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Moving my user folder to another hard drive in Vista

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  • User profile image
    alwaysmc2

    I have two hard drives in my computer.  One is for the OS and the other is for my "My Documents" folder.  In Vista I want to move my User folder (is that what it's called?  Because it's not just documents anymore, but also contacts, favorites, settings, etc.) to another location.  I've looked around and can't figure out how to do it.  Is this a function of Vista or do I have to wait for a Powertoy?

    So my questions:
    What is the folder where all of my files and settings in vista are kept? (edit: in Windows Vista)

    How do I change its location?

  • User profile image
    Manip

    You want to move it and at the same time continue to use it with the current operating system? Correct? ... So move it and let the operating system know that your doing so?

  • User profile image
    alwaysmc2

    Manip wrote:
    You want to move it and at the same time continue to use it with the current operating system? Correct? ... So move it and let the operating system know that your doing so?

    I have done that with Windows XP, but once I use Vista full time I will want to dump XP and tell vista that I want to use the other hard drive for my files.  ... Will it let me just move the "C:\users\[my user name]\" folder to another hard drive and Vista will just adjust?  That would be nice, but I doubt it would work because of locked files.

  • User profile image
    Manip

    I'm not 100% sure what you want to do...

    But here is what I would recommend... You should copy everything in C:\Documents and Settings\<Username> to a new folder on another drive... Your get a few "Unable to read ..." errors but it will copy everything none the less.

    Then when it comes time to install Vista don't insert the CD and select 'Install' instead boot from the CD its self... Then using the recovery console format your C: drive (Format C: /q) and install Vista.

    Then copy back selected folders from your new folder (Favorites, Outlook, Desktop, My Documents et al).

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    You should be able to use the same method as XP as described here. Haven't tried it though.

  • User profile image
    alwaysmc2

    AndyC wrote:
    You should be able to use the same method as XP as described here. Haven't tried it though.

    Yikes. that seems like it would work, but somehow it scares me.  I was hoping for the simplicity that TeakUI provides with changing the location of the "My Documents" folder.  I don't have to muck around in the registry with it.  I will use this as a last resort though.

    Manip, what I want to do is have Window Vista on one hard drive and have all of my user files on another drive.  Because if I never need to reformat Vista I won't have to worry about killing my personal files.  (Plus, my second hard drive is bigger than my system drive.) Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    alwaysmc2 wrote:
    I was hoping for the simplicity that TeakUI provides with changing the location of the "My Documents" folder.

    Changing to location of Documents (or Pictures, Music etc) can be done even from the UI of Windows, just open the properties and use the location tab.

    Moving your entire user profile is a lot more difficult though.

  • User profile image
    alwaysmc2

    Okay, well I suppose I'll just have to deal with that when I use Vista full time.
    So what is the name of the collection of a users files and settings?  Like when I click the orb, then click on my username, it brings up a folder with Documents, Favorites, Contacts, Music, Video, etc.  What is that folder called?

    And how long will be be able to use the public beta 2 before it expires?

  • User profile image
    darrenjbird

    I know what you want to do.

    Its called folder redirection, and its also very easy to do in Windows Vista

    Look at tip #4 from the following blog.

    http://www.edbott.com/weblog/?cat=20

    Hope this helps

    Darren

  • User profile image
    bungerloo

    hi  
    i think  that  this is what  you  are   looking  for  
    http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=215

    bungerloo
    hope  this helps

  • User profile image
    JDonner

    darrenjbird wrote:


    Wrong link, that page will be updated over time. This is the correct link:

    http://www.edbott.com/weblog/?p=1371

  • User profile image
    Jhaks

    JDonner wrote:
    
    darrenjbird wrote: http://www.edbott.com/weblog/?cat=20

    Hope this helps



    Wrong link, that page will be updated over time. This is the correct link:

    http://www.edbott.com/weblog/?p=1371



    Yup there you go.  I was about to post this link.  However tip #7 has an even easier way (it is also linked to from tip 4).

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=215

    Edit: woops bungerloo already posted this link

    alwaysmc2 wrote:
    Okay, well I suppose I'll just have to deal with that when I use Vista full time.
    So what is the name of the collection of a users files and settings?  Like when I click the orb, then click on my username, it brings up a folder with Documents, Favorites, Contacts, Music, Video, etc.  What is that folder called?

    And how long will be be able to use the public beta 2 before it expires?


    Read the article from the link above, it deals with all your questions.  Basically in Vista you don't have "documents and settings" anymore; instead there's a folder called "users' in the root directory.  Under this you have folders for each user account and then all the specific content sub folders.  I believe the beta will be valid up until June?  July?  Not 100% sure.

  • User profile image
    joshmouch

    While the above suggestions will move the folders *inside* your profile to a new hard drive, I just wrote up a HOWTO on how I moved the entire profile... actually, all the profiles on my computer.  It involves a lot of registry editing, but it worked perfectly for me.

    http://joshmouch.wordpress.com/2007/04/07/change-user-profile-folder-location-in-vista/

  • User profile image
    alwaysmc2

    joshmouch wrote:
    While the above suggestions will move the folders *inside* your profile to a new hard drive, I just wrote up a HOWTO on how I moved the entire profile... actually, all the profiles on my computer.  It involves a lot of registry editing, but it worked perfectly for me.

    http://joshmouch.wordpress.com/2007/04/07/change-user-profile-folder-location-in-vista/


    this is exactly what I wanted. Big Smile Thanks!

  • User profile image
    mrgcav

    Josh,
    You have done an excellent job. I liked your article.
    But your blog is VERY hard to find. I have been searching the internet for weeks. I suggest you repost your solution on several more popular sited and send a copy to a few magazines like MaximumPC.
    Everybody copy and repost this on a different website


    In my search for a solution, the only two easy ways I found to move the user profile directory locations from the system drive is to

    1. Set the User Profile folder during setup using an unattended install file.
    2. Move the individual folders inside your user profile, which can be done using explorer (which will update the registry keys HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders and HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders).

    However, this was not good enough for me, I wanted my actual user profile folder to be moved to a seperate partition/volume, including registry settings.  I discovered that it is not actually that hard, provided you’re comfortable with mass replacing registry keys and values.

    Here is how I moved my user profile location.  Please note that I wanted all of the profiles moved, included Public and Default, so some of these steps can be skipped if you do not want that:

    1. Make sure you have a complete backup of your system!
    2. Copy the original Default Profile directory to the new location (e.g. from C:\Users\Default to D:\Users\Default).
    3. Copy the original Public Profile directory to the new location (e.g. from C:\Users\Public to D:\Users\Public).
    4. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList.
    5. Change the value of the Default key to the new user profile location (e.g. D:\Users\Default).
    6. Change the value of the Public key to the new user profile location (e.g. D:\Users\Public).
    7. Change the value of the ProfilesDirectory to the new user profile location (e.g. D:\Users).
    8. At this point, you need to restart and log back in as a different user that has never logged in before and therefore does not have a profile created.  In my case, the Administrator user had never logged in before so I enabled it so that Administrator could log in and used that.  You can enable Administrator login by loading Computer Management and then go to User Accounts, edit the properties for Administrator, and then uncheck Disable Login.
    9. After logging in for the first time with the new user account, you will see “Creating Desktop” and other things like that while Windows is creating your profile.  Note that the new profile should be created in the new location.
    10. After logging in, try to close as many applications as possible.  This will prevent most files from being locked so that you cannot copy them.
    11. Copy the entire original user profiles folder from the original location to the new location (e.g. C:\Users\* to D:\Users\).  (See next step after copy starts).
    12. There are a few things to note during this copy.  There were thousands of .TMP files that were locked and would not copy.  I just skipped these files.  I held down Alt-S so that I could see all of the skipped files and make sure that there were only .TMP files being skipped.  Yes, this took a little while, but at least I was confident that I got all of my files copied.  This process could probably be made easier using the command prompt or powershell.
    13. If, in your case, there are some files that will not copy, you can run procexp.exe, which is file provided by sysinternals.  Then do a Find Handle and search for part of the filename.  procexp will tell you which programs are locking the file.  As long as you closed as many programs as you could, though, this should not happen.
    14. Find and download a program that will do a Search & Replace on the registry.  I will not suggest one because I did not find one single program that worked perfectly.  I ended up downloading a few different freeware applications and using all of them.
    15. Using the Registry Search & Replace program, do a search for the original user profile folder and replace it with the new user profile folder (e.g. search for “C:\Users” and replace with “D:\Users”.  Note that some of the applications I used would only change values and not key names.  However, the keys that needed to be chagned were all related to MuiCache.  I do not know if these actually need to be updated.  I did just to make sure.
    16. Log out.  Log back in with the same user.  Repeat step 14 until there is nothing left to replace.  The reason for this step is that on logout, some programs seem to update the registry using the old user profile path.
    17. Run regedit.exe and do a search for the original user profile path and make sure it does not exist.  The reason for this step is because (as noted in step 13), I did not trust any of the Registry Search & Replace programs I used.  I ended up needing to update about a dozen of the keys and values manually, since the search & replace missed them.
    18. So that you can easily find programs that do not use the registry and hard-coded profile paths, rename your original profile folder (e.g. rename C:\Users to C:\~Users).
    19. Log out. Log back in as your usual user.  Everything should be working correctly except for programs that use a “hardcoded” user profile location.
    20. There are two easy methods that can be used to find programs that use a “hardcoded” profile location and are still looking for the original user profile path.  You can use the procexp.exe trick mentioned above and search for handles in the original profile location.  You can also monitor the oringal profile location to see if any new folders or files were created.  For example, in my case, FolderShare created some folders and files in the directory C:\Users\MyUsername\AppData\Local\FolderShare\.  So, I updated the FolderShare settings to point to the different path and then deleted the C:\Users directory (note that C:\~Users still existed as a backup).
    21. Since you are now confident that all of your data has been moved (right??????), you can deleted the backup of the original user profile location (e.g. C:\~Users).

     

    This procedure worked flawlessly for me.  Everything user-related is now on a completely different volume.


    Please reply to my email. I have several ideas on improving your process.
    For step 14:  Use Resplendence Registry Manager v5.50
    Email me for a copy.

    Jay

    MRGCAV@gmail.com

  • User profile image
    nojetlag

    This is the latest OS from Microsoft in 2007 right ?

    I really really can't believe what users have to do for such a damn simple and very common problem. Who did design this ? Are they only living in the 1 disk for everything world ?
    Doesn't it make perfect sense to choose on the installation how many partitions I want and getting one purely for the OS and a second one where I have all my data ? Do they really want all the users data on the C: ?

     

    Perplexed

  • User profile image
    Simo

    Yep, totaly agree with you nojetlag.

    How many people buy a PC with two independent drives ? Lots.

    How easy is it for them to relocate c:\Users? Bloody hard.

    It's on my how to make Vista better list, the rest have already been pointed out by Rory (http://www.neopoleon.com/home/blogs/neo/archive/2007/08/24/26758.aspx).

    Might as well add on Jon Honeyball's - "back up should just work. out of the box. If a home user ever loses another document MS should see it as their fault"(my best recollection of article)

  • User profile image
    ZippyV

    NTFS has now those symbolic links (or hard links or something) so it should be possible to move the users folder to another drive while only changing 1 setting.

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