Heads up: Users cannot upgrade to 8.1 Pro if 7 User Profile was moved?

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  1.    #1

    Heads up: Users cannot upgrade to 8.1 Pro if 7 User Profile was moved?


    I got two cases on this today. It was the subject of an Ed Bott article a year ago though I hadn't heard anything until now. It seems some users wanting to upgrade to 8.1 Pro have been stranded and are blaming moving User profile based on Ed Bott's article Don't move your Windows user profiles folder to another drive | ZDNet. The latest case used Kari's tutorial for User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation.

    I don't yet fully know the irreversibility of this and whether it might also apply to User Profile - Change Default Location. Will Method Two to Restore User Profile to Defaults suffice for either method of moving?

    I've never recommended moving the entire User Profile but only the active User folders, mainly because of the thicket of file associations involved in AppData.

    Kari and Shawn may be needed to help in UNrelocate User Profile Prior to Upgrading and another thread I'll find the link for.
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  2. Posts : 19,384
    Windows 10 Pro x64 ; Xubuntu x64
       #2

    That Ed Bott article is incorrect. Kari will be able to explain a lot better than I can.
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  3. Posts : 50,642
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Good to know. My first instinct is that he's a commentator and not a help expert. Strange that there were two posts referencing this today.

    It would be great to have something to link for this and I hope this is replied to his article.
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  4. Posts : 17,322
    Win 10 Pro x64
       #4

    Golden said:
    That Ed Bott article is incorrect. Kari will be able to explain a lot better than I can.
    Kari's response to that article is on page 4 of the comments.

    Don't move your Windows user profiles folder to another drive | ZDNet

    I have to most respectfully disagree!

    As far as I can recall, this is the first time I have to disagree with you :). Not because I have written a few tutorials on those "third party websites" as you put it to instruct in doing this but because what you are saying is simply not valid and true.

    Let's start with this extract from your article:

    "Important

    This setting should be used only in a test environment. By changing the default location of the user profile directories or program data folders to a volume other than the System volume, you will not be able to service your Windows installation. Any updates, fixes, or service packs will fail to be applied to the installation. Microsoft does not recommend that you change the location of the user profile directories or program data folders. [emphasis added]"

    That is, to put it simple, absolutely totally not true. Since introduction of Windows Vista all my Windows systems private and business have had the main Users folder relocated on another partition than C: using sysprep and unattended answer file. I have never had any issues with Windows update nor with in-place upgrade installations.

    As the method discussed changes the value of an internal windows environment variable, it is so well "hard coded" in system that Windows Update will recognize it and has no issues.

    When upgrading I simply run sysprep on Windows first, using an answer file I relocate the Users folder back from E: to C:, reboot, run in-place upgrade and sysprep once again, moving Users back to E:.

    Not a single issue. This laptop I'm using now was upgraded in above mentioned way from 7 to 8 august of 2012 and again August this year to 8.1, system files and folders except Users folder on C:, Users on E:, and the machine is working just fine, all updates done, Windows Update working as it should.

    As Windows has evolved, so have its tools like sysprep. You did notice that the TechNet article you are referring to is already several years old (for instance it's using Vista Home Premium to Vista Ultimate as an upgrade example)?.

    I can understand that there must be days with nothing new to write. However, scandalizing totally working methods and spreading false information is not a good way to get something published, if you ask my opinion.

    Kari
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  5. Posts : 50,642
    Thread Starter
       #5

    The solution Kari offers to create a new Answer file applies to his tutorial to move User profile, but how about User Profile - Change Default Location which doesn't involve SysPrep? Does it avoid these issues? Would restoring default location work for both?

    Inasmuch as Kari's tutorial was referenced by the inquiries today, I'll refer them and future such cases to him.

    Thanks for the assist.
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  6. Posts : 17,545
    Windows 10 Pro x64 EN-GB
       #6

    gregrocker said:
    I got two cases on this today. It was the subject of an Ed Bott article a year ago though I hadn't heard anything until now. It seems some users wanting to upgrade to 8.1 Pro have been stranded and are blaming moving User profile based on Ed Bott's article Don't move your Windows user profiles folder to another drive | ZDNet. The latest case used Kari's tutorial for User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation.

    I don't yet fully know the irreversibility of this and whether it might also apply to User Profile - Change Default Location. Will Method Two to Restore User Profile to Defaults suffice for either method of moving?

    I've never recommended moving the entire User Profile but only the active User folders, mainly because of the thicket of file associations involved in AppData.

    Kari and Shawn may be needed to help in UNrelocate User Profile Prior to Upgrading and another thread I'll find the link for.
    I will response in a more detailed way within next hours but in the mean time I want you to read this post of mine in one of my tutorials: User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation

    Although the post handles Windows 8, the same methods and procedures apply to Windows Vista and Windows 7.

    Kari
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  7. Posts : 50,642
    Thread Starter
       #7

    Thanks, Kari. Whatever you post will be word, and linked.
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  8. Posts : 17,545
    Windows 10 Pro x64 EN-GB
       #8

    gregrocker said:
    Thanks, Kari. Whatever you post will be word, and linked.
    OK, here we go. A bit long post but I tried to keep it as short as possible:

    This quote is from quite beginning of the referred article:

    What about this error?

    "Sorry, it looks like this PC can't run Windows 8.1. This might be because the Users or Program Files folder is being redirected to another partition."
    As all geeks, including the writer of that article certainly know that error message like that or anything similar does not exist. I repeat: that is invalid information. I can only guess why it was included in the article.

    Later on the article the writer refers to a Microsoft TechNet support article, written when Vista was still in beta; since those days both Windows and its native tool Sysprep have evolved. A native Microsoft tool Windows® Automated Installation Kit (AIK) for Windows® 7, free to download makes relocating the Users and / or PrograData folders really easy by automating the creation of an unattended answer file needed to give instructions to Sysprep when it is run.

    Below a screenshot showing how this feature is included in Windows System Image Manager, a key component of the Windows AIK:


    (Screenshot from the Seven Forums tutorial Windows 7 Image - Customize in Audit Mode with Sysprep, Part 9. Creating an Answer File)

    The same tool is also available for Windows 8 with a bit different name: Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows® 8

    A bit logics now: Microsoft has included a semi-automated tool Sysprep in Windows, the tool which can be used for customizing the Windows image as you wish including for relocating two system folders in question (Users and ProgramData, only system folders which can be relocated without issues). Why does Microsoft create a special tool for a special procedure if using it would ruin your system? A native Microsoft application named Automated Installation Kit, which is used to create instructions for a built-in Windows tool Sysprep in form of a so called unattended answer file has a built-in feature which when used destroys your Windows installation? I do not buy it.

    Anyway, here are some indisputable facts:
    • Updates work totally normally on a sysprepped system with relocated folders
    • A sysprepped Windows with relocated Users and / or ProgramData folders can be upgraded
    • If upgraded by clean install, a later version of Windows completely replacing the current version and no settings, installed apps and user data kept, it's straight forward:
      • Boot the PC with the upgrade version, select Custom install, wipe the C: drive and install.
      • When done, move the user data in profile folders of the previous installation to C:\Users
      • BTW, this is one of the reasons why relocating by Sysprep is so practical; in this example user could let his Users folder with all profiles and data sit on the drive he had relocated it in previous OS version, then after clean install just copy files over.
    • If user wants to do an in-place upgrade on a sysprepped system with relocated Users and / or ProgramData:
      • Simply relocate said folders back to C: by following the procedure told in this tutorial, only changing the FolderLocations variables to point the C: drive.
      • Now do the in-place upgrade
      • When done, if you want to sysprep your newly upgraded Windows to relocate the Users back to another drive, you will get an error telling you cannot sysprep an upgraded Windows. A minute of registry editing solves this:
        • Remove the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > Setup > Upgrade
        • Change the value of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM > Setup > Status > SysprepStatus > CleanupState to value 7
        • Run command slmgr /dli on an elevated Command Prompt
        • You can now run Sysprep

    That's it. This whole "issue" and article used to confirm it is a non-issue, it does not exist. Feeling a bit "poetic" now, I could finish with the name of a play by William Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing!


    gregrocker said:
    The solution Kari offers to create a new Answer file applies to his tutorial to move User profile, but how about User Profile - Change Default Location which doesn't involve SysPrep? Does it avoid these issues? Would restoring default location work for both?
    Whatever method is used to move / relocate the main profile folder Users, parts of it or any other system folders, the same method must be used to move / relocate said folders back to C: for an in-place upgrade or repair install to work.

    Additional reading about this subject, two posts in the tutorial thread:
    User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation
    User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation

    Kari


    EDIT:

    Just for posterity, here's a screenshot to show how valid fact the "relocated Users folder causes Windows Updates to fail" is, as the referred article and some other sources claim. Screenshot shows that my Windows 8.1 main profile folder is located on E: drive and not a single failed update. Click to enlarge and zoom in:

    Heads up: Users cannot upgrade to 8.1 Pro if 7 User Profile was moved?-304228-walkthrough-customize-windows-7-image-audit-mode-sysprep-2014-01-31_075252.png
    Last edited by Kari; 18 Sep 2014 at 06:19.
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  9. Posts : 20,583
    Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
       #9

    That is scary smart Kari :)
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  10. Posts : 19,384
    Windows 10 Pro x64 ; Xubuntu x64
       #10

    ThrashZone said:
    That is scary smart Kari :)
    Thats why we keep him in a box and only let him out on Thursdays and Fridays.
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