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Shortcut restoration in Vista - Reverse Migration

    Question

  • On 14 July I attempted upgrading my Vista Ultimate system to Win 7 Ultimate. The Win 7 upgrade bombed horribly after it chewed through 379 gigs of disk space, ending with an unrecoverable error and aborting the installation while trying to write the Windows.old data.

    In an attempt to recover my Vista installation I was able to boot from a WinPE cd and renamed Windows to Win 7 (3gb in size) and then renamed Windows.old (two pices of them, one 10gb and the other which was moved to another partition of 286gb - merged together) to Windows. I know this will cause a proverbial plethora of problems. But it HAD to be done as I depend on this system for work. I have 8tb of data and legacy programs, part of it backed up via Carbonite (about 300gigs). All of it RAID1. But of course, when Win 7 hosed the install, it hosed what was on the mirrors too.

    The BIGGEST problem I have at the moment is the "loss" of my Start Menu programs and their shortcuts. I have done the typical "rebuild your icon cache!" and other general suggestions for this "issue" (for which I need a tissue). All to no avail.

    Where there were once viable shortcuts, there are now blank page icons next to the program names. When you right click one of these former shortcuts, the Shortcut tab is completely missing from the properties page. I'd post a picture of what my current Start menu looks like but I don't see an upload capability here. Try this link instead: http://fastpc911.com/wherermyshortcuts.jpg 

    My question is this: Since Win 7 wiped ALL previous restore points, I can't do a system restore. When I right-click one of these shortcuts to nowhere, then choose Open Containing Folder nothing happens. I don't know how to repair these shortcuts. Is there a utility that will fix these for me? Would an inplace repair/upgrade of Vista restore them? Or am I going to have to manually recreate all 14,000 .lnks on my system? 

    Enquiring minds want to know ......

    Thursday, September 02, 2010 5:49 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

     

    Thanks for posting in Microsoft TechNet forums.

     

    It seems that the shortcuts get missing or corrupted. By default, the Start Menu shortcuts for programs installed on computer are stored at the following folder:

     

    %SystemDrive%\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

     

    The Start Menu shortcuts for the current user are stored at the following folder:

     

    %SystemDrive%\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

     

    Please go to the folder %SystemDrive%\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs and see if program shortcuts are there. If so, copy the shortcuts to the folder %SystemDrive%\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs You’d better check both the Win7 folder and Windows folder

     

    If there aren’t shortcuts located, you may need to recreate shortcuts for each programs.

     

    Moreover, you could try putting in Windows Vista installation disc and performing a Startup Repair to fix the problem.

     

    Startup Repair

    ==============

     

    Note: Please ensure that the DVD-ROM is the first booting device.

     

    1)      Please insert the Windows Vista DVD and reboot the computer.

    2)      When we are prompted to press a key to boot from the DVD, please press Enter or the space bar.

    3)      Choose your language settings, and then click Next.

    4)      Click Repair your computer.

    5)      Select the operating system you want to repair, and then click Next.

    6)      On the System Recovery Options menu, click Startup Repair. Startup Repair might prompt you to make choices as it tries to fix the problem, and if necessary, it might restart your computer as it makes repairs

     

    Best Regards

    Dale Qiao

    TechNet Subscriber Support in forum. If you have any feedback on our support, please contact tngfb@microsoft.com

     


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”
    Monday, September 06, 2010 2:55 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for getting back to me Dale.

    In checking the Win 7 folder it becomes clearly obvious to the most casual of observers that the upgrade from Vista Ultimate to Win 7 Ultimate failed at the point where it was creating the start menu programs list (and associated icons).

    In the Win 7 folder at

    ·         %SystemDrive%\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

          there are 6 empty folders: Accessories, Administrative Tools, Games, Maintenance, Startup and Tablet PC. They were all created within seconds of the time that the system crashed because of running out of space on the system partition. Nary an Icon to be found.

     

    ·       %SystemDrive%\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

         

          there are 5 completely empty folders: Accessories, Administrative Tools, Maintenance, Recuva and Startup. Again, nary an icon anywhere. So it it obvious these folders are of no worth whatsoever.

     

    In the Windows.old folder at

    ·         %SystemDrive%\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

     

          there are 247 program folders and 33 icons. Some of those icons are apparently working versions of what's missing in my main All Programs menu. Like the Windows Calendar and Calculator, Defender, and all those CS4 icons are here too. All of the icons' graphics are displaying properly and the Shortcut tab IS accessible via Properties and you can Open File Location.

     

    ·       %SystemDrive%\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

         

          there are only 71 folders and 5 icons. It would appear that I am missing 176 folders and 28 icons? 

     

    In the current WINDOWS folder at

    ·         %SystemDrive%\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

     

          The exact same 247 folders and 33 Icons (plus 4 more from recent installations) show up here and look exactly as everything does in the Windows.old folder, but the shortcuts' icons are blank pages and right-clicking the icons and going to properties shows us a number of tabs, but NOT the Shortcut tab. Open Containing Folder (not File Location as it should be) goes absolutely nowhere too.  

     

    ·       %SystemDrive%\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

         

          there are only 66 folders and 5 icons. Compared to Windows.old  there are 5 folders missing. But since my current user account is also an admin account I assume I should be seeing all  247 folders and 33 icons mentioned above.

     

     

    THE MOST INTERERSTING thing about all of this is that what's in the Windows.old folder, and "looks" like it works, DOES indeed work; but the exact same thing in the current Windows folder doesn't work. I can click the icons in the Windows.old folder and they brings up everything as expected.  I decided I was going to be smart and copy just the adobe.com shortcut from the Windows.old folder (which I verified is a working shortcut) to the current Windows folder. I was prompted about replacing the old file with the new file and when I looked at the data for each they are EXACT duplicates. Same creation dates, same file sizes, same names with a .lnk extension.

     

    SOOOO I copy the shortcut from Windows.old to Windows and giving Admin permission to do so and telling the UAC to just copy the darn thing, and the GOOD Acrobat.com shortcut is once again a BAD shortcut. Busted, back to where I was before. I actually remember copying all this stuff out of the Windows.old folder into the active Windows folder last week. I used UltraCompare *awesome program* and did a recursive folder compare of the two folders and found where all those icons and folders were completely missing from the current /.../.../.../.../.../.../...Programs folder.

     

    When that didn't fix my problem last Wednesday I opted to make use of the forums.

     

    So what needs explained is why the shortcuts work flawlessly in the Windows.old folder, but once you move that puppy/those puppies to the Windows folder it goes belly-up/appetite-over-tin cup etc.

     

    I am going to try the Repair (again). Wondering if I should go ahead and copy everything from the Windows.old Programs folder to BOTH locations in the current Windows folder.

     

    DOES a utility exist that can repair shortcuts? I have one that will remove broken shortcuts. But the shortcuts are being broken every time I copy them into the current Windows folder. hhhrrmmmmmmm

     

    DO me a favor and look at the screenshot at this link:

     

    http://fastpc911.com/missingSID.jpg 

     

     

    Do you see what I see? I am comparing the Acrobat.com link in the current Windows folder with Windows.old. Beside there being two tabs missing from the properties window (Compatibility and Shortcut) there is another VERY important thing missing (well .... maybe).

     

    There is no Owner and associated SID shown in the Details tab of the broken link.

     

    How does one reassociate ones broken .lnk files with the proper Owner/SID? AHA!! I think that's the actual problem here.

     

    Registry entry eh? Got to take ownership of it? OR is it the NTFS folder permissions that are broken here? (I changed file permissions on it as my choice.)

     

    Or does this really matter? It is the ONLY difference I have found between working and broken links.

     

    Or is it merely the fact that the files need copied to the current USER directory/roaming profile?

     

    OH, and check this out ... http://fastpc911.com/permissions.jpg 

     

    Batting the digital ball back into your court ...

     

     

     

     

     

    • Edited by fhqwhgads Monday, September 06, 2010 11:07 PM FIXT 7 errors
    Monday, September 06, 2010 9:22 PM
  • OH one more interesting link

    http://fastpc911.com/writerestricted.jpg

    I think this was a left over from the failed upgrade process. 

    Monday, September 06, 2010 9:33 PM
  • Please try restoring files from Windows.old folder:

    How to restore a Windows 7-based computer to a previous Windows installation by using the Windows.old folder

     

    Best Regards

    Dale Qiao

    TechNet Subscriber Support in forum. If you have any feedback on our support, please contact tngfb@microsoft.com


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”
    Tuesday, September 07, 2010 2:27 AM
    Moderator
  • Please try restoring files from Windows.old folder:

    How to restore a Windows 7-based computer to a previous Windows installation by using the Windows.old folder

     

    Best Regards

    Dale Qiao

    TechNet Subscriber Support in forum. If you have any feedback on our support, please contact tngfb@microsoft.com


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”


    Thanks for the link. Been there, done that. I went to that article and did those exact steps as my first action after the upgrade failed.

    There was one major problem with this. It didn't work as expected because the Win 7 upgrade ran out of HDD space, the system crashed, and when it crashed it left EVERYTHING, including the Windows.old folder it was creating, in a woefully incomplete state. I followed the instructions re recovering  the previous windows installation using the Windows.old folder and THAT is what got me to the state I am in now. I am now running my crippled old Vista system, after days of manually fixing things. I did the steps mentioned in KB971760 but didn't get the expected result because the Windows.old folder was incomplete. You would think that Win 7 would do a quick HDD space check at the beginning of the process and fail the installation if 2x or 3x the size of the current Windows folder exceeded the free space on the partition.

    I do have SOME of my icons back now. What I did yesterday was add the missing permissions to the folders I posted links to yesterday (see screenshots above). When I rebooted my system it took 12 minutes to rebuild the icon cache but now I have a lot of my shortcuts back. Not all of them. There are some shortcuts within "folders" in the All Programs menu that are still screwy. And when I click the almighty ORB now it takes 90 seconds or more for the menu to populate itself. And when I scroll thru my All Programs list I am getting really weird lag and graphical distortions. Also, when I click to open a particular folder (like Microsoft Office) it takes a LONG time to open up. SO I have broken something in the process of fixing it.

    It may be that by copying the Programs Data folders and icons into the Roaming profile I have created a set of duplicates somewhere. The systems is acting like it has to read thru an INCREDIBLY long list of program data folders and icons to open the Start Menu. This system is a Core 2 Quad with 4gigs of ddr3 1600 memory and an ATI 5770 with 1gig of DDR5 on it. Shouldn't be this laggy now (wasn't before), so either copying the program folders and icons caused the problem, or rebuilding the icon cache did it. Or setting the permissions. They are the only actions I have taken since starting this thread.

     

    • Edited by fhqwhgads Wednesday, September 08, 2010 4:50 AM added SOME of
    Tuesday, September 07, 2010 4:32 PM
  • I noticed that you got icons back now. Conguratulations. However, there is some lag while opening Start Menu. I would like to recommend you to run the command: SFC /SCANNOW to automatically repair the system files and see if it gets the situation better. Alternatively, I would like to suggest you creating a new user profile.

    Best Regards

    Dale Qiao

    TechNet Subscriber Support in forum. If you have any feedback on our support, please contact tngfb@microsoft.com


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”
    Wednesday, September 08, 2010 1:26 AM
    Moderator
  • I don't think congrats are in order just yet. I have SOME icons back, not all icons. Like I said in a previous post there are a number of icons within the programs folders in the start menu that remain broken/dysfunctional. Things are better, but not fixed.

    You haven't made any comments about the permissions being different on working shortcuts versus broken shortcuts. I'd like to know your take on this. I'd also like to know what you have to say re the missing SID. Once I removed the WRITE RESTRICTED user, and added Authorized Users and Administrators and USERS to the permissions of the broken folders a few things cleared up, but not everything.

    I ran SFC /SCANNOW and nothing was found in error or replaced. At least there were no messages to that effect.

    I created a new user file (which it took 15 minutes to switch user/log into), but I believe my Default User profile is in the same condition my Current User profile was, i.e. broken. When I created the new user account I was back to a Start Menu full of blank page icons and totally broken shortcuts. So I would have to repair the Default User and All User profiles before I create any more new accounts. Otherwise I am just propagating more of the same errors throughout the system. I deleted the newly created user profile as it is obviously broken, and instead of fixing it I sent it to the Big Bit Bucket in the Sky.

    Do you know of a Registry location that mimics the Start Menu entries? I am thinking I have two start menus in there for the current user.

    Wednesday, September 08, 2010 4:46 AM
  • Hi,

     

    Based on my research, you may check the following registry entries:

     

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

     

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

     

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

     

    HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

     

    Find the Start Menu in above folder and review if the path is set to %UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

     

    Best Regards

    Dale Qiao

    TechNet Subscriber Support in forum. If you have any feedback on our support, please contact tngfb@microsoft.com


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”
    Thursday, September 09, 2010 9:33 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi Dale!

    Thanks for the reply. I wanted to fill you in on something I just discovered. Going back to your original reply where you mentioned the ProgramData folder, well ... I have THREE of them.

    I was sitting here attempting to uninstall Office 2007 (because the upgrade to 2010 fails just like everything else has failed). Add/Remove programs failed. The Windows Installer Cleanup Utility failed. I was looking at doing a manual uninstall but found the FixIt tool (Microsoft Fix it 50154) which does an automated uninstall of Office12 products. While running this tool, I was watching intently when it mentioned it was "Searching For Shortcuts." Well search it did, and it found more than it bargained for. It found active shortcuts in THREE ProgramData folders.

    For SOME unknown reason, when the Win 7 upgrade crapped out, it left the following folders:

    ProgramData - 2.31gb with 17,101 files and 3,626 folders

    ProgramData(40021) - 720kb with 37 files and 63 folders

    ProgramData(154558) - 1.14gb with 3,174 files and 1,124 folders

    Funny thing is the ProgramData(154558) folder is the one that is HIDDEN like the OS is using it. The other two are not hidden.

    So, IF the start menu items are stored in the "ProgramData" folder, and I have 3 of them, any recommendations re consolidating them? I can't really tell if the system is using the HIDDEN ProgramData(154558) folder, or using the non-hidden ProgramData folder, OR if it is actually using BOTH of them which may be the reason for the lagalicious response of my Start Menu and icons/shortcuts within program folders which are still broken.

    Ever run into this number in parens/multiple folder thing? It's a first for me in my 30 years of workin on PCs.

      

    WONDERFUL!!!!

    Just finished the brand new clean installation of Office Pro Plus 2010.   Peachy. Except for the fact the dang shortcuts don't work!!!

    Check it out: http://fastpc911.com/newinstallbadshortcuts .jpg

    Thursday, September 09, 2010 9:39 PM
  • Hi Dale!

    Thanks for the reply. I wanted to fill you in on something I just discovered. Going back to your original reply where you mentioned the ProgramData folder, well ... I have THREE of them.

    I was sitting here attempting to uninstall Office 2007 (because the upgrade to 2010 fails just like everything else has failed). Add/Remove programs failed. The Windows Installer Cleanup Utility failed. I was looking at doing a manual uninstall but found the FixIt tool (Microsoft Fix it 50154) which does an automated uninstall of Office12 products. While running this tool, I was watching intently when it mentioned it was "Searching For Shortcuts." Well search it did, and it found more than it bargained for. It found active shortcuts in THREE ProgramData folders.

    For SOME unknown reason, when the Win 7 upgrade crapped out, it left the following folders:

    ProgramData - 2.31gb with 17,101 files and 3,626 folders

    ProgramData(40021) - 720kb with 37 files and 63 folders

    ProgramData(154558) - 1.14gb with 3,174 files and 1,124 folders

    Funny thing is the ProgramData(154558) folder is the one that is HIDDEN like the OS is using it. The other two are not hidden.

    So, IF the start menu items are stored in the "ProgramData" folder, and I have 3 of them, any recommendations re consolidating them? I can't really tell if the system is using the HIDDEN ProgramData(154558) folder, or using the non-hidden ProgramData folder, OR if it is actually using BOTH of them which may be the reason for the lagalicious response of my Start Menu and icons/shortcuts within program folders which are still broken.

    Ever run into this number in parens/multiple folder thing? It's a first for me in my 30 years of workin on PCs.

      

    WONDERFUL!!!!

    Just finished the brand new clean installation of Office Pro Plus 2010.   Peachy. Except for the fact the dang shortcuts don't work!!!

    Check it out:  http://fastpc911.com/newinstallbadshortcuts.jpg


    To simplify this problem, let's just try and solve the latest thing that happened, i.e. I totally remove Office 2007 and install Office 2010, and after doing so, the icons/shortcuts that were put in my Start Menu/All Programs menu are broken blank pages to nowhere and the Shortcuts tab is misison in the properties... again. THIS is the problem we need to fix.

     

     

    Monday, September 13, 2010 7:01 PM
  • Please perform an In-place upgrade. In-place Upgrade is a special upgrade process to repair the system. In-place Upgrade will not affect settings like photos, movies, documents, etc. that are saved on the computer. It won’t require activation again.

    1)    Perform a clean boot in the current operating system.

    2)    Insert the Windows 7 Installation Disc to your DVD-ROM drive. If AutoPlay pops up, click “Run setup.exe” directly.

    3)    Click “Install now” on the “Install Windows” screen.

    4)    In the “Get important updates for installation” screen, it is recommended to select the first option to download latest updates for installation, if Internet access is available.

    5)    Check the box “I accept the license terms” to agree with the installation license and click “Next”.

    6)    In the “Which type of installation do you want?” screen, click “Upgrade” to perform the In-Place upgrade.

     

    Then, follow the wizard to finish the In-place Upgrade process.

     

    Best Regards

    Dale

     


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”
    Tuesday, September 14, 2010 5:48 AM
    Moderator
  • Please perform an In-place upgrade. In-place Upgrade is a special upgrade process to repair the system. In-place Upgrade will not affect settings like photos, movies, documents, etc. that are saved on the computer. It won’t require activation again.

     

    1)    Perform a clean boot in the current operating system.

    2)    Insert the Windows 7 Installation Disc to your DVD-ROM drive. If AutoPlay pops up, click “Run setup.exe” directly.

    3)    Click “Install now” on the “Install Windows” screen.

    4)    In the “Get important updates for installation” screen, it is recommended to select the first option to download latest updates for installation, if Internet access is available.

    5)    Check the box “I accept the license terms” to agree with the installation license and click “Next”.

    6)    In the “Which type of installation do you want?” screen, click “Upgrade” to perform the In-Place upgrade.

     

    Then, follow the wizard to finish the In-place Upgrade process.

     

    Best Regards

    Dale

     


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”

     

    Hi Dale,

    Maybe you forgot, but I am not running Win 7. I am running Vista Ultimate Sp2 (am I in the wrong thread?). And my DVD won't allow an in-place upgrade because I haven't slipstreamed any service packs into it yet. I have an Original Issue Windows Vista Ultimate DVD from Sams sans any service packs at all. If you use this DVD on my system it does a total WIPE. No in-place upgrade is available. UPGRADE is not a choice.

    best, michael 

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010 9:32 AM
  • Is that the chirping or crickets I hear? Feeling abandoned here. 12 days without a reply.

    Some further data ... Since the last post I have done brand new first-time-ever installations of Visio 2010 and Project 2010 to go along with my newly installed Office Pro 2010. And guess what? The icons are blank pages and the shortcuts are not shortcuts. See pic linked below.

    http://fastpc911.com/visioprojectbroken2.jpg

    I think solving this one tiny problem will open the door to the rest of what's been discussed here. How do I get my newly installed Visio and Project 2010 icons to work?

    Anyone?

    Sunday, September 26, 2010 9:06 PM
  • Hello?
    Wednesday, October 13, 2010 1:23 AM