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Windows 7: System-Data separation strategies

07 Sep 2014   #11
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
I prefer a different approach. I define an empty data partition and in there I make 4 new folders - XYZ Documents, XYZ Pictures, XYZ Videos and XYZ Music . (in my case I use WHS Documents, WHS Pictures, etc.). The "XYZ" or the "WHS" are only there to distinguish the folders from the original folders. You can use any appendix though.
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I use mulitlingual Windows, setting the display language individually for each user profile. Until quite recently, I needed on each Windows computer three main user accounts for admin (in English), me (in English) and my now estranged wife (in German) plus for work purposes separate user accounts for me in Finnish, Swedish and German. This screenshot of a Windows 8 logon screen shows what I mean:
System-Data separation strategies-logon_win8_2_zps5c12d8f4.png
In other words my normal setup has 6 or 7 user profiles (accounts) not counting the built-in administrator, in 4 different languages. Each of these profiles contains by default only a handful of first level subfolders like Favorites, Downloads, Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music and so on but quite a lot of programs, services and devices add a first level subfolder to individual profile folders as for example in my case the the printer / scanner has added a Scans subfolder, OneDrive added a subfolder for itself, Origin / Electronic Arts game launcher as well etc.. In addition I myself add subfolders as I go for all possible purposes ranging from tutorial drafts to account statements.

At the moment my personal user profile folder Users\Kari contains over 40 first level subfolders, other accounts a bit less but each at least 15 first level subfolders. Because I want to separate the system files and folders (including installed applications) from user data, using this method I would need to go through an incredible number of folders to manually take care of that they are stored on another than system drive. Also always when creating a new user account I would need to repeat the procedure, as well as when for instance installing OneDrive desktop app to a new account I would need manually move the folder away from C:\Users\NewUser. I also have multiple computers so I would need to fo this separately on each computer.

For my purposes the Sysprep method is more elegant, easy to do and what's the best is that when I do it one time, needing two or three minutes for it, the whole Users folder is relocated on another drive with everything it contains, AppData folders included meaning all user specific data saved by user him/herself or any program / application will automatically be stored away from system drive. Everything is thereafter automatic, I do not have to even think where the Users is located because Windows treats the new location as default location.

A new subfolder I create will be automatically created on new location, any new subfolder created on any user profile folder by an application or service will be created on the new location for instance when you install the Origin Game Launcher it creates its Electronic Arts save game subfolder on this new location. Any new additional user account's profile folder will automatically be created on the new location.

For this I need to compose an XML file containg a few lines of instructions for Sysprep, run the Sysprep command once and now I can forget the whole thing. No manual moving of folders every time a new folder or user is created. A one time "do it and forget it" procedure taking a couple of minutes of my time, thereafter everything is moved, every last bit of any user data. I install both Seven and Eight from my own premade images created in Audit Mode where the Sysprep process has already been done, so all my reinstalls / new installations start from scratch (no user profiles, a normal OOBE first run boot) but have the Users main profile folder relocated on another drive by default. Any user profiles created will be created on the new location.

Kari




My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Sep 2014   #12
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by milindsmart View Post
Holding Shift? Else dragging it would have just copied it to another drive, not moved it.

And yeah nice way of doing it It's the same as option 3 in my post above, but I did not know it can be done so easily and elegantly
Yes, while also holding the SHIFT key down. Sorry, forgot to mention that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2014   #13
milindsmart

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

@Kari :

Whoa that's a lot of folders there... I guess you're right, moving \Users is the easiest way _currently_ .

But conceptually, if we had a script that did all this seamlessly, would you not prefer moving the folders? Then upgrading and refresh and reset will work. Right?

Also, what do you think about using an NTFS Junction Point for \Users?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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