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XP Pro upgrade to Vista Ultimate - Lost User Files RRS feed

  • Question

  • I did an upgrade from XP Pro to Vista Ultimate.  The upgrade process completed without any obvious problems.  Then I noticed that all of my user files were missing.  They were supposed to be in users\...user...\documents\...user...\, but the documents folder did not contain the ...user... folder.  Also, my Outlook 2003 .pst and settings were missing.  I had to start the Outlook service as a first use startup.    I was pretty stupid in not backing up my user folders/files and Outlook info, but I was sort of misled by the Microsoft indications that an upgrade would retain user files and settings.  The upgrade occurred on 1/20 - 1/21. I have worked with three different Microsoft support people on the problem, but as of this date (2/13/2008) there has been very little progress.  The last person I was with contact with (an escalation engineer) has not replied to my last communication, which was sent on 2/7.  Considering the length of time and the lack of progress with Microsoft support, I have just about given up on being able to recover my lost information.  All the Microsoft and non-Microsoft programs migrated successfully.  So, my question is: has anyone else experienced this type of problem with an XP to Vista upgrade?  If so, I would love to hear about the result.

    Friday, February 15, 2008 4:48 AM

Answers

  • Hi there!

    Just an update, I searched high and low for a solution.  Low and behold, Microsoft actually had one on their site.  I followed these directions to go back to my previous OS so I can BACK IT UP before trying to upgrade again.  It appears to be working great!  I hope this helps someone else!  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/933168
    Wednesday, October 15, 2008 6:33 AM
  • Hi, what could and I always do, is keep the files remotely on the server. Just check what provider you use then see if they have any archives on your old e-mails.
    Wednesday, July 4, 2012 7:04 PM

All replies

  • Hi--the same thing happened to me.  I just upgraded from XP Media Center 2004 to Vista Home Premium.  All of my programs are there, but the user files are not (although the hard drive appears to be filled to about the same capacity as it was before the upgrade).  I do have some backups of important documents, but what I am really missing is all of my photos.  Did you ever resolve your problem?  It seems like the files should be hiding somewhere...

     

    Saturday, February 16, 2008 5:20 AM
  • Microsoft support is still working on the issue. Now, two escalation engineers are supposedly involved.  Sent some info they requested today via email.  Will post any material changes to the investigation, resolution, or non-resolution.

     

    Sunday, February 17, 2008 6:56 AM
  •  

    The exact same thing just happened to me.  I was misled by the Upgrade option rather than the Clean install too.  I did back up some of my files using the backup utility but now Vista won't open it to restore anything.  Haven't found many articles on this so I'll be watching the threads.  I feel your pain.
    Friday, February 22, 2008 4:15 AM
  • It seems that Microsoft support has given up on my lost files problem.  I am at this point convinced that my pre-upgrade user files/settings/mail are not retrieveable. The final Microsoft response is:

     

    ******************************************************************************************************************************************

    During these days, we discussed your setupact.log and what we have determined was some unexpected errors occurred during the installation and some data failed to transfer.

     

    Windows Vista creates symbolic links for User Accounts in Documents and Settings folder. As we know, Documents and Settings folder no longer exists in Windows Vista. To ensure the functions of old programs which still try to access the Documents and Settings folder, Windows Vista will create links for old folders in Documents and Settings folder. These links redirect old programs to the locations where the data is actually saved.

     

    According to our log, we found that the installation, by mistake, created links for your data file, and did not actually copy them to new locations. The result is, some data lost during the transfer. What we see are just links to old data.

     

    This problem occurred very rarely but it did. I sincerely apologize for this. I and my colleagues wished this not happening, but the result was not positive.

     

    The mistake can be caused by process running at background during the upgrade install. Based on the current investigation, some real-time anti-virus program or hard disk monitoring program can be the culprit.

     

    According to the current situation, if we still need the missing data, we need to call a data recovery company for assistance. For your reference, I have included the contact information of Seagate data recovery service as following.

     

    http://services.seagate.com/consumer_solutions.aspx

     

    Again, I apologize for the data lose. If there is anything I can do for you, just let me know.

    ********************************************************************************************************************************************

     

    As far as I know, anti-virus or disk monitoring was not running during the upgrade.  Anyway, I would hope that the Upgrade process would take total control of the PC environment, such that other software cannot run or otherwise influence the upgrade process.  I believe there is a weakness in the XP Pro to Vista Ultimate upgrade process that caused the actual data loss.  What triggered my loss during the upgrade process is not determined.   I think it is unwise for Microsoft to just blame other software such as anti-virus or disk monitoring.  The upgrade process has a weakness, that as long as it is not corrected, puts other upgrades at risk of data loss.  I personally believe that Microsoft should perform/require a backup of all user files/setting/mail prior to starting the upgrade process, a backup that cannot be influenced by the upgrade process. 

    Thursday, February 28, 2008 11:19 PM
  • We just upgraded from vista premium to vista ultimate and lost all of our outlook info and it will damage our business terribly. 

    We were walked through the process and they did not tell us anything would be gone.

    We are terribly damaged with this and extremly upset.

    We have lost over 100,000 emails.

     

    Does anyone know if it will be possible to do data recovery and recover out outlook files from the hard drive?

     

    deb

     

    Sunday, March 16, 2008 8:26 AM
  • I'm in the same boat as the others!

     

    I upgraded from Vista Home Premium to Visa Ultimate (thinking I needed some of the extra features for busines...but...lo and behold...Microsoft deleted all my user files (EVEN THOUGH THE UPGRADE PROGRAM SAID IT WOULD KEEP ALL SETTINGS & FILES!!!)

     

    Love the help and the recommendation Microsoft has given to upgrade to their MORE EXPENSIVE PRODUCT...AND PAY THEM to delete your files!

     

     

     

    Sunday, March 30, 2008 1:23 AM
  • I just did this from business home to ultimate and lost it all !!! no windows.old dir found when going to from business to ultimate. Lost some family pics ......any ideas???

     

    Tuesday, April 15, 2008 3:51 AM
  • Vista does shadow copies of your user folder by default right click Users folder and choose restore previous version. You probably wont be able to use the restore functio but you can browse through the previous versions and select the data you need.

    Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10:37 PM
  • Thanks so much! Many forums discussing this issue tend to suggest undelete type software - which isn't all that successful.

    I lost all my user files after upgrading from Premium to Ultimate and was able to right click on my user folder and restore all my lost files.

    Didn't realise Vista performed regular shadow backups. Must be why its continually reading the hard drive when the system is idle!

    Thanks again

    Rich



    Saturday, May 31, 2008 6:08 PM
  •  

    I upgrade from Windows Vista home to Vista Business. I not only lost all my files but all my programs as well.

    Vista installation created a windows.old directory.

    Is there a way to retrieve all my applications or I will have to install Office, and all my programs?

    Can anyone help with this question?

    Friday, June 20, 2008 11:06 PM
  • Did you look for the files under Windows.old Directory?

     

     

    Friday, June 20, 2008 11:11 PM
  • I tried this, I found the folder it has the number (486) next to it but when I open it it shows nothing.  I can't find a store button either.  Is there anyway to retrieve my contacts?

     

    Saturday, August 23, 2008 5:08 PM
  •  gene47 wrote:

    It seems that Microsoft support has given up on my lost files problem.  I am at this point convinced that my pre-upgrade user files/settings/mail are not retrieveable. The final Microsoft response is:

     

    ******************************************************************************************************************************************

    During these days, we discussed your setupact.log and what we have determined was some unexpected errors occurred during the installation and some data failed to transfer.

     

    Windows Vista creates symbolic links for User Accounts in Documents and Settings folder. As we know, Documents and Settings folder no longer exists in Windows Vista. To ensure the functions of old programs which still try to access the Documents and Settings folder, Windows Vista will create links for old folders in Documents and Settings folder. These links redirect old programs to the locations where the data is actually saved.

     

    According to our log, we found that the installation, by mistake, created links for your data file, and did not actually copy them to new locations. The result is, some data lost during the transfer. What we see are just links to old data.

     

    This problem occurred very rarely but it did. I sincerely apologize for this. I and my colleagues wished this not happening, but the result was not positive.

     

    The mistake can be caused by process running at background during the upgrade install. Based on the current investigation, some real-time anti-virus program or hard disk monitoring program can be the culprit.

     

    According to the current situation, if we still need the missing data, we need to call a data recovery company for assistance. For your reference, I have included the contact information of Seagate data recovery service as following.

     

    http://services.seagate.com/consumer_solutions.aspx

     

    Again, I apologize for the data lose. If there is anything I can do for you, just let me know.

    ********************************************************************************************************************************************

     

    As far as I know, anti-virus or disk monitoring was not running during the upgrade.  Anyway, I would hope that the Upgrade process would take total control of the PC environment, such that other software cannot run or otherwise influence the upgrade process.  I believe there is a weakness in the XP Pro to Vista Ultimate upgrade process that caused the actual data loss.  What triggered my loss during the upgrade process is not determined.   I think it is unwise for Microsoft to just blame other software such as anti-virus or disk monitoring.  The upgrade process has a weakness, that as long as it is not corrected, puts other upgrades at risk of data loss.  I personally believe that Microsoft should perform/require a backup of all user files/setting/mail prior to starting the upgrade process, a backup that cannot be influenced by the upgrade process. 

    Sunday, August 31, 2008 7:14 AM
  •  gene47 wrote:

    It seems that Microsoft support has given up on my lost files problem.  I am at this point convinced that my pre-upgrade user files/settings/mail are not retrieveable. The final Microsoft response is:

     

    ******************************************************************************************************************************************

    During these days, we discussed your setupact.log and what we have determined was some unexpected errors occurred during the installation and some data failed to transfer.

     

    Windows Vista creates symbolic links for User Accounts in Documents and Settings folder. As we know, Documents and Settings folder no longer exists in Windows Vista. To ensure the functions of old programs which still try to access the Documents and Settings folder, Windows Vista will create links for old folders in Documents and Settings folder. These links redirect old programs to the locations where the data is actually saved.

     

    According to our log, we found that the installation, by mistake, created links for your data file, and did not actually copy them to new locations. The result is, some data lost during the transfer. What we see are just links to old data.

     

    This problem occurred very rarely but it did. I sincerely apologize for this. I and my colleagues wished this not happening, but the result was not positive.

     

    The mistake can be caused by process running at background during the upgrade install. Based on the current investigation, some real-time anti-virus program or hard disk monitoring program can be the culprit.

     

    According to the current situation, if we still need the missing data, we need to call a data recovery company for assistance. For your reference, I have included the contact information of Seagate data recovery service as following.

     

    http://services.seagate.com/consumer_solutions.aspx

     

    Again, I apologize for the data lose. If there is anything I can do for you, just let me know.

    ********************************************************************************************************************************************

     

    As far as I know, anti-virus or disk monitoring was not running during the upgrade.  Anyway, I would hope that the Upgrade process would take total control of the PC environment, such that other software cannot run or otherwise influence the upgrade process.  I believe there is a weakness in the XP Pro to Vista Ultimate upgrade process that caused the actual data loss.  What triggered my loss during the upgrade process is not determined.   I think it is unwise for Microsoft to just blame other software such as anti-virus or disk monitoring.  The upgrade process has a weakness, that as long as it is not corrected, puts other upgrades at risk of data loss.  I personally believe that Microsoft should perform/require a backup of all user files/setting/mail prior to starting the upgrade process, a backup that cannot be influenced by the upgrade process. 

    Sunday, August 31, 2008 7:14 AM
  • Rickyb12  -  YOU ARE A LIFESAVER!!   I upgraded from VISTA Business to Ultimate and lo and behold! - all my Virtual PC machines were gone.  I was faced with having to set them up again until I 'trawled' through the 'Net and found this forum.  Having done what you suggested and gone back to a Users folder prior to the upgrade I found them again.

    Thanks very much.

    Monday, September 15, 2008 2:51 PM
  • I don't haver "restore" available on the shortcut menu. I have restored most of my files except for Outlook address book, emails and my Favorites. Any other suggestiolns?

    Saturday, September 20, 2008 4:16 PM
  • I have located my shadow copies, and tried to restore them to no avail.  I am a student with items in works and office that I desperately need.  It will not allow me to restore office, works locks up right before completing the install and my laptop has lost a lot of the capabilites that it came pre installed with.  Any other suggestions?  I am desperate!
    Wednesday, October 15, 2008 3:58 AM
  • Hi,

    It seems that there was an error during the upgrade. When it happens, all you files are moved to a new folder called Windows.old.

    Unfortunatelly, you will need to install all your programs again.

    Microsoft has not taken the time to investigate the issue and come up with a solution.

    I was pist off because I purchased Office Professional 2007, lost my CD and the Key. Now I am stuck and will need to purchase another copy.

    My confidence to Microsoft just went down the drain.

     

    Wednesday, October 15, 2008 4:13 AM
  • Hi there!

    Just an update, I searched high and low for a solution.  Low and behold, Microsoft actually had one on their site.  I followed these directions to go back to my previous OS so I can BACK IT UP before trying to upgrade again.  It appears to be working great!  I hope this helps someone else!  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/933168
    Wednesday, October 15, 2008 6:33 AM
  • The same thing happened to me with an upgrade from XP to Vista Home Premium. I lost all files, emails, pictures. I do not have an windows.old folder, and have tried all suggestions. I tried the right click on the User folder, but do not have restore as an option. I even tried undelete software - nothing worked! Yuk. I hate Mircosoft!

    Thursday, October 16, 2008 10:12 PM
  • Just considering upgrading to Ultimate from XP pro. I did back up the files last week with MSBackup to a USB drive.

    Is there a way to pre-empt the data loss and have a smooth transition without all the gyrations?

    I like the thought of having it go smoothly...
    without the backup recall.

    Microsoft? You listening out there?



    Friday, December 19, 2008 3:45 AM
  • @ Dael3:
    The best thing that you can do to prevent the upgrade from going sideways on you, is, well, to follow MS's recommendations:
    Namely, uninstall your AV software, as well as any other security/antispyware software (examples being:  Windows Defender, Spybot S+D, Ad-Aware, etc.) 
    Any program whose job it is to prevent 'unwanted' changes to the OS does have the ability to hose the upgrade; and, simply disabling them isn't enough.

    HTH,
    Chris
    [If this post helps to resolve your issue, please click the "Mark as Answer" or "Helpful" button at the top of this message. By marking a post as Answered, or Helpful you help others find the answer faster.]
    Tuesday, December 23, 2008 2:46 AM
  • Hi, what could and I always do, is keep the files remotely on the server. Just check what provider you use then see if they have any archives on your old e-mails.
    Wednesday, July 4, 2012 7:04 PM
  • Hi, I had that same problem with upgrading to Windows Vista Ultimate. If you still have the product key for the Office, then find the right trial, and then enter the key there. You may need to create a partion of about 20GB then use backup there on a weekly basis to archive all your files, and make sure if you compress it on the previous OS, then make sure the new one can understand it as that has happened to me before.
    Wednesday, July 4, 2012 7:09 PM