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Windows 7: windows 7 upgrade and rollback both failed, no access to desktop

31 Oct 2012   #1

windows 7 ultimate x64
windows 7 upgrade and rollback both failed, no access to desktop

I attempted to do an in place upgrade. After the upgrade was apparently complete the screen went black and there was no activity. I waited a bit, but no change; so I decided to force reboot my computer. I entered safemode and received a message about the upgrade not being successful and rollback process taking place--but then I received additional bad news: the rollback was not successful.

Now when I attempt to boot into Windows 7 I cannot access the desktop, only the following command prompt:


If I boot from my Windows 7 DVD, the first thing that comes up is a screen that says "Windows Boot Manager" It then tells me to choose which operating system to start, but only one is listed:

Windows Setup [EMS Enabled]

If I choose this I get the usual "Windows is loading files..." screen and am taken to the main Windows Install. I tried all the repair options; none has any effect.

I have been able to find very little information on this problem on the web, and no solution; the few threads I have found on the subject have led me to the conclusion that my best option right now is just to do a clean install.

I have two partitions on my disc, my main system partition (C) and a data partition (D). It looks like the Windows Installer took the letter D for itself and has created its own partition, called "Windows Setup Rollback."

One complication is that, although the upgrade failed, it used a sizable amount of space on my system partition while it was working and my system partition now just barely misses the cutoff for GB required in order to do a clean install, so I would need to install the system onto my data partition, not onto the C partition. I thought about using the commandline to move files from C to my data partition and make space. But I can't do it. All of my folders in the user directory show up as empty, and I cannot find my data partition at all via the commandline, only the new D Rollback partition the installer created.

If I do a clean install to my Data partition, will there be some way for me to access my user data afterwards?

I am guessing that all of my User data is now held within the "Windows Setup Rollback" partition. It is not being held in the usual 'Windows.old' folder; I can't find any folder with such a name in the directory; and I don't know how to access this special Rollback partition or extract data from it.

I am also concerned about what will happen to the Rollback partition if I do a clean install on my Data partition rather than the C partition. (Because the data partition was using D before the Rollback partition claimed that letter.)

Does anyone know if it will be possible for me to access the rollback data if I do a clean install on my second partition? Will Windows preserve this partition as letter D and assign my new Windows 7 partition a new letter?

Any suggestions for the best way to go about this, so that I can get my system back up and running without losing the rollback data, would be greatly appreciated!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP


Boot into the installer and look at the partitioning on the Drive Selection Screen. Your data partition should still be there. You can browse in using the installer to Explore the data to confirm it's there or Copy & Paste - in Windows Recovery Console.

As you've found this is not a rational backup method. Your files should always be backed up externally, even to the cloud using the 7gb which comes free with MS Skydrive, which can also Sync Any Folder to Your SkyDrive Account | PCWorld

Once your files are secured I would choose the System Reserved (100mb) boot partition and Win7 partition to delete using the Installer's CUstom Drive Options, then create a new partition there for install which will also create a functioning boot partition for the Clean Install Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2012   #3

windows 7 ultimate x64

Hi Greg. Thanks for your reply and for telling me about the file browser which I wasn't aware of before.

Using the browser I have been able to find the the Installer has created the following folders in my directory:


Both the INPLACE and the Q folders appear to contain my user files, the inplace in a subdirectory called MACHINE. This MACHINE directory in the INPLACE folder seems to contain more of my data than the Q folder. So I'm guessing data was being copied from INPLACE to Q at the time the upgrade failed.

I am a little hesitant to tamper with these directories and would like to do a clean install without formatting onto the C drive. I have removed 2 GBs of data from my CD drive and should now have enough room to do the install; the problem is the installer doesn't see I have removed the data, presumably because it is still in the recycle bin. Is there any way I can empty the recycle bin from the installer disc? Or is there some other tool or utility I can use to gain access to the file structure and empty the recycle bin?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

31 Oct 2012   #4
Microsoft MVP


Why would you need to do that? Just copy out the data to external (not a Recycle Bin) using the method I showed you, then delete it along with the partition when you do the Clean Install Windows 7.

If you want to preserve the partition and install elsewhere, you can use free Partition Wizard to resize the partition to make new unallocated space, create and format a Primary NTFS partition for a new install preferably at the beginning of the HD. If you run into any problems doing this post back a camera snap of the drive map and listings from PW CD.

Partition Wizard Move/Resize Partition Video Help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2012   #5

windows 7 ultimate x64

I wanted to do that so as not to mess with the data, because I don't know for sure how Windows Installer has distributed my programs and User data in the Installer folders. My data seems to be in both the Q folders and the MACHINE folders, fewer items in Q, as if some folders had been duplicated and others had not,--I am a little confused by this and I don't want to risk losing anything.

Do you know if all my data is in the MACHINE directory in the INPLACE folder? If I just copy that can I be sure of retaining everything?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2012   #6
Microsoft MVP


Copy it to see. Once it's on the external open it on another PC to see if your data is intact.

Or follow your original idea to install to another partition you have available or shrink using PW CD. The video shows you how.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 windows 7 upgrade and rollback both failed, no access to desktop

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