally destroy your setup.

Formatting the disk is the only sure-fire way of starting from a clean state. Viruses may hide everywhere and may even survive the re-installation of Windows. Even after re-installation with format, infection is still possible if you are installing an infected package.

There have lately been found cases where crooks have legally bought popular products or browser extensions and released a "new and improved" version which contained a virus, thus, for example, letting your browser's auto-update feature re-infect the computer for them.

The only other solution beside formatting is to multiply anti-virus checks by multiple products, and keep on doing that for some time in the future. I recommend Malwarebytes as one. See also the article Best Free Antivirus Software and our post How can I remove malicious spyware, malware, adware, viruses, trojans or rootkits from my PC?. Check the extensions installed on your browser(s), since that's another favorite of hackers.

  • Do you think that something not related to windows could endure the upgrade? (had to install drivers and everything again, they seemed not to be present) I am asking because I spent like 10 hours to get it all up and running (a lot of projects, IDEs to school and work, configurations I use and so on and I just don't think I would be able to go through this again :D).
    – eXPRESS
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 17:38
  • I'm confused: Do you, or don't you want to conserve installed programs?
    – harrymc
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 17:40
  • I already reinstalled, what I am asking is, could virus, if I had one, survive this "upgrade"? My wish was to have clean install, I wanted nothing to persist.
    – eXPRESS
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 17:51
  • Yes, it surely can persist and many times it does. Upgrade conserves applications and settings, and often viruses too. Formatting gets rid of it and everything else. If you are worried, I suggest to do deep anti-virus scans using multiple anti-virus products, but only well-known ones(!). Most such products have online scans that do not require local installation. I recommend Malwarebytes as one. See also this article.
    – harrymc
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 17:59
  • Okay thanks but I think we are still misunderstanding each other. I called it "upgrade" in quaotation as you used term "upgraded" in your answer but it was not upgrade in terms of choosing upgrade option in installation. I chose install in the process only I did not format disk beforehand. So no programs or drivers were conserved as far as i know -> only reference to them as mentioned in my question. I am sorry if I explained myself poorly but do you think that in this specific case virus could have survive (if no installed program or driver did)?
    – eXPRESS
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 18:11

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