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Windows 7: Change folder/file location - use Move, Symbolic link or Junction?

20 Feb 2013   #1

Window 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
Change folder/file location - use Move, Symbolic link or Junction?

I've finished a new build that uses a SSD as the system drive (and some programs) and has a secondary HDD. I'm just getting ready to add programs and move data (documents, photos, music, etc.) to the new system.

First time SSD user and have done most of the suggested configurations to prolong SSD life. As I understand it the main cause of SSD performance and longevity degradation is caused by excessive or continuous writes to the drive. In order to avoid this I plan on using the secondary HDD as the location for My Documents, My Music, My Pictures and other data such as AppData which I believe gets written to a lot. Also have read that SSD performance decreases as the drive fills so that's why I plan on putting most of my data and programs on the secondary HDD

I'm checking out options for doing this properly and know I can use the Move function (under Location tab for the folder) to change the location of some of the above system folders. I've been looking at info on using either Symbolic Links or Junctions to achieve the same effect.

Hope my questions and intentions are clear. Would appreciate any suggestions or comments on which method (or combinations) would be the best to use.

System specs:
Silverstone TJ08B-E micro ATX case | ASRock Z77 Pro4-M micro ATX MB | Intel i5 3570K CPU | Samsung 830 256GB SATA 3 SSD | WD Caviar Black 500GB SATA 3 HDD | EVGA GTX 650 | 16 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 SDRAM | Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO | Windows 7 HP 64-bit

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

20 Feb 2013   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Did you install much software already? Did you change a lot of usersettings (not systemwide) already?
it's very difficult to modify all junction points to point to new location. And some programs read registry setting to determine were "My documents" is pointing to and COPY that to their registry settings.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2013   #3

Window 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Very little software installed. Not sure what you mean about user setting changes but pretty sure I haven't modified that many, if at all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


20 Feb 2013   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

Tutorial, mainly about junctions and how to use them: MKLINK Create and Use Links in Windows

A valid idea if you do want to do it for complete Users folder, including all users, AppData and other system folders in a minute or two for all existing and future user profiles (future accounts automatically created on another drive): User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2013   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Listen carefully . Open regedit and browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
On the right side you see a key named ProfilesDirectory its value is %SystemDrive%\Users

%SystemDrive%\Users is same as C:\USERS. Under this folder new users will be created.
doubleclick on ProfilesDirectory and change the value for example to D:\USERS (if you want new accounts under D:\users)

If value has been changed, create a new user. Logon as that user. Has it created a folder D:\users\<newuser>?
You may set the value of ProfilesDirectory back to old value to prevent the same for new users in the future.

When still logged on as the new user: Copy important files over from old account. Do it from within new user, forcing it to become the new owner of those files.

Check in old account folder C:\Users\old_user\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
Any stuff there? check if those programs are working in new account. Otherwise reinstall those programs

Check old account C:\users\old_user\Desktop as well

Those stuff indicates that a program was installed "for this user only". So reinstall that program in new account

If all is working fine you can delete the old user (and its files).

Any questions?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2013   #6

Window 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
Tutorial, mainly about junctions and how to use them: MKLINK Create and Use Links in Windows

A valid idea if you do want to do it for complete Users folder, including all users, AppData and other system folders in a minute or two for all existing and future user profiles (future accounts automatically created on another drive): User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation

Kari
Thanks for the reply. I will study the tutorial. A little confused by your second paragraph. Does it mean this only works during Windows 7 installation? Also, would moving my user profile now re-locate everything onto the secondary HDD (E)? Would this move My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, etc. and the AppData folder to the E drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2013   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

This post in the tutorial thread tells how to boot to Audit Mode on existig Windows installation and then move Users using the method described in tutorial: User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation

The method moves the complete Users folder, with all users and all of their subfolders. Have been using the method since Vista on all of my rigs.

The biggest advantage is that it moves everything at once, and then in the future automatically creates also the new accounts on the new location. Do it once and forget.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2013   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Highcountryride View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
Tutorial, mainly about junctions and how to use them: MKLINK Create and Use Links in Windows

A valid idea if you do want to do it for complete Users folder, including all users, AppData and other system folders in a minute or two for all existing and future user profiles (future accounts automatically created on another drive): User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation

Kari
Thanks for the reply. I will study the tutorial. A little confused by your second paragraph. Does it mean this only works during Windows 7 installation? Also, would moving my user profile now re-locate everything onto the secondary HDD (E)? Would this move My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, etc. and the AppData folder to the E drive?
Relocating C:\users\<currentuser> to D:\currentuser can be done by creating a junction. Of course you have to copy all stuff first. Then delete currentuser folder in C:\user (or maybe rename so you still have the stuff). Then create a junction to new location.

But how will you copy all things with all permissions and owners intact? You can howower using robocopy.
But you still have to recreate all junction points inside currentuser. There are a lot of them!! Here what I have (in dutch)

C:\Users\Ron>dir/als
De volumenaam van station C is System
Map van C:\Users\Ron
23-10-2010 16:34 <KOPPELING> Application Data [C:\Users\Ron\AppData\Roami
ng]
23-10-2010 16:34 <KOPPELING> Cookies [C:\Users\Ron\AppData\Roaming\Micros
oft\Windows\Cookies]
23-10-2010 16:34 <KOPPELING> Local Settings [C:\Users\Ron\AppData\Local]
23-10-2010 16:34 <KOPPELING> Menu Start [C:\Users\Ron\AppData\Roaming\Mic
rosoft\Windows\Start Menu]
23-10-2010 16:34 <KOPPELING> Mijn documenten [C:\Users\Ron\Documents]
23-10-2010 16:34 <KOPPELING> NetHood [C:\Users\Ron\AppData\Roaming\Micros
oft\Windows\Network Shortcuts]
23-10-2010 16:34 <KOPPELING> Netwerkprinteromgeving [C:\Users\Ron\AppData
\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Printer Shortcuts]
23-10-2010 16:34 <KOPPELING> Recent [C:\Users\Ron\AppData\Roaming\Microso
ft\Windows\Recent]
23-10-2010 16:34 <KOPPELING> SendTo [C:\Users\Ron\AppData\Roaming\Microso
ft\Windows\SendTo]
23-10-2010 16:34 <KOPPELING> Sjablonen [C:\Users\Ron\AppData\Roaming\Micr
osoft\Windows\Templates]
0 bestand(en) 0 bytes
10 map(pen) 79.722.901.504 bytes beschikbaar


Why not simply create a new user with the trick I told you?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2013   #9

Window 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kaktussoft View Post
Listen carefully . Open regedit and browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
On the right side you see a key named ProfilesDirectory its value is %SystemDrive%\Users

%SystemDrive%\Users is same as C:\USERS. Under this folder new users will be created.
doubleclick on ProfilesDirectory and change the value for example to D:\USERS (if you want new accounts under D:\users)

If value has been changed, create a new user. Logon as that user. Has it created a folder D:\users\<newuser>?
You may set the value of ProfilesDirectory back to old value to prevent the same for new users in the future.

When still logged on as the new user: Copy important files over from old account. Do it from within new user, forcing it to become the new owner of those files.

Check in old account folder C:\Users\old_user\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
Any stuff there? check if those programs are working in new account. Otherwise reinstall those programs

Check old account C:\users\old_user\Desktop as well

Those stuff indicates that a program was installed "for this user only". So reinstall that program in new account

If all is working fine you can delete the old user (and its files).

Any questions?
Thanks for the detailed info. Sounds a bit scary but I suppose if I create a system image first and follow the instructions this should achieve my purpose of saving wear and tear on the SSD. One question though. Some programs I have, like Photoshop, MS Office, MS Outlook and a few others, I would like to install on the C: drive to take advantage of the speed of the SSD. If I install these (as the new user you described above) will the AppData for these programs be stored on the E drive (where new user profile has been created). Will that be the correct place for it even if the program itself is installed on the C drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2013   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

It doesn't matter where you install the program. you decide and can be changed in install procedure.
Your profile will be on E. appdata, documts,images,videos.... user registry... everything specific for that user.

What makes you find it scary? You just create a new user on E. Copy files over from old account to new account. (not appdata!! only documents!)

old account is still there and working! Nothing to be scared about.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Change folder/file location - use Move, Symbolic link or Junction?




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