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Windows 7: User profiles

17 Sep 2014   #1
sargan

W7 64 bit ultimate
 
 
User profiles

On advice here - when I installed W7 ... I followed:
User Profile - Change Default Location

and kept OS on my C:\ and put user profile with its mass of video, pictures & music on a separate drive, and apps on a 3rd drive .... the advice here was have SSD drive for OS only, everything else on separate drives.

Due to some instability I wanted to run Windows repair ... and it failed as it does not support user profiles being in a separate location to OS ... so currently can't repair.

Started looking around and find this pretty fundamental warning:
www.zdnet.com/dont-move-your-windows-user-profiles-folder-to-another-drive-7000022142/

Unless anybody knows how to carry out system disk repair (upgrade) in current setup, I'm going to have to move my profiles back, and if that is the case may have to look at alternate config if Microsoft clearly do not support this and will not support this configuration when I go to upgrade from W7.

Any thoughts ?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
17 Sep 2014   #2
Ztruker

Windows 10 Pro X64
 
 

Note: The link you posted is messed up, it resolves to:

Code:
http://www.sevenforums.com/www.zdnet.com/dont-move-your-windows-user-profiles-folder-to-another-drive-7000022142/
should be:

Code:
http://www.zdnet.com/dont-move-your-windows-user-profiles-folder-to-another-drive-7000022142/
See the rebuttal by Keri on page 4 of the responses, near the bottom:

Quote:
I have to most respectfully disagree!

As far as I can recall, this is the first time I have to disagree with you . Not because I have written a few tutorials on those "third party websites" as you put it to instruct in doing this but because what you are saying is simply not valid and true.

Let's start with this extract from your article:

"Important

This setting should be used only in a test environment. By changing the default location of the user profile directories or program data folders to a volume other than the System volume, you will not be able to service your Windows installation. Any updates, fixes, or service packs will fail to be applied to the installation. Microsoft does not recommend that you change the location of the user profile directories or program data folders. [emphasis added]"

That is, to put it simple, absolutely totally not true. Since introduction of Windows Vista all my Windows systems private and business have had the main Users folder relocated on another partition than C: using sysprep and unattended answer file. I have never had any issues with Windows update nor with in-place upgrade installations.

As the method discussed changes the value of an internal windows environment variable, it is so well "hard coded" in system that Windows Update will recognize it and has no issues.

When upgrading I simply run sysprep on Windows first, using an answer file I relocate the Users folder back from E: to C:, reboot, run in-place upgrade and sysprep once again, moving Users back to E:.

Not a single issue. This laptop I'm using now was upgraded in above mentioned way from 7 to 8 august of 2012 and again August this year to 8.1, system files and folders except Users folder on C:, Users on E:, and the machine is working just fine, all updates done, Windows Update working as it should.

As Windows has evolved, so have its tools like sysprep. You did notice that the TechNet article you are referring to is already several years old (for instance it's using Vista Home Premium to Vista Ultimate as an upgrade example)?.

I can understand that there must be days with nothing new to write. However, scandalizing totally working methods and spreading false information is not a good way to get something published, if you ask my opinion.

Kari

KariFinn
16 December, 2013 21:17
Also this thread:

Heads up: Users cannot upgrade to 8.1 Pro if 7 User Profile was moved?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Sep 2014   #3
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Please read this thread: Heads up: Users cannot upgrade to 8.1 Pro if 7 User Profile was moved?

My response is post #8.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

18 Sep 2014   #4
sargan

W7 64 bit ultimate
 
 

The issue is though is that I cannot upgrade as Windows does not support profiles on separate partition, I want to run upgrade(repair)
I can't simply move profiles back as they are too large to fit on SSD
It will require a lot of effort to move files elsewhere to reduce profile to a size that can be moved back .... and having moved files elsewhere I might as well then leave profiles on C;\ to avoid effort in future.

The tutorial was good ... but end result seems to screw you for upgrades without a lot of extra work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2014   #5
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Using your own brain for thinking is always allowed...

Of course you can move the profile folders back to C:. Simply move your personal docs, pics and media (the content of the folders you have moved) from folders like Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos and so on in Users\Your_Username to an external device to make the current profile folders as empty as possible.

Now move the profile folders back to C: using the same method originally used for moving the folders, and upgrade.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2014   #6
sargan

W7 64 bit ultimate
 
 

Understand I can move this off ... just taking Hrs to move to backup drives.

If I have to do this every time I want to use 'repair' or when I come to upgrade, doesn't this then defeat the benefits ?

I did follow original article and it worked fine, clear easy to follow steps .... but as I now have Profiles with a large amount of data. Having to move this off ... (My docs, pics, music, videos etc.) to allow restore of profiles to C:\
Wouldn't it be best to permananently locate those elsewhere ... in which case then the profiles are no longer huge .. and there seems to be little benefit to moving them off the C:\ ?

I know there is the idea that is you get an OS failure then you can quickly restore ... but in reality as your programs are on a separate HDD ... none of these are going to work with newly installed OS - registry will be wrong (or am I missing something)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2014   #7
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by sargan View Post
Understand I can move this off ... just taking Hrs to move to backup drives.
It's totally up to you. If you do not want to wait, just reinstall from scratch. At least your personal data is safe without any additional backup on locations you have moved it to.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by sargan View Post
If I have to do this every time I want to use 'repair' or when I come to upgrade, doesn't this then defeat the benefits ?
Again, it's totally up to you to decide your priorities when setting up a Windows computer. If your main priority is to get a working system where user data and the system are separated, locating on different drives, then you move the personal content to be stored on another drive using a method that best suits you.

However, if you main concern is to keep your system all time ready for a possible future repair or in-place upgrade installation then you simply do not move anything, do not change any default locations of any folder.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by sargan View Post
did follow original article and it worked fine, clear easy to follow steps .... but as I now have Profiles with a large amount of data. Having to move this off ... (My docs, pics, music, videos etc.) to allow restore of profiles to C:\
Wouldn't it be best to permananently locate those elsewhere ... in which case then the profiles are no longer huge .. and there seems to be little benefit to moving them off the C:\ ?
In your case a working solution could be to not move anything but use Libraries instead.

An example scenario from my computer: I have stored all videos and movies on various genre related root level folders on drive J:. I have also created a new library called Videos (Drive J):
User profiles-2014-09-18_13h33_31.png
This library contains the whole drive J: and nothing else:
User profiles-2014-09-18_13h35_20.png
Because the library content is a drive, when I now open this library it shows the root of the drive J: (folders like Comedy, Action, Drama, Documentaries and so on) and I can browse and use them normally.

Library takes a few kilobits on C:, all the content is on J:.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by sargan View Post
I know there is the idea that is you get an OS failure then you can quickly restore ... but in reality as your programs are on a separate HDD ... none of these are going to work with newly installed OS - registry will be wrong (or am I missing something)
Two main points in storing your personal data on a separate drive is to reduce the amount of used space on C: and to keep them safe in case of a crash or such.

Whatever method is used for this is irrelevant. Each user should think of a worse case scenario and create a recovery strategy in case that ever happens. In my case for instance, I have relocated the complete main profile folder to drive E: and created a system image containing only the system reserved partition and drive C:. If I need to restore my system, I simply restore the image which then automatically picks up my user data and all profiles on E:. Fast and easy.

Kari


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