Recuva showed me a scattering of things from a 'Windows Old' folder that was probably created yesterday. I was using advanced features that show fragments of files and things that Recover knows that it can't recover -- and it seemed to be doing an utterly, utterly awesome job.
It's because of Recuva I have reason to believe a Windows Old folder was created yesterday at all when I re-installed Windows 7.
Recuva told me it found more than 700,000 files in the first couple minutes of scanning this morning, though it ultimately only showed me a scattering of them, some marked recoverable and some marked unrecoverable. I hope the reason it didn't show more of the Windows Old folder was that it shows only deleted content and it doesn't consider the content deleted.
Windows, meanwhile, has shown me where the Windows Old folder is or copped to its existence. When I enter "Windows Old" or "windows.old", it says nothing found... even though Recuva is showing me random little quirky things from the folder.
I am afraid of making more mistakes! I made some major ones yesterday. To backtrack: I had clicked "reinstall Windows" from "system repair" yesterday after a series of big-time mistakes and some big-time misinformation that occurred when I was trying to reboot the computer so I could (ironically) get back to the job of saving files and trying to back things up. (Long, long story...)