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Windows 7: How to backup My Documents/etc location settings


25 Jul 2009   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x64
 
 
How to backup My Documents/etc location settings

For years, I have kept most of my data on a drive/partition other than C drive. Let's call this other data drive/partition, D drive.

With the frequent install of Windows 7 builds, I started changing the location of My Documents, My Pictures, and My Music to D drive as I've done for years, but I even went ahead and mapped the location of Desktop, Favorites, Searches, etc to the D drive as well.

The benefit of this is I didn't have to physically copy/move this data before doing a clean install, I just had to go in and change the default locations to the appropriate D drive paths/locations after a clean install. This is a bit of work and is tedious, but less work than moving data, etc.

I've had my kids computer dual-booting Windows XP & Windows 7 for months as well. In Windows 7, that computer has an account for me (admin purposes) and four more accounts for our four kids. Now, imagine the tedious work of manually changing the locations for My Documents, Desktop, etc in Windows 7 for all 5 accounts on that computer.

I would like to think that there is some way of backing up the location settings for My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, Desktop, etc for each account, maybe even backup the settings for the custom Start Menus, Desktop Wallpaper, and so on.

Has anyone seen a way of backing up these settings manually, using a 3rd party utility, or using some Microsoft admin tool?

Thanks in advance for the feedback.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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25 Jul 2009   #2

Windows 7600.16385 / Vista x64 / XP
 
 

I know this might sound stupid as I may have misread you, but why don't you just have 4 folders with your kids name on them on your D drive and get them to use those folders instead of the my documents etc?

Anyway if you want it to not be so tedious, just add them to the librarys it'll only take you a second and you can just use libraries from then on.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2009   #3

 

What you want is a registry backup of the settings that point to the stored files? Not a backup of the stored files themselves?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Jul 2009   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x64
 
 

Frostbite, that is correct. Problem is I don't know what parts of the Registry I need for just the Start Menu settings, Desktop/Wallpaper settings, and My Documents/My Music/My Pictures/etc location settings.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jul 2009   #5

 

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

and

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

You can use regedit to change these but beware messing with the registry can ruin your system. Make a backup first. You can export keys using the file menu in regedit while selecting them on the left. Not sure about the wallpaper setting.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jul 2009   #6

XPSP3, Se7en RTM
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Liberty View Post
For years, I have kept most of my data on a drive/partition other than C drive. Let's call this other data drive/partition, D drive.

With the frequent install of Windows 7 builds, I started changing the location of My Documents, My Pictures, and My Music to D drive as I've done for years, but I even went ahead and mapped the location of Desktop, Favorites, Searches, etc to the D drive as well.

The benefit of this is I didn't have to physically copy/move this data before doing a clean install, I just had to go in and change the default locations to the appropriate D drive paths/locations after a clean install. This is a bit of work and is tedious, but less work than moving data, etc.

I've had my kids computer dual-booting Windows XP & Windows 7 for months as well. In Windows 7, that computer has an account for me (admin purposes) and four more accounts for our four kids. Now, imagine the tedious work of manually changing the locations for My Documents, Desktop, etc in Windows 7 for all 5 accounts on that computer.

I would like to think that there is some way of backing up the location settings for My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, Desktop, etc for each account, maybe even backup the settings for the custom Start Menus, Desktop Wallpaper, and so on.

Has anyone seen a way of backing up these settings manually, using a 3rd party utility, or using some Microsoft admin tool?

Thanks in advance for the feedback.
All user specific settings are stored in a file called NTUSER.DAT, in Documents and Settings\[Username]. Each user has his/her own NTUSER.DAT file. My solution would be to backup this file (for every user) and restore it after installation.

------------

NTUSER.DAT can also be opened and edited using Regedit. The only reason you'd want to do this is to modify settings or do some 'house cleaning' as irrelevant data can accumulate causing this file to grow pretty large after several backups. This procedure is for your reference only! I decided to include it here as this may come in handy at some point in the future.

1. In Regedit, highlight the HKEY_USERS key and go to File, Load Hive.

2. Go to the Documents and Settings\[Username] folder, where [Username] is the account you wish to modify.

3. Highlight the NTUSER.DAT file in this folder (usually a hidden file) and select Open.

4. You'll be prompted to enter a "Key name". You can use whatever you wish.

5. You can now expand the Hive you just loaded and make any needed changes.

6. When finished, highlight this Hive again and go to File, Unload Hive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 How to backup My Documents/etc location settings




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