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

26 Apr 2014   #810
crawfish

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
Crawfish, have you even tried the process yet, or are you just making comments, or trolling?
I explained what I'm doing here in my first post and reiterated it in my last one. After seeing this thread bumped in "New Posts" here and at eightforums a million times due to all the problems people have applying it, I'm trying to understand if anything has changed since I concluded its subject was a bad idea back in 2008 or so, after doing it myself for NT4/2K/Vista. I've documented various issues that I did not see mentioned on the first page or in the PDF, which I think people considering following Kari's advice should consider and compare and contrast to the much less drastic yet nearly as space-saving alternative of moving data folders.

Quote:
"Disaster scenarios" are the result of two things, inability to read or bad hardware.
It's not just disaster scenarios that I've been talking about, and glibly dismissing their inevitability as you've done is just so strange to me. We can have a conversation if you respond to what I've written, but this last post of yours is just uselessly argumentative, and I won't entertain any more like it.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Apr 2014   #811
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Perhaps this is also, in your opinion, "uselessly argumentative", but I have used this method, very successfully, several times, maybe 7, without issue, except when I forgot to disable the WMP network service the 1st time.
Again, have you tried it?

If you have and encounter issues, then we can argue talk about them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Apr 2014   #812
crawfish

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
Perhaps this is also, in your opinion, "uselessly argumentative", but I have used this method, very successfully, several times, maybe 7, without issue, except when I forgot to disable the WMP network service the 1st time.
Given that I haven't once said it doesn't "work", either you're still being "uselessly argumentative", or you haven't been reading very carefully. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that it's the latter, or I wouldn't be responding now. I guess your next post will probably settle the question.

Quote:
Again, have you tried it?
I have no reason to try it. I get all the space saving I need out of moving data folders. I have no doubt that moving Users and ProgramData "works". I also have no doubt that it brings with it the issues that I don't care to deal with that I've already discussed, that I avoid by moving data folders. My only question is if Windows 7 handles the missing profile drive better than Vista, and I can't get any kind of answer on that.

Quote:
If you have and encounter issues, then we can argue talk about them.
I've been talking about consequences of using this method. If you choose to live with them, that's up to you, but I think it would be nice to have them spelled out, rather than being left to stumble upon them later. Is that really so difficult to understand?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Apr 2014   #813
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

If your user data disk crashes, you lose your user data exactly as if you would lose it if it was located on system drive when it crashes. Worst case scenario: reinstall.

I will end this useless discussion from my part by repeating this once more:

If any of you find a real or potential issue regarding the sysprep method to relocate Users and / or ProgramData folders, please let me know and I will check and add them to the tutorial.

Thank you.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Apr 2014   #814
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
I will end this useless discussion from my part by repeating this once more:

If any of you find a real or potential issue regarding the sysprep method to relocate Users and / or ProgramData folders, please let me know and I will check them and and them in to the tutorial.

Thank you.

Kari
True Kari the guy is talking about something he hasn't tried. HE states there's no reason to try it yet has to try to pick it apart. I sure hope my systems don't blow up or something dire.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Apr 2014   #815
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Yes.

Backup and restore: Check
Reinstall: Check
Disk crash: Check

I really have nothing more to say.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Apr 2014   #816
InputOutput099

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Hi Kari, it's been awhile since I posted last and have only recently been able to apply your advice for my Vista system. It worked beautifully as you showed in your post, BUT...while Windows Updates does work, I am getting the "Can't upgrade to service pack 2 because components are missing". When I followed the tutorial I used my Vista Ultimate disk not vLite or any other unattended install disk so I am puzzled to why it would throw that error. Not wanting to derail the topic at hand since I know this is the Win 7 forum (and I am too new to PM you.), any advice you can give would be great because I was happy with the result just want to make sure everything is working properly. Especially before I try this on my Win 7 system. Thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Apr 2014   #817
crawfish

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Unsurprisingly, my concerns from my first message were well-founded.

1. Since no answer was forthcoming, I created a new VM with two hard drives and applied Kari's procedure to a new Windows 7 w/ SP1 installation. After finishing the installation and verifying the Users and ProgramData folders had been moved to the second drive, I shut down Windows, copied the VM for future testing, and deleted the second drive from the original VM using the VMWare Player interface to simulate what happens when the Users/ProgramData drive has died, or you need to boot with just the system drive connected for troubleshooting or whatever reason. I for one would like to be able to use my Windows installation under those conditions, which have occurred IRL for me; after all, the "real" system drive is fine.

Let's see how it goes.

2. I booted the VM, and unsurprisingly, Windows didn't like that the Users/ProgramData drive was missing. It gave me this logon screen, which I cropped to keep the image size down:

User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation-1.jpg

3. I pressed OK, and it took me to this logon screen:

User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation-2.jpg

Choosing "crawfish" brought me right back to the screen in (2), and pressing OK there brought me back to (3). Wheeee.

4. Pressing "Other User" (What's that? I don't know.) brought me here, which was strange because I haven't entered any user names other than "crawfish", nor have I created any passwords:

User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation-3.jpg

5. Perplexed, I pressed the right arrow, and it took me here:

User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation-4.jpg

6. I pressed OK, and I was back to (4). Then I tried "administrator" for the name, and it took me here:

User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation-5.jpg

7. I tried double Ctrl+Alt+Del, and that didn't work, because Microsoft did away with it in Vista. So just like what happened to me in Vista when my profile drive failed, I found myself locked out of the system. Note that this is in the "much more evolved Seven", as Kari put it one of the several times he rudely dismissed my questions, clipped out the parts which preempted his "Are you serious?" type responses, etc, which I had to tediously unravel in my replies as I was trying to have a meaningful discussion.

8. So, there's no getting into my Windows installation, despite the data drive being the only thing that has gone wrong, except it's not really a "data drive", is it? It's really a second system drive, and Windows has been split across two system drives, creating a new failure mode. This would not have been a problem if I had stuck to moving data folders; then the failing or unavailable data drive really would be just a "data drive", and I would still have full use of my Windows installation.

9. Now let's try the F8 troubleshooting options:

Last Known Good Configuration: No help, exactly the same result.
Repair Your Computer: System Restore = No restore points have been created; Startup Repair = Startup Repair could not detect a problem.

No luck here.

10. The only option that got me into the computer was Safe Mode, with all its limitations. If you can't correct the problem there, you sure aren't going to be able to use your computer normally in Safe Mode, not to mention your ProgramData folder is missing, so programs that use it won't work right. Your system is effectively dead, when if you had just moved data folders, you could still use it, because there is nothing wrong with the system drive. If you had been backing up your data to file-based backups, you could easily retrieve what you need and use it then and there. Instead, if the Users/ProgramData drive has actually died, you're faced with restoring a system image, which remember, requires two drives. Oops.

To add to the fun, I also got frequent annoying message boxes as I navigated around Explorer in Safe Mode:

User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation-6.jpg

Conclusions

While of course it works, Kari's procedure creates a new failure mode that is every bit as bad as it was in Vista when my profile drive died, after which I wised up and stopped doing this sort of nonsense circa 2008.

In contrast, moving data folders leaves you with a self-contained, fully functional system image that requires only one drive to restore, while moving Users/ProgramData requires two of sufficient capacity, which you may not have at the moment you need them while waiting on an RMA or whatever. Leaving Users/ProgramData on the system drive also means you can operate the system with just the system drive connected, which is very nice when the data drive dies or you are troubleshooting and need to disconnect all but the system drive.

The lion's share of space-saving is achieved by moving data folders, which avoids the new failure mode. Note that if you accept the consequences of moving Users/ProgramData and want to reduce system image sizes, you still have to move the data folders, which means needing a third partition or drive for the data folders in addition to the two drives for system and Users/ProgramData.

Most people aren't going to think of any of this stuff until they trip over it. All these things should be mentioned in documentation of the procedure, with the emphasis being that moving Users/ProgramData is an extreme measure and the absolute last choice, with moving data folders being the best practice. These days, 120 GB SSDs are cheap and way larger than most people need for a system drive, and I can't see there's even a space-saving reason to want to move Users and ProgramData anymore; remember, it doesn't help with system image sizes, and all it ever helped was reducing the space needed on the system drive. More than ever, my advice is to move just the data folders using the UI in Windows Explorer and call it a day.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Apr 2014   #818
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by InputOutput099 View Post
Hi Kari, it's been awhile since I posted last and have only recently been able to apply your advice for my Vista system. It worked beautifully as you showed in your post, BUT...while Windows Updates does work, I am getting the "Can't upgrade to service pack 2 because components are missing". When I followed the tutorial I used my Vista Ultimate disk not vLite or any other unattended install disk so I am puzzled to why it would throw that error. Not wanting to derail the topic at hand since I know this is the Win 7 forum (and I am too new to PM you.), any advice you can give would be great because I was happy with the result just want to make sure everything is working properly. Especially before I try this on my Win 7 system. Thanks
You have two options with Vista:
1) Do first updates, including the SP2, first thereafter sysprep to relocate Users
2) Use Sysprep on an existing installation to relocate folders back to C:, install SP2, use sysprep again to relocate folders to new location

Kari


Note   Note
@Crawfish, can't you find another place to troll? This is a serious IT forum, with serious real issues. Generally speaking, I could start posting these "made with purpose" errors and start telling people how they show that something is not working. Clean Install Windows, then format C: and surprise surprise Windows does not boot! That's the essence of your posts, using a similar example.

Who on earth is so stupid that intentionally moves users to another drive, disconnect said drive and comes here to complain that user profiles are missing. Of course they are missing because YOU DISCONNECTED THE DRIVE!!!

Do you really mean that I should add a warning to the tutorial, like this:

warning   Warning
If your disk dies or you disconnect it, Windows might have issues in finding your data!


I usually do not react when I see a troll. I apologize to all readers of this thread, I have tried my best to keep it clean and solve your relocating and sysprep issues together with Britton and other active members. Let's do that in the future, too, do not let this troll to scare you. S*** happens, disks die, even on single drive systems.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Apr 2014   #819
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Kari, even I can see the fish is not following your protocols which have, and continue, to work for 1000s of people. Don't respond except to real people who want real help and not some hogwash solutions to hogwash procedures. He has said a few times he won't do this anyway and has had issues with older OSes so I don't see him having luck with w7 either.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results".
~Einstein.
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 User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation




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