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Windows 7: Applying update - Failure configuring - Reverting changes

25 Apr 2011   #1

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 
Applying update - Failure configuring - Reverting changes

A very strange thing happened today, first time I've seen this on my real or virtual machines. Luckily it happened to a VirtualBox vm for which I had several snapshots so I could revert to an earlier state and got everything back (VirtualBox vm snapshot = about the same as system image on real, physical computer).

Here's the problem description, I would like to know what happened and maybe also why this happened.

A Windows 7 Enterprise installed on VirtualBox 4.04 virtual machine, licensed and activated. A lot of software installed, used solely for testing purposes. Been up and running a few months without issues, all updates installed except SP1.

Today a normal boot produced this:

Attachment 151170

It took about a minute for Windows to run through "update operations" 1 through 92703.

After "Applying update operation" phase Windows rebooted, trying to configure some updates, finally stopping like this:

Attachment 151171

Again a reboot. Windows had totally reverted to a point after first boot. All installed software is gone, as well as installed updates and personalizations. It's just like after the first boot after installation some months ago, even showing the browser choice dialog:

Attachment 151172

As I mentioned, this is not an issue per se because I could use an earlier snapshot to put everything back, to revert Windows as it was yesterday. However, I really would like to learn what and why happened. I have never before seen a Windows installation to lose all installed apps and updates.

Any ideas welcome.

Kari

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

25 Apr 2011   #2

Vista Home Premium x86 SP2
 
 

Hello Kari!

I shall post all that I can, however, it is far from the reason. It isn't really very solid at all, but it may be all you can get.

How sure are you that it is exactly at the point after first boot? What I mean by this is this (slightly below (restructured post subtly, read to end before attempting to answer )

Quote:
Today a normal boot produced this:
That should only ever be caused by a Windows Update. Any chance that a Windows Update installed in the background last time before you shut down?

There is a bug which you might just be experiencing. Experts the world over argue about whether this is even possible. I have seen it with my own eyes; it happened on one of my own computers once. And I am not the only one. Many people have experienced and reported it, but to many experts it seems impossible. It is not impossible, it happened to me.

What happens is that the "Setting up account for first time use Window appears" when it shouldn't do. And it creates a whole new user profile of sorts.

Say my account name is Richard. My old folders were like this:

C:\Users\Richard\Documents
C:\Users\Richard\Desktop
C:\Users\Richard\Downloads
etc. etc.

The re-running of the configuring window creates new copies of these folders in the same directory:

C:\Users\Richard\Documents\~My original documents, still intact
C:\Users\Richard\Documents\~Default template
C:\Users\Richard\Desktop\~My original documents, still intact
C:\Users\Richard\Desktop\~Default template
C:\Users\Richard\Downloads\~My original documents, still intact
C:\Users\Richard\Downloads\~Default template

Both have the correct icon, and the correct name. Start menu points to the new one. Windows evidently is using the new set. Logging off and back on again helps not at all.

Delete all of the new duplicate templates, Start menu now points to my original folders, refresh Desktop, all appears better. Just to be sure, log off and back on again. Problem resolved. And it never reappears.

But the experts say that it is impossible. You cannot have two folders of the same name in the same directory. NTFS does not support this ambiguity.

I promise you now that it happens. I have seen it with my own eyes (I personally believe that there must be SOME difference in the extended name somewhere - surely, unless explorer.exe is involved as well - I should have dug around, I was just concerned about my unbacked up files at the time!)

However, I have never seen the same thing happen to Program Files - but maybe it does. Have a check.

I don't actually believe that this is your problem though.

If your computer really has been reset, I wonder if the log files have been reset?

Please create a folder on your Desktop called LOGS.BT, and copy into it all of the following, if they exist (you will need to turn on Hidden Files to make sure that they exist)

If necessary, use RUN to try to find C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\. It may well be very hidden. Otherwise it actually may not exist.

C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\Panther\setupact.log
C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\Panther\miglog.xml
C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\PANTHER\setuperr.log
C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\Panther\setupapi\setupapi.dev.log
C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\Panther\setupapi\setupapi.app.log
C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\Panther\PreGatherPnPList.log
C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\Panther\PostGatherPnPList.log

C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Logs\DPX\setupact.log
C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\winsxs\poqexec.log
C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\winsxs\pending.xml.bad
C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\winsxs\pending.xml
C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Logs\*

Now create a new folder called LOGS:

C:\WINDOWS\PANTHER\setupact.log
C:\WINDOWS\PANTHER\setuperr.log
C:\WINDOWS\PANTHER\miglog.xml
C:\WINDOWS\INF\setupapi.dev.log
C:\WINDOWS\INF\setupapi.app.log
C:\WINDOWS\Panther\PostGatherPnPList.log
C:\WINDOWS\Panther\PreGatherPnPList.log
C:\Windows\Logs\DPX\setupact.log
C:\Windows\winsxs\poqexec.log
C:\Windows\winsxs\pending.xml.bad
C:\Windows\winsxs\pending.xml
C:\Windows\Logs\*

Now please right click on your two folders, Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder and upload them either to here or to any file sharing website if too large.

Really sorry about so many. As of anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, the whole suite of new Windows Update automation tools which are currently under development by me will be finished, and this process is one of very many which will be automated.

Thanks a lot!

Richard

P.S. I don't see any way of fixing this unless you find that C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\ and similar. To avoid any lost time, you can now jump back in time, however, I would recommend that you allow me to inspect your Windows Update state before restarting your computer after reinstalling an update (ie don't install any updates yet)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2011   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

Richard, I might have acted quite dumb but I can no longer give any more information or test something. As mentioned, I used one of the earlier snapshots ("system images") and reverted this vm to an earlier state, and it's working perfectly now. If this happens again, I know not to restore but instead leave it as it is for analyzing purposes.

What I meant saying it reverted to the point just after first boot after installation is that when I checked, all my installed apps were gone (Control Panel > Programs and Features list was empty), all user accounts except the one used on installation were gone, all updates were gone, activation was gone telling I have 30 days time to activate, and so on. It was as a completely fresh out-of-the-box Windows booted first time. This was, as I mentioned, a fully working Windows 7 Enterprise, licensed and running since about mid January, with Office 2010 and some analyzing software installed.

I think this might be something not possible on a real physical computer, but instead something to do with VirtualBox. It's just very interesting; I have never seen a virtual machine or a real computer with Windows 7 to completely revert to point after first OOBE boot.

Thanks for your suggestions and opinions.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


25 Apr 2011   #4

Vista Home Premium x86 SP2
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
Richard, I might have acted quite dumb but I can no longer give any more information or test something. As mentioned, I used one of the earlier snapshots ("system images") and reverted this vm to an earlier state, and it's working perfectly now. If this happens again, I know not to restore but instead leave it as it is for analyzing purposes.

What I meant saying it reverted to the point just after first boot after installation is that when I checked, all my installed apps were gone (Control Panel > Programs and Features list was empty), all user accounts except the one used on installation were gone, all updates were gone, activation was gone telling I have 30 days time to activate, and so on. It was as a completely fresh out-of-the-box Windows booted first time. This was, as I mentioned, a fully working Windows 7 Enterprise, licensed and running since about mid January, with Office 2010 and some analyzing software installed.

I think this might be something not possible on a real physical computer, but instead something to do with VirtualBox. It's just very interesting; I have never seen a virtual machine or a real computer with Windows 7 to completely revert to point after first OOBE boot.

Thanks for your suggestions and opinions.

Kari
Hello Kari!

It is no problem at all! All we could ever really have said was that update x caused it (maybe, maybe) and that the logs were/weren't wiped (they certainly shouldn't have been) and it is indeed strange that

a) Windows reverted so much
b) Windows had the media to revert to OOBE.

Very strange. I really cannot tell you why, I am afraid.

I just don't know. Sorry,

Richard
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2011   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

What do you think about this hunch of mine, this being a virtual machine issue which could not happen on a real PC?

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2011   #6

ultimate 64 sp1
 
 

kari, i've seen something like your first screenshot on one of my real pc's a while ago.

i remember being surprised by it, but it all completed successfully, with no further problems, so i filed it under 'mystery' and moved on...

i think i may have got the browser choice window as well...but as i recall, everything else was ok.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2011   #7

Vista Home Premium x86 SP2
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mickey megabyte View Post
kari, i've seen something like your first screenshot on one of my real pc's a while ago.

i remember being surprised by it, but it all completed successfully, with no further problems, so i filed it under 'mystery' and moved on...

i think i may have got the browser choice window as well...but as i recall, everything else was ok.
Hello mickey megabyte!

Yes, you will have done. That screen is allowed to appear on any Windows 7 machine, and a very similar one for Vista, but not below Vista (ie XP does not have an equivalent)

You will see it scrolling though many entries, it will only appear on large updates and service packs, it will hang on the final entry, almost always HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\COMPONENTS or very similar, and will usually succeed just fine.

However, it is actually a very dangerous time. Very dangerous. If that screen goes wrong, that is very serious indeed. A Clean Install may be required. There are a couple of solutions to try, but but often they don't fix the issue, and post-mortem backups () and a Clean Installs are required. I am glad that it went alright for you!

Also, it did NOT go wrong for Kari. His version of that screen succeeded. He had issues later, in a different part of the install process.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari
What do you think about this hunch of mine, this being a virtual machine issue which could not happen on a real PC?

Kari
Hmmmm. It is certainly true that a real computer could have a failure, a reversion, and for the reversion to be noticeable to the user.

But could there ever be an OOBE reversion? I am not sure. Reversion is not just about System Restore, but I guess that the likelihood of its possibility is comparable to the success rate of System Restoring to OOBE. Not hugely likely IMO.

And while I completely see the point about OOBE seeming far more likely on a virtual environment, that was my very first thought as well, unless there is some sort of host pulled reset switch, or host accessible media, it shouldn't make any difference to Windows.

As much as I love it, and I was going to mention it myself, the more I think about it, the more agnostic/unsure I become. I think that there might actually have been some internal Windows function happening here. I think that actually, this WAS a System Restore.

As I write this, I am not sure. The more I write, the more I veer towards what I think to be ridiculous!

I think that you need to make up your own mind or get more opinions (which will agree with you and my original thoughts) because I am too unsure - but my inner core of me says to go with what I see evidence for, and not what seems more likely.

What a post! lol.

Richard
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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