Windows 7 Boot errors after expanding windows 7 partition


New Member
Feb 13, 2009

This is my first time posting, so please be patient with me.

The issue:

I partitioned my drive and installed Windows 7. I've been growing increasingly confident of W7 and decided to start fazing out Windows XP. Using GParted Live I successfully shrunk the XP partition and increased the W7 partition.

When I tried to boot W7 i received a boot error message which told me to insert the installation disk and run the repair. After doing so W7 began to boot and started running a 3 step check, I believe it was "Chkdsk." After the check was done it automatically restarted and W7 began to load.

It was stuck on "Preparing your desktop" after several minutes it finally loaded a blank desktop. Using ctrl alt delete I attempted to load "explorer.exe" this loaded the Task bar, but I received an error message "your user profile was not loaded correctly." That's where I'm currently stuck at.

Please help me resolve this issue. Let me know if you need any additional information.


Reference -

So i was messing around in regedit - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

I noticed that in one of S-1-5... folders the profileimagepath was directed at the wrong directory (should be c:\user\(username))

I changed it so it points at the correct \user\(username)... when i restarted it once again loaded to a blank desktop (didn't load explorer.exe)

So I manually loaded explorer.exe and this time it loaded my desktop with all my icons and quick launch buttons.

But... i still cant access windows explorer and many other functions... i keep getting the error message "explorer.exe - no such interface supported"

Whats going ????
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My first post here too! I guess we should welcome each other to the forum.

If you moved the starting sector of the Windows 7 partition while you were rearranging things then its hex partition ID changed. As you have observed, the first symptom is that Win7 would not boot until you repaired its BCD with the Win7 DVD. Since the Win7 partition now has a new ID, its former entry in the registry is invalid. The first time that you booted into Win7, Windows would not have found an ID for the partition in the registry so it would not have a drive letter reservation and Windows would proceed to assign a new one. Your current problem is that the drive letters for XP and Vista were probably swapped in the Windows 7 registry. Upon drive letter reassignment the active partition (XP) gets first dibs on the letter C:, the first logical partition (if any) gets D:, etc. That is the root cause of the inability of the system to load your user profile (it's not in the expected partition according to the registry). Both Vista and Windows 7 will create a temporary profile when this happens, as you've noticed.

I am making the assumption that you have a plain-vanilla Microsoft dual-boot setup with XP installed first and Win7 installed next. During installation, Win7 would have placed its boot files in the active partition, which was your XP partition, and installed itself to the other partition, assigning the C: drive letter to Win7 and probably D: to XP. If you boot into XP it will see the XP partition as C: and the Win7 partition as probably D:.

If this sounds correct then you will need access to the Win7 registry and will need to swap drive letters between the two partitions. Sometimes you can let Win7 boot into the temporary profile and gain access to regedit to make the change. If not you may need to do it while booted into XP by mounting the Win7 registry hive.

Let's assume that you can limp into Win7's temporary profile and start regedit somehow. If so, go to HKey_Local_Machine\System\MountedDevices as shown in the first attached figure. Scroll down to the end of the list of mounted devices until you see the ones for DosDevices as shown in the second attached figure. In your case (if I have the drive letters understood correctly) you will need to swap C and D. Do it by renaming the entry for \DosDevices\C: to some temporary letter like \DosDevices\X:. Then rename D: to C: and finally rename X: to D:.

If you want to confirm, before making the swap go back and boot into XP and examine My Computer to see which drive letters XP has assigned to each of the two partitions. Look up the partition ID (the string of 12 hex digits) in the XP registry in the exact same location as described above. Write down each hex partition ID and confirm which belongs to XP and which belongs to Win7. Then you can edit the Win7 registry with confidence.

Once this is done you should be back to normal, but check the change you made to the profile pointer earlier to be sure that it is still pointing to the correct partition.

Hope this helps!
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Ok so i booted in safe mode and went to HKey_Local_Machine\System\MountedDevices and swapped the drive letters like you told me.

I reboot, now W7 won't even load the blank desktop instead i get this message "The user profile service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded."

Could this be because i was previously screwing around in - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList ???

I noticed that some of the profileimagepath's in the S-1-5 folders were directed at the C:\ drive and some at the F:\ drive

I changed all the profileimagepath's so they start with D:\... and rebooted.

And now I'm back to square one, W7 boots right into the blank desktop again and still isn't loading the profile

How many partitions are on your disk?
When Win7 was previously working, which drive letter was the system partition? Was it C:?
Which drive letters did you find in the registry in HKLM\System\MountedDevices? What were they before you made the swap and what are they now?
Which is associated with the ID of the Win7 system partition? (check this by booting into XP and checking the XP registry for the partition ID of the drive letter that XP is using for the Win7 partition)

All of the profileimage paths should be pointing to the system partition which is usually C:
Two partitions one for XP and on for W7

When it was working i think the W7 partition drive letter was F:\ and the it seemed like it changed to C:\. The XP partition still shows up as C:\ in XP.

In XP... my xp system drive is C:\ my W7 drive is F:\ and I have second non partitioned HD that shows up as D:\ (this drive is only used for file storage)

In XP... regedit values for drives C:\ = x , F:\ = y , D:\ = z (x,y,z = data value (i didnt want to type out each 12 hex digits))

In W7... W7 drive is D:\ Storage drive is C:\ , Win Xp drive does not show up

In W7... regedit values for drives C:\ = z , D:\ = y , x data value shows up but its name is "\??\Volume{83c...".

let me know if this makes any sence to you
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Yes, that makes sense. The Win7 installer does not normally assign a drive letter to the boot partition (your XP partition, ID=x). You can assign one if you'd like in Disk Management.

Swap the drive letters C: and D: in the Win7 registry - they are backwards. Also make sure that all of the ProfileImagePath references are to C:. Hopefully this will fix things.
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I believe you may be following the wrong trail, Kolo.
The OP was able to boot into Windows 7, before he followed your suggestion cocerning changing the designators. The problem was an incomplete boot up.
My own plan would be first
Backtrack both of the registry changes you have made, and change them back to the original.
Try a start up, in Windows 7, in safe mode, and opt to log on as Administrator.
If you are no offered that option, but can get on to a desktop, open RUN and type in Control Userpasswords2
In the window, select Advanced and then advanced again in the next window.
Select users and then Administrator.
In the next window, untick the square "Account is disabled"
Back out of the windows.
Now log off and you should find the opportunity to logon as the Administrator.
By either of these methods above, you should now be the global Administrator. and, hopefully, have a full desktop. If not, I am afraid it is back to square one.
Now go to user Accounts in the Control Panel, and set up a new user.
Log off and see if , with a logon as the new user, you are now back to normality.
Having burbled all that. I am pessimistic as to whether it will work, but it certainly will not, at this stage, alter anything you have. It does look as though you have corrupted your OS during the Shrink/Expand.
BOOYA!!! ok i got it

heres what i did...

In HKLM\System\MountedDevices I changed all the drive letters so the drive letters and values matched up to what i had showing up in xp

In xp my win7 was on drive F:\

In HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList i changed all the profileimages to F:\

And its all back to normal... Thanks guys

Oh yeah one more question...

I'm planning on shrinking my XP partition even more (I want to pull all of my files on to the Win7 partition and use XP only incase of a Win7 compatibility issues), and expanding the Win7 Partition.

What preventive steps should I take to avoid this mess in the future?
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Try using the Windows Disk manager. (Administartive tools - Computer managemnt - Disk Management.) But I would suggest you make an image , ther are some free programs available - Paragon is one such . Make an image of each complete OS/Partition saved to somewhere safe. If all goes wrong, it only takes about 15 minutes to return an image.

Excellent! Glad that you got your PC back to square one. I'm a little surprised that the Win7 installer did not originally assign the C: drive letter to its partition - it usually does. But you did say earlier that you recall it being F:. I made the mistake of thinking that you were just remembering the drive letter as seen by XP.

Davehc's advice about imaging software is good. I rely on Acronis True Image to get me out of jams that I occasionally create. However, imaging software won't avoid the drive letter change issue that you just ran into if partitions are moved or relocated. Just remember that whenever you move the starting sector of a partition, the hex partition ID will change (it consists of the bytes from the DiskID and the starting sector of the partition). Partition IDs and Windows drive letter reservations are stored in HKLM\System\MountedDevices. So if you move your Win7 partition and then restore an image to the new partition location, the reserved drive letter in the registry will point to a nonexistant partition ID, so on first boot Windows will assign the partition a new drive letter. If it happens to be the same drive letter as before then you're OK. If it is a different drive letter then you will be in the same boat (unable to load user profile). To fix, editing the registry is required.

This is the nature of Microsoft dual- or multi-boot setups. The way to avoid these types of issues is to use a third-party boot manager that can be configured to hide each OS from the others and to change the active flag to the current boot choice when booting. This way each OS can be completely independent from the others. Then if each OS is installed without seeing the other partitions, each installer will choose C: for the system drive letter. Then even if partitions are relocated later on, the first drive letter choice will default to C:, which will always be the correct one.

In your case, now that you know how to fix the problem if it ever occurs again you should be fine.

I too am new to the forums here, but I am having the same issue that you had after using Gparted. I had the same issues with "Preparing your desktop". I appreciate you sharing your solution on here, but I have never changed anything in my registry editor (outside of changes made via CCleaner), and I am unsure how to do that. Win 7 is now located on C:/ for me, and I am trying to restore it to the T:/ , but what is the easiest method of doing that. I guess I'm just asking, if I use regedit, what do I type in?

Thanks for any more help you can provide, although you've already been great!

If I understand your post, when you were booted to Windows 7 its drive letter used to be T: and now it is C: - is that correct? If not, please let me know what the Windows 7 drive letter used to be when Windows 7 was running. If it was T: then proceed as follows.

Let Windows start up to the temporary user profile and start Regedit. Sometimes Windows Explorer will not be fully functional in the temporary user profile, so if you can't start Regedit from the START menu then try starting Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del, and then from Task Manager choose File > New Task > and then type in Regedit. Navigate to HKey_Local_Machine\System\MountedDevices. You may see a relatively long list of devices but scroll down to the bottom of the list to see the entries starting with DosDevices (x) similar to the picture below:


Right-click on the entry named DosDevices (C:) and choose Rename. Change C: to T: and then close Regedit and reboot your PC.

Thanks for the advice and explanation on how to change the Mounted Devices-- it worked perfectly and I'm back to running normally again! Thanks for being so prompt with a response also-- I was worried I'd have to cave and take it to Best Buy and have them hose me on fixing it!

Glad to hear it. Fortunately the designers of Vista (and W7) included the ability for the OS to boot to a temporary user profile so that repairs like this could be made easily. Fixing this problem on XP was much more difficult.

Thanks for posting back.
I RECENTLY had boot issues, so i changed my system drive from dynamic to basic format, in doing so i couldn't boot into my profile, it loaded the temp profile, i have tried all the suggestions, which BTW, if people don't know (like i did not) boot your windows 7 repair cd (that You should have burnt when windows 7 installed) and cmd, regedit there, but none of the reg edits worked for me still temp profile, so I just reinstalled windows 7 x64 ultimate, and problem solved...! also for you saying to make an image, well windows 7 let's you make images for nuttin' FYI and restore Your pc in no time with them as well, so long as they are never tampered with, and You have rights to access those image files, then no problemo, anyway that's what i did, Peace!

however... after further review another time the reg changes to make my c:\ to d:\ also worked like a charm, so thanks for that info as well, had this happen on another pc, that did work, so thanks again...!
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