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Windows 7: User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation

23 Oct 2015   #1000
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

I need some time to get through this. I'll make a cup of espresso before starting, will post as soon as I have something to say


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Oct 2015   #1001
tjg79

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

Thanks Kari.

I only thing I can think of is that there is something hidden in that relocate.xml file.

Before I did the Win 7 Pro x64 install, I cleaned the Win 7 DVD and ran CD Check in compare mode with another identical Win 7 DVD to ensure the DVD was fully readable and a corrupted file wasn't loaded during the install. These are both OEM Win 7 distribution DVDs with different keys. They are not copies.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2015   #1002
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

I find no reason for the error. I suspect it's the RAID.

Personally I see no reason to use RAID today. Maybe in a server storing sensitive information but that's it. Today the hard disks and solid state drives as well as backup and imaging solutions are so fast and reliable that RAID in my opinion cannot be reasoned with any speed, reliability or security arguments.

Your computer, your decisions, I am just stating my own honest opinion.

Possible other reasons for the error could only be either the drive identification or the install.wim not found or not being valid, standard Windows image.

About the drive identification: When installed, Windows likes to name the first optical drive as D: and the secondary HDD or second partition (not counting system reserved partitions) on first HDD as E:. I have seen issues with this procedure when the D: drive (set as new folder location in Answer File) is seen as D: when in Audit Mode but then seen as E: when Windows reboots to OOBE.

Just to eliminate this you could do a test run, changing the drive letter of your optical drive E: to D: and the hard drive D: to E:, also editing the answer file accordingly (both folder locations and CPI image location). I doubt this will work but as so often in computing, sometimes the most illogical solution is the one that works

But, as I mentioned I believe your culprit is RAID. If that's the case then this method will not work for you.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2015   #1003
tjg79

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

When I first entered Audit Mode, the first task was to setup the D: drive on the partition. Windows had assigned D: and E: to my two DVD/CD drives. So, I changed the drive letters on the DVD/CD drives to F: and G:. I then used the D drive letter for the other partition to set up the D: drive.

I can take the RAID out of the equation. I can set the SATA drives to RAID in the BIOS only to make them RAID Ready and not setup the RAID type and partition sizes in the Intel BIOS RST utility. It's been a while, so I can't recall, but I don't think I'll have to F6 the Intel RST driver during the Win 7 install. I'll just have one 1 TB SATA drive installed and I'll set up the partitions and format during the Win 7 install. There will be no RAID configuration other than the BIOS being set to RAID, but no drivers. The BIOS SATA options are IDE, AHCI and RAID. My SATA options are AHCI and RAID. I'll remove the second DVD/CD drive as well. Hopefully, Windows will assign the second partition as D: and the DVD/CD as E: Once the Win 7 is installed, I'll boot into Audit Mode and make another attempt to move the folders to the D: drive. After Win 7 is up and running with the system on C: and the User folders on D:, I'll create the RAID configuration with the Intel RST Utility for Windows.

I use the Intel Desktop RAID as hassle free insurance against drive failure. When an hdd fails, I'm still up and running while the hdd is being exchanged under warranty. Six years ago, I bought 4 Seagate Barracuda 5-year warranty drives and installed them on this then new motherboard into a RAID 0 for performance. That was a big mistake. If one drive fails, all is lost. I did have two major failures within the first year due to drive firmware and I had to send the failed drive, each time, to Seagate under warranty to have the firmware updated, so they could be re-inserted back into my RAID 0 so I could start the machine. I then changed to RAID 5 for security and performance. That has worked very well, because of my 4 Seagate Barracuda drives, all were replaced within the 5-year warranty due to failure. Each time I had a drive failure, the RAID 5 continued to perform while the bad drive was out to Seagate for warranty exchange. The drives had accumulated over 30k power-on hours. The Seagate Barracuda are not Enterprise drives. Now that my Barracudas are out of warranty, but low hours due to warranty exchange, I've upgraded to Enterprise Class 5-year warranty Seagate Constellations. These drives can tolerate the high power-on hours where the Barracudas could not. Seagate doesn't offer a 5-year warranty on new Barracudas anymore. I've had at least 7 or 8 hdd failures over the past 6 years and the Intel RST Desktop RAID 5 configuration makes each failure event a non-hassle low stress event. With Intel Desktop RAID 5 or RAID 1, there is no need to re-image or reload the OS if an hdd fails or needs to be replaced due to imminent failure. Your typical desktop hdd will fail if you let it run continuously and log over 30k to 40k power-on hours. Many fail with over 20k power-on hours.

I'll start over with only one drive configured into two partitions and try the xml script again in Audit Mode.

I'll post again if I've got any issues or the system is up an running with the User folders on D:.

Thank you for the assistance.

Regards
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Oct 2015   #1004
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tjg79 View Post
I'll post again if I've got any issues or the system is up an running with the User folders on D:.
Please notice that my opinion about RAID was just that, my personal opinion, and was in no way meant to be critical or negative in any way .

Keep us posted, I am quite interested in learning how it went for you.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2015   #1005
tjg79

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

I didn't take your opinion on RAID as anything other than your opinion. I think most desktop users have no interest in a desktop RAID. Although, the Intel RST program is used for more than just RAID configurations. I haven't had to reload or re-image the OS for hdd failure since I've used Intel RST RAID 5 configuration for my hdds. That's at least the last five years. It's been so long since I've done a clean install that I've had to relearn everything I've forgotten. These tutorials are a great asset.

I've reloaded, new clean install, the Win 7 onto one SATA drive and partitioned the drive during the Win 7 install. Windows was installed on C: and assigned the D: drive letter to the other partition. The DVD/CD drive was assigned driver letter E: There were no drivers installed and the Intel BIOS RAID Configuration Utility didn't even appear in POST.

The xml script failed again in Audit Mode for the exact same reason. The log files are attached below:

Sysprep log files 2.zip

I suspect the problem is the xml file. Something is not being written properly. Perhaps the text needs to be changed.

Do you know for certain that it will work on OEM Win 7 as well as Retail Win 7?

What if the file was copied to a directory other than the root directory of C: or D:? I've tried both.

The only other thing I can think of is reloading the OS with the SATA set to AHCI in the BIOS. I'm not sure if that would cause anything to change. If it fails with AHCI set, then this script won't run on this motherboard and that doesn't seem right.

Do you have any other ideas? I'd really like for this automated script to work.

Regards


My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2015   #1006
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

First, if the answer file is simply copied from the PDF tutorial, it is correct, no errors. The answer file you have posted looks to be the one, but even if you would have written the one you have posted by yourself, it too is correct.

If you are up to do a test run really "by the book", here's what I suggest:
  1. Boot to Audit Mode
  2. Open this tutorial: Windows 7 Image - Customize in Audit Mode with Sysprep. That tutorial is huge, I ask you now in this test only do the parts told below in this list!
  3. Forget anything else in that tutorial, jump directly to Part 7 and install Windows SIM as instructed
  4. When installed, jump to Part 9 for instructions for using Windows SIM to start a new answer file
  5. Next, do the optional Part 9.1 in the tutorial to set up the folder locations
  6. Finally, jump to the end of Part 9.2 to see how to validate and save your answer file
  7. Save the answer file as unattend.xml in C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep folder (use this exact name and location!)
Now you have created the answer file for sysprep by yourself, "by the book", as it should officially be created. Now sysprep with this command (notice: no /unattend switch!):
Code:
%windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /oobe /reboot
BTW, do not forget to stop the WMPNetwork Service as told at the very end of this tutorial! Forgetting it causes a fatal error in most cases. Quote from the end of the tutorial:
Quote:
Based on my own experience, sysprep does not always like Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service (WMPNetworkSvc). Reason is unknown to me. If you get an error message when trying to run the XML script, end the service and try again.

Type this to Command Prompt to stop the mentioned service and press Enter:
Code:
net stop WMPNetworkSvc
Kari



P.S. To explain step 7 in the list above, the name and location of the answer file, here's a quote from a post of mine in a tutorial thread on our sister site the Ten Forums:

Quote:
There are two ways to sysprep with an answer file.

Method 1:
  • Save the answer file in C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep folder as unattend.xml (you must use this name!)
  • Run the sysprep command without /unattend switch, the answer file will be automatically read and used, machine is automatically shut down after the sysprep if /quit or /reboot switches are not used
  • Example commands:
    • sysprep /generalize /oobe (sysprep with unattend.xml, shutdown when ready)
    • sysprep /generalize /oobe /quit (sysprep with unattend.xml,, quit to desktop when ready)
    • sysprep /generalize /oobe /reboot (sysprep with unattend.xml, reboot to OOBE when ready)
Method 2:
  • Save the answer file anywhere you want to naming it as you wish with the extension .xml
  • Run the sysprep command with /unattend switch giving the name and location of the answer file you want to be read and used
  • Example command:
    • sysprep /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend:X:\MyAnswerFile.xml
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2015   #1007
tjg79

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

I'll do the test run by the book.

I just completed the Win 7 install again this time with the SATA set to AHCI in the mb BIOS. The install was exactly like I described in my previous post.

I got the same result. The log files are attached below:

Sysprep Log Files 3.zip

Now, on to the test!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2015   #1008
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

It's almost 1 AM here but I am an insomniac, staying up. Keenly awaiting your results!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2015   #1009
tjg79

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

The AIK is a huge file, 1.7 GB. The download bar indicates 6% downloaded and only 1 hr 18 min remaining. I've only got DSL @ 3 Mb/sec.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation




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