1.    10 Sep 2016 #1
    Join Date : Sep 2016
    Posts : 2
    windows 7 / windows 10

    Stuck in infinite boot loop after attempting to move users folder


    Machine:
    Alienware M17x R5 Laptop

    OS:
    Windows 10 Pro (upgraded from Windows 7 Pro)

    What caused the problem:
    1. I wanted to change the locations of the users directory from C:\ (SSD partition that contains the OS) to W:\ (HDD)

    2. I followed the following guide in the video:
    Windows 10 - Relocate the Users folder Part 2 - YouTube

    3. As the computer was one that was previously upgraded from Windows 7, I followed the instruction regarding changing the registry key as well, in this related forum thread:
    Users Folder - Move Location in Windows 10 - Windows 10 Forums


    The problem:
    1. Following the guide took me to 7:35 part in the video (Restarting...)

    2. However, instead of taking me to the screen at 7:41, the machine was stuck for a long time (like 5 min), which forced me to reboot

    3. Machine is never able to enter windows, but is stuck in infinite boot loop
    (reboots after being stuck on windows logo screen on few seconds)



    I was never able to enter windows, so I was forced to use command prompt to look through the computer. It appears that that for very strange reason, the HDD (intended destination of the Users folder, originally W:\) was reassigned to be C:\, while the SSD partition with the OS (originally C:\) was reassigned to F:\ ??? Therefore maybe the root of the problem is the machine might be trying to boot windows from the new C:\ (which contains nothing but the Users folder), while ignoring the new F:\ (the old C:\ that contains the OS)...


    Later, I realized that there may have been 2 errors in the relocate.xml file, which was the following:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
    <settings pass="oobeSystem">
    <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
    <FolderLocations>
    <ProfilesDirectory>W:\Users</ProfilesDirectory>
    </FolderLocations>
    </component>
    </settings>
    <cpifflineImage cpi:source="wim:E:\sources\install.esd#Windows 10 Pro" xmlns:cpi="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:cpi" />
    </unattend>
    First, since the install file in my usb was .esd instead of .wim, I think cpi:source="wim: should have been changed to cpi:source="esd:

    Second, since the original operating system installation was Korean language, language="neutral" should have been language="korean" maybe?



    In any case, the machine is stuck in infinite boot loop and I'm unable to access windows. I'm unable to enter OOBE nor boot into audiot mode. I'm only able to boot it using the USB which takes me to windows installation mode.

    Is there any way to undo the sysprep that I did following the guide, and restore the system without having to reinstall windows? It would be best if that can be avoided, since it would destroy all of my personal data, programs, drivers, etc.
    Last edited by kcheeb; 11 Sep 2016 at 03:17.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    10 Sep 2016 #2
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 114
    WIndows 10

    Disconnect the drive that was W


    Have you tried unplugging the drive that is now C and then booting?
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    10 Sep 2016 #3
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts : 12,425
    Windows 10 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by kcheeb View Post
    I followed the following guide in the video:
    Windows 10 - Relocate the Users folder Part 2 - YouTube
    The video you mentioned as well as the tutorial mentioned in video description are both made by me. In the video description you can read the following:

    See tutorial at the TenForums.com before trying this! Users Folder - Move Location in Windows 10 - Windows 10 Forums
    When you click the tutorial link in video description, a Ten Forums tutorial will be opened. In that tutorial you will find this warning:

    warning   Warning
    Please read this before proceeding!

    Windows "likes" to set the the drive ID letters like this:
    • Drive C: > The system drive where Windows will be installed
    • Drive D: > First optical drive (CD / DVD drive)
    • Drive E: > Second partition on the same disk where the C: is located, or in case that disk only has one partition, the first partition on the secondary disk

    Now when you sysprep telling it to move the Users to a specific drive, after the reboot Windows might find that intended target drive for Users folder has another drive ID letter and your intended drive D: is now E:. Sysprep fails and you have to reinstall.

    To be sure you are able to use your chosen partition for the relocated Users folder you need to set the drive letters manually before the sysprep is run. In Audit Mode you can do this for instance with Disk Management by manually changing the drive letters. In below example I want to secure that Users folder will be moved to D drive:
    • Change the optical drive letter to something at the end of the alphabet, I use X:
    • Change the drive letter of the partition or disk you intend to use for the Users folder to D:
    • If the partition or disk you want to use already has a letter D:, change it to something else, close the Disk Management, open it again and change the letter back to D:

    See the tutorial at our sister site the Seven Forums: Drive Letter - Add, Change, or Remove in Windows - Windows 7 Help Forums

    I recommend to always set drive letters manually to override the defaults.


    The reboot loop, Windows being unable to finalize setup (OOBE) is in your case caused by system not finding the W: partition. It is completely irrelevant if the W: drive was present and visible in Audit Mode, if you did not check and set drive letters manually as told in above warning it is not 100% sure that drive will be W: when Windows exits Audit Mode after sysprep and enters OOBE.

    Processor architecture component in answer file must and can only be either x86 or amd64. If it is set wrong, sysprep simply ignores given instructions and continues. It does not cause the boot loop, in your case it had simply ignored instructions in answer file and kept the Users folder on drive C:.

    Language setting in Shell-Setup component has nothing to do with Windows install language. It must always be set to neutral.

    You cannot use install.esd instead of install.wim, again something told in tutorial. If you have no Windows install media with install.wim file you can simply remove the CPI Source line from the answer file, take away the line highlighted yellow in below code sample (it can be removed, it is not obligatory command line):

    Code:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
    <settings pass="oobeSystem">
    <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
    <FolderLocations>
    <ProfilesDirectory>D:\Users</ProfilesDirectory>
    </FolderLocations>
    </component>
    </settings>
    <cpi:offlineImage cpi:source="wim:E:\sources\install.wim#Windows 10 Pro" xmlns:cpi="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:cpi" />
    </unattend>

    You have exactly three alternative ways to get your Windows fixed:
    1. Restore a recent system image
      -- OR --
    2. Restore the PC to factory conditions using manufacturer restore media
      -- OR --
    3. If no images exist and restore is not possible, start from scratch and reinstall Windows



    Quote Originally Posted by Looey View Post
    Have you tried unplugging the drive that is now C and then booting?

    That is bad advice! If sysprep is given instructions in answer file to move a system folder to a non-existing disk and partition, it causes a reboot loop. You are telling the OP to try to fix a reboot loop by intentionally causing a reboot loop.

    Kari
    Last edited by Kari; 10 Sep 2016 at 20:26. Reason: A lot of typos!
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  4.    11 Sep 2016 #4
    Join Date : Sep 2016
    Posts : 2
    windows 7 / windows 10
    Thread Starter

    It's very strange because the users folder was already moved, which means that it recognized the disk as if it exists.

    If that is the case, what is causing the reboot loop?

    And the HDD drive was set manually to W: in disk manager. Because previous to that the drive letter was D:, which I was told to avoid.

    Also, the computer was never able to enter OOBE and instead was stuck on "Restarting...", so I had to manually restart the machine by holding the power button.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 


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