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

24 Oct 2015   #1030
tjg79

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

What would happen if you just created the answer file and saved to the Sysprep folder and rebooted back into Audit Mode? I suspect nothing would be moved, because I get the impression that it only executes the command to move the folders on a reboot to OOBE mode.

Also, once the answer file is created and saved to the Sysprep folder, it would likely execute without running the commands from the cmd prompt window. I suspect if you simply clicked the Sysprep pop-up box to restart with OOBE selected, the system would then execute run the command on the first run from Audit Mode to OOBE mode.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Oct 2015   #1031
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tjg79 View Post
Success!
NICE!!!

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tjg79 View Post
When I executed the file, I knew something was working differently, because the system rebooted twice. When I entered OOBE and checked the location of the Users folder, it was on the D:\. The ProgramData folder is not visible on either C:\ or D:\, but it is likely hidden or will likely appear when it has something saved to ProgramData.
ProgramData is by default a hidden folder.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tjg79 View Post
I don't see any reason why this wouldn't work perfectly as intended running an install on Intel Desktop RAID. I will try that next.
Worth a try! I believe it will work.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tjg79 View Post
As for the previous failures, I think that when you copy text from a pdf file, you are also copying some formatting commands that aren't visible. I think that is what happened on the first attempt. There must have been some hidden format commands copied that were not compatible with a proper answer file.
For the past five years this tutorial has existed it has got about half a million views, all the users done this by copying the answer file text, this is the first time I know this happened. I myself copy the text from the PDF when I need it (the same answer file works in every version of Windows from Vista to 10), and it has always worked.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tjg79 View Post
Also, rather than copy code and paste into notepad, I think it's better to load the AIK and run the SIM to create the answer file directly saved to the sysprep folder.
Very true!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Oct 2015   #1032
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tjg79 View Post
What would happen if you just created the answer file and saved to the Sysprep folder and rebooted back into Audit Mode? I suspect nothing would be moved, because I get the impression that it only executes the command to move the folders on a reboot to OOBE mode.
You can for instance sysprep and then return to Audit Mode, nothing will be changed and your customizations will not be done until you boot to OOBE.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tjg79 View Post
Also, once the answer file is created and saved to the Sysprep folder, it would likely execute without running the commands from the cmd prompt window. I suspect if you simply clicked the Sysprep pop-up box to restart with OOBE selected, the system would then execute run the command on the first run from Audit Mode to OOBE mode.
Correct. However, better to learn to launch sysprep manually, according to the Microsoft the Sysprep GUI will be deprecated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Oct 2015   #1033
tjg79

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

Success when installed with Intel Desktop RAID active.

The first attempt failed on a RAID ready (SATA Drives set to RAID in BIOS, but no RAID configuration or Intel driver installed) when I created the answer file with SIM on a different Win 7 install and copied the file to the Sysprep folder. The file ran, but didn't move the folders.

The second attempt succeeded on a RAID ready (SATA Drives set to RAID in BIOS, but no RAID configuration or Intel driver installed) when I created the answer file on the system with SIM and saved directly to the Sysprep folder.

The third attempt failed on a Intel RST Desktop RAID 1 when I copied the answer file created during the second (successful) attempt directly to the Sysprep folder. The file ran, but was locked into a reboot loop and couldn't return to the desktop in either Audit Mode or OOBE Mode.

The fourth attempt succeeded after I reinstalled the OS on an Intel RST Desktop RAID 1 when I created the answer file on the system with SIM and saved directly to the Sysprep folder.

Each time, it's important to stop the WMPNetworkSvc.

For me, copied answer files don't work. I've got to create them for each run on the system with Windows System Image Manager (SIM).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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25 Oct 2015   #1034
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Thanks for the update. You have the Windows AIK DVD now burned, it's a piece of cake to install Windows SIM when needed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Oct 2015   #1035
tjg79

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

Now that the Users folder and Program Data folder are on D:, must System Restore be set active on D: as well? On my previous install, I had moved the location of non-hidden Documents folders to D: and Windows backup would backup the documents on D: and image the C: drive weekly. System Restore was active only on C:. Do I need to image the D: drive to fully restore the system from a virus? D: is now part of the system due to the hidden system folders. What are the recommended settings for restoring or reimaging the system now?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Oct 2015   #1036
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

As the whole Users folder is now on D:, it means that the essential user specific AppData folders (Local, LocalLow & Roaming) are also on D:. They need to be included both in System Restore and System Image. The same with "all users AppData" folder ProgramData, it's essential for system restore. If you use restore points, you need to enable them both on C: and D: drives.

When you then need to restore, the amount of available restore points is determined by the the drive which has less shadow copies available; set the reserved space for restore points to same percentage on both drives to assure they both can save the same amount of shadow copies!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2015   #1037
tjg79

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

I think moving the Users and Program Data folders to another drive is a good idea and not for just space limitations. I think the OS is more stable when these types of files and folders aren't collocated with the system files. But, restore points, imaging and backup become a bit problematic. I don't need or want my documents, pictures and videos, imaged weekly or part of every restore point, because it'll take up too much space. Now I'm thinking of shrinking my D: to create an E: so that I can change the location of the Documents folders for more efficient imaging and restore points.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2015   #1038
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

The software you have installed relies heavily on the user specific (AppData) and all users (ProgramData) application data. Leaving it out from a restore point or a system image means that when you restore the system, Windows system files and application install folders will be restored but the application data not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2015   #1039
Clairvaux

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
As the whole Users folder is now on D:, it means that the essential user specific AppData folders (Local, LocalLow & Roaming) are also on D:. They need to be included both in System Restore and System Image. The same with "all users AppData" folder ProgramData, it's essential for system restore. If you use restore points, you need to enable them both on C: and D: drives.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
The software you have installed relies heavily on the user specific (AppData) and all users (ProgramData) application data. Leaving it out from a restore point or a system image means that when you restore the system, Windows system files and application install folders will be restored but the application data not.
So, what would be the correct backup and restore method ?

Suppose one enables System Restore on both C and D ; and one regularly does backups of C and D through Macrium Reflect or some similar software.

Suppose something wrong happens system-wise, and one tries to correct it by using Windows' Restore points. What would happen ? Would Windows be clever enough to roll back back whatever in ProgramData and AppData pertains to the system itself, and not to roll back whatever in there is "user data" in a common-sense way ? For instance, would one be able to repair one's system without losing one's last mails, or the last adjustments made to software menus ?

And another situation : suppose the problem is not corrected by Windows' Restore points, and one decides to restore from a Macrium image. When you image C and D with Macrium, it makes a single image file, but when restoring from it, you can chose C, D or both.

What would be the correct choice ? If you restore only C, do you run the risk of not repairing something system-related which might be in ProgramData or AppData, or of creating inconsistencies because the system itself on one hand, and ProgramData + AppData on the other hand, wouldn't be restored to an identical point in time ?

And if you restore C + D, obviously you would lose any recent changes to your documents, so that must be out of the question, right ?

(By the way, I've now done my second sysprepping installation on the lines of your other, mammoth tutorial, and I'm happy to report that it works. I even added some extra touches to the Answer file like setting up two user accounts for myself instead of one, putting the product key in two different places so that the product key input screen wouldn't show at all, instructing Sysprep to retain drivers despite the Generalize switch, and setting the time zone. Although I spent a lot of time chasing errors that prevented Sysprep to execute the Answer file. And I'm still not out of the woods for this install , but that's not related to Sysprep -- at least, I don't think so ! )
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 User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation




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