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

13 Apr 2015   #930
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Is machine already sysprepped and the drive contains these left over folders, along with new system folders? If yes, take ownership of the folders and delete them. Tutorial, Option Three is for you: Take Ownership of file

Not yet sysprepped machine, folders not yet relocated? Format the disk.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Apr 2015   #931
Kieran28

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Hi Kari,
I'm not sure I understand the two scenarios you've described, so I'll describe the state I am in:
I followed your "old school" tutorial through step 6, except that I skipped creating any users yet. I burned a backup image of the system with no users created. Only the main system drive (SSD) was connected. I then ran sysprep again in order to be able to reboot to audit mode. I shut down, connected my 1TB HDD, and rebooted. As a reminder, this HDD contained the Programdata and Users system folders from my previous installation. I thought I had deleted them, but was unable to delete the main admin folder (named Kieran), and the programdata folder. I must have somehow moved the Kieran user folder as it is now in the root of that hdd (so currently e:\kieran) and it is empty except for a "google drive" subfolder which I cannot open, nor delete. Also the hidden system folder programdata exists at the root of the HDD, e:\programdata which is also empty except for a folder named Microsoft, which contains several folders I can't delete.
System is currently booted in audit mode. I am ready to run your "relocate" script, but want to remove these remnants of the previous system, and can't.
I tried the "To Manually Take Ownership of a Item" part of Brink's tutorial to which you linked, and assigned ownership to [currentmachine]\Administrator but now when I try to delete it, the system says I need permission from that Administrator user to make changes.
Thanks for any further suggestions...
Kieran
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Apr 2015   #932
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Sorry, I slept a few hours and had an appointment with my doctor first thing in the morning, seeing your post first now.

It is the latter of my two scenarios (previous post of mine) then. Format the HDD before continuing. Then sysprep with answer file relocating the Users (and ProgramData if you mve that, too) and reboot. All should be done now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2015   #933
BobCochran

Window 7 Ultimate X64
 
 
Question About How To Restore User Profiles

Hi Kari,

About 3-4 years ago I built a Windows 7 computer, and at that time I followed a method I found on the Internet for having all the user profiles kept on a separate hard drive. It was like your method, except I also had to create junction points. So all my user profiles lived on a different drive e:\Users. The ProgramData lived on e:\ProgramData, too. The Windows drive was C:\.

Everything worked very well until a few days ago.

Then what happened is, my drive C: crashed and was no longer usable or readable.

So I purchased a new SSD, and reinstalled Windows according to this thread. I had thought that I could just set my answer file to point to the user data that is on e:\Users, and the installation would "reconnect" to those user profiles and not try to establish a c:\Users folder. However, the installation failed.

After some research, it seems to me that I missed a crucial step: I probably should have exported my user profile information using Windows Easy Transfer to something like an external hard drive prior to my system drive crashing. Is that correct? Put another way, was there user profile data which is not kept within the user profile directory (e:\Users) that would be needed to successfully re-connect a fresh, new Windows installation on a new hard drive with the user data that is on the separate hard drive?

Thanks a lot for any advice you can offer.

Bob Cochran
Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Apr 2015   #934
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BobCochran View Post
So I purchased a new SSD, and reinstalled Windows according to this thread. I had thought that I could just set my answer file to point to the user data that is on e:\Users, and the installation would "reconnect" to those user profiles and not try to establish a c:\Users folder. However, the installation failed.
Hi Bob, welcome to the Seven Forums.

We had a similar issue only a few weeks ago, let me start with quoting a few posts from that conversation. Read the below quotes:

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kieran28 View Post
Hi Kari,
A few years ago when I built my system I followed your tutorial to move the default location of user folders to my 1TB D: HDD, and installed Win7 on the 128GB SSD. Due to an unresolvable infinite repair loop problem, I'm now planning to just do a clean re-install of the OS on the SSD.
Is it possible to do a clean re-install on to the SSD, and have the new installation recognize the existing user folders on the D-drive (HDD)?
Thanks in advance,
Kieran
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
No Kieran, I am afraid it is not possible. Windows always starts after a clean install with empty user profile folders (read: no personal content).

The drive where you have the Users folder now located should not contain a folder named Users when you sysprep. It should also not be renamed to something else but totally removed. This is the short checklist to do what you want to do correctly:
  • Backup your personal content from all user profiles to an external drive
    • Do not include the AppData folders in this backup! Using old appdata on new installation is a sure way to get a screwed up Windows. Only copy and backup the docs, pics, music, videos, saved games and such
  • Shutdown the PC
  • Disconnect the HDD, only leaving the SSD connected
  • Boot with Windows 7 install media, perform a clean install
  • When installation is done and you get to first dialog asking you to create the initial first user account, enter Audit Mode with CTRL+SHIFT+F3
  • When in Audit Mode, close the Sysprep GUI by clicking Cancel and shutdown the PC
  • Connect the HDD
  • Boot the PC, it boots automatically back to Audit Mode
  • Wipe the HDD clean, create a partition for the Users folder
  • Run the Sysprep relocating the Users folder
  • When ready and you are on the Windows desktop with your usual user account, restore the backed up personal content
Kari
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kieran28 View Post
Thanks very much for the prompt reply.
Is it absolutely necessary to wipe the HDD clean?
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
No, it's not necessary. What is important is that it does not contain any Windows system folders or files from any old installation, not even renamed.

If the only system folder the HDD contains is Users, backup the personal content and remove the folder. Also if you had used this method to relocate the ProgramData folder, remove it, too.

All other content can stay on the HDD. Notice that backing up the content of the Users folder to another folder on the same drive is a no go, too. The user files will in that case remain flagges belonging to an older Windows insallation.

That's about it, is sums your situation, too. In your case the process would be exactly what I recommended to Kieran above. The first list item means you should copy all user data, personal files from all existing user profile folders on the HDD to an external storage.

Any questions, please post here.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2015   #935
BobCochran

Window 7 Ultimate X64
 
 

Hi Kari,

Thank you very much. So what I would do is: after running the sysprep which relocates the user folders, I would, as an example:

  • Create a user named Bob
  • Log in as Bob
  • Then copy all of the data files and folders for the user named Bob from the backup (external) had drive to the new home directory for Bob -- which is on the separate hard drive I've designated for the system's Users folder. I would not copy the old AppData folder at all. I would copy the contents of the old Documents folder for Bob to the new Documents folder for Bob (Since Windows 7 put it there for me on the new system.)

Is a good example of what you mean?

Thanks again. I think I understand thoroughly what you are saying, it seems quite clear to me. I really appreciate your response very much because you gave me sufficient detail that I feel confident in the next steps. And since I have good backups of the user data, I am okay about making mistakes.

So many thanks

Bob
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2015   #936
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Yes, your example is correct, that's exactly the way to do it. You would copy from the external backup storage, from each user profile folder (Users\Bob, Users\Wife, Users\Son and so on) everything to corresponding folder in the new main profile folder Users, but you would not copy anything stored in AppData. The AppData is hidden by default for a reason, old AppData and ProgramData on a new installation is a sure way to disaster.

OldUsers\Bob\Documents to NewUsers\Bob\Documents, OldUsers\Public\Downloads to NewUsers\Public\Downloads, OldUsers\Wife\Music to NewUsers\Wife\Music and so on.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Apr 2015   #937
BobCochran

Window 7 Ultimate X64
 
 
Thank you very much!

Hi Kari,

Thank you very much for your excellent advice. I have reinstalled Windows 7 properly so that the user data is now on a separate drive. That part is working fine now. I created the users that I need to, and logged into the accounts of each of these people, and then logged out of them. Now I'm letting Windows 7 update itself after validating it.

In a few hours I will start copying user data from the backup disk that I created. One quick mention of the AppData folder. One of my users finds Microsoft Outlook to be an important part of her life, and I think Outlook keeps its *.pst and *.pab files inside the user's AppData folder, so I will dig them out of the old AppData folder and copy those files over -- just the Outlook data files.

Again, many, many thanks for your help. Your excellent directions really give me confidence and clarify the steps I need to take.

Thanks

Bob
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Apr 2015   #938
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Regarding the Outlook, I would rather create the needed email accounts first in Outlook, then import the old PST files to those accounts. Matter of how you are used to do it, I guess .

Good to hear it's working for you!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Apr 2015   #939
BobCochran

Window 7 Ultimate X64
 
 

Hi Kari,

The method you suggest works extremely well. I've installed various bits of software like the latest Java JRE and moved all the data for 2 users on that machine to their respective home directories and logins and data access seem to work fine.

Thanks again for the excellent, professional advice.

Bob
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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