When upgrading Windows Vista to Windows 7, many people faced a very similar and annoying problem. After the computer restarts, instead of proceeding with the install it displays this error message:

“The upgrade was not successful.Your previous version of windows is being restored. Do not restart your computer during this time.”

Although after the computer restarts, instead of rolling back to Vista it displays the same message and restarts again. Thus ending up in a reboot loop which is harmful for both OS and the computer.

One possible problem identified by Microsoft is that it might be possible that certain shell folders might be redirected locations within their own path. It means that locations might be repeated in their path.

The solution to this problem is broken down into four steps, briefly explained below.

Step 1: Windows Recovery Environment

To get to the Windows Recovery Environment put your Windows 7 DVD into the DVD-ROM and boot from it. Set you personal settings such as language, time currency etc. In the next window, select “Repair you computer”. In the next section select the version of Windows 7 that you are installing and then click “Next”. Select command prompt from the System Recovery Options.

Step 2: Find Duplicate Folders

In the Windows Recovery Environment, a command prompt window appears. Type “cd c:\users” in it.  Please take note of the fact that “C:” is the drive on which Windows is installed. If the label of your drive is different then type that instead. After this type “dir /s | find “is too long” |more” into the command prompt. Now there are three possible results that can be displayed as a result of punching in this line. One, you get a few names of folders displayed. Note them down and move on to the next step. Two, you get a number of results and a “—More—” typed at the end of page. Note down the names and press space bar to view the next page until the line doesn’t appear anymore. Then move on to step 3. Third and the last case is that no data appears on the screen. It means that the issue is something else and not the shell folders. In this case this article wont be of any help.

Step 3: Move the Duplicate Folders

In order to move the folders to temporary location, type “move [Identified_folder] [Destination_location]” in the command prompt. You will have to type in the command one by one for each folder. At the end, type the “dir /s | find “is too long” |more” command to check if any folders are left. If not then type “exit” in the command prompt and restart computer. This time the upgrade error message will display gain but after staying for a while it will restart and boot into the previous Windows Vista.

Step 4: Check Shell Folders’ Location

Open the folder where you have stored all the redirected shell folders. Right click on each and check if the Location written there is the same as where the folder is kept. If its not then click “Restore Defaults”.

Install Windows 7 again. And you are done. Enjoy your experience with the new Windows 7!