Can I make Windows recognize programs from "Windows.Old"?

Until last Saturday, I had Windows Home Premium 64-bit running flawlessly with no issues worth mentioning. However, with the releasen of the Windows 8 Release Preview, I decided to try it, not realizing that it involved essentially a complete change of OS rather than simply being a more limited time "trial". That was very foolish of me, and it turned out that both the removal of the start feature as well as the fact that my internet speed was more than halved, made Windows 8 unbearable for me.

I decided to reinstall Windows 7. My Windows 7 CD however was at my parents' house, and as I live half the country away at the moment, I decided to download a pirated Windows 7 from a torrent site, but I got my father to send me my Windows 7 activation key, so Windows now says my copy is "genuine". (Bonus question: is this legal? I.e downloading pirated software that you own, then using your own key rather than a crack to use it?).

I got Windows 7 reinstalled alright it seems, but all the contents of my hard disk ended up in a folder called "Windows.old". That seemed a minor issue, but it also seemed like Windows doesn't recognize the programs installed in that folder. I decided to simply cut the folders inside windows.old and paste them into (C:) (i.e users, program files, program files x86 - bonus question 2; it seems most my programs, especially games, i.e Starcraft 2, Witcher 2, SKyrim etc are in "program files x86".. does this matter?).

After struggling with permissions for an hour or so, I skipped pasting the few conflicts between the folders, and ended up with my program files and users folder looking a lot like before. However, Windows still doesn't recognize most of the programs I now have saved in program files and program files x86, and many of the .exe files there don't work. So finally, to my actual question: Is there any way I can make Windows recognize all the programs I pasted from windows.old into program files? I've already wasted many hours wrestiling with the retarded permission system in Windows, updating windows, reinstalling drivers etc; it would be nice not having to reinstall the dozens of programs I had installed, or finding the hundreds of addons I have downloaded over the last two years. I'm very grateful for any help.
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  1. This link may help.

    How to restore Windows 7 after installing the Windows 8 Developer Preview.
    This recovery procedure is only valid if you choose to keep your accounts and personal files when
    installing Windows 8, it has not been verified to work if you performed a “Custom/Clean” install of Windows 8.

    You will need the Windows.old folder for this proceedure to work
    Text Only Version:
    With screen shots:
  2. You will need to reinstall your applications.
    In the days of DOS the folders (directories, actually) contained all that the PC needed to run a program. In the age of Windows, the application installations create system variables, Registry entries, and place files in other locations as well, so just copying folders won't do it in most cases.
  3. Thanks for the help. Most applications seem to work, despite certain annoying minor issues, and it won't be too much trouble reinstalling the few programs that don't.
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