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Windows 7: Moving \Users folder ... Is this a reasonable approach?


11 Apr 2009   #1
weh

Win.7.Ult.x64
 
 
Moving \Users folder ... Is this a reasonable approach?

I essentially skipped Vista completely (bought it with the hardware, installed it, then discarded it) and started with the 7000 beta. Am currently toying with 7077 on a new, 3-week-old monster machine that needs to shift into productive use very soon.

Moving the "Documents and Settings" folder was easy back in XP days. It appears to be a lot more complicated now. However, after a bit of reading, I've come up with the following:
  1. Clean install (in this case, 7077 x64) as user 'username'
  2. Enable 'Administrator' account
  3. Log out of 'username' and log into 'Administrator'
  4. Continue with computer setup using the 'Administrator' account
  5. Delete both the account and files for 'username'
  6. Hack the registry to alter the location for new user accounts
  7. -- [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList]
  8. -- Replace '%SystemDrive%\Users' with 'D:\Users' for the 'ProfilesDirectory' key
  9. Create a new account for 'username' with admin privileges which appears as D:\Users\username\...
  10. Log out of the 'Administrator' account (leaving it active and located in the C:\Users folder)
  11. Log into the new 'username' admin account and go about business as usual.
  12. (There will be four additional non-admin accounts created on this machine -- all of them located in the D:\Users folder.)
My question is: Does this seem a valid approach to separating the Users folder from the system drive? Or, am I setting myself up for problems?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Apr 2009   #2

Vista Ult 64 bit Seven Ult RTM x64
 
 

Hello Weh,

Welcome to the Seven Forums.

You might take a look at this
Personal User Shell Folders - Move Location - Vista Forums[11]=File Folder Settings

and this
Relocating your user account to another drive

Gary
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Apr 2009   #3
weh

Win.7.Ult.x64
 
 

Thank you, I did. They mostly address moving folders that already exist -- something of a nightmare, I gather, given the non-standard behavior of many software applications. What I'm hoping is that by having Windows 7 creat NEW accounts at the new location, rather than moving existing accounts, I'll avoid the problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


11 Apr 2009   #4

Slackware / Windows 7 x64 7100
 
 

It sounds like you would have to do it during the install using WAIK:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/d...displaylang=en
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Apr 2009   #5
weh

Win.7.Ult.x64
 
 

Thanks, I'm downloading it now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2009   #6

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by weh View Post
Thank you, I did. They mostly address moving folders that already exist -- something of a nightmare, I gather, given the non-standard behavior of many software applications. What I'm hoping is that by having Windows 7 creat NEW accounts at the new location, rather than moving existing accounts, I'll avoid the problems.
Not a nightmare at all.

I keep all the special folders on a separate physical HD, and on every install I have just logged in initially, and then changed the location from the default to the location that I want.

I agree, that moving the entire tree would be much nicer, but that in and of itself poses a lot of problems, you cannot just move the tree and in the registry and expect every thing to work, in *particular* legacy apps that look for the old XP folders will break, as well as anything that is hard coded to look for C:\Users\...

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SqdnGuns View Post
It sounds like you would have to do it during the install using WAIK:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/d...displaylang=en
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by weh View Post
Thanks, I'm downloading it now.
The WAIK is going to be the way to do it but it is long and drawn out. Over at MSFN a user was trying to get this done in Vista, and we did a lot of research on it - only to find out that it was neither practical nor reasonable.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2009   #7
weh

Win.7.Ult.x64
 
 

Thanks you for your advice. I had hoped my hybrid approach of having Windows itself create the new accounts in the altered location would work. I'll begin delving the depths of the WAIK tomorrow.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2009   #8

 

Unfortunately, I am in school and don't have lot of free time - however, if you find a workable solution, or need hep testing something, let me know = we worked on this back in Vista days, but I would sure like to be able to do it even now so that all my settings are preserved between installs....

One thing though - last two times I have clean installed, and I have had to take ownership of the drive where I am currently storing all those folders and such....

That is something to think about, sine the owner information goes as far as assigning the SID, not just a name, and if you perform a clean install you get a new SID - with the end result being the old SID is still assigned as the owner, and you are forced to take some action to fix the issues....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2009   #9
weh

Win.7.Ult.x64
 
 

I've already set up the machine using the procedure enumerated in my initial post. It seems to be working fine with the two dozen or so software packages I've installed on it thus far. My thinking was that by leaving the primary administrator account on C:\Users, should anything happen, I wouldn't be locked out -- and the secondary administrator account located on D:\Users would be used for day-to-day administration.

Once I finish, both the system drive and the data drive will actually be mirrored pairs (raid-1). In addition, both drives will be backed up daily to the large, internal storage array (three generations of full backups weekly with incremental backups daily) and I have plenty of external storage, as well (both external drives and two 6-drive NAS boxes).

I had assumed (yes, I know the old adage about assumptions) that if/when a rebuild/fresh-install became necessary, I'd simply use the new primary administrator account to re-establish connections to the then old D:\Users accounts and continue on as if nothing had happened. Oh, well ... C'est la vie.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2009   #10

 

With that setup, you will be able to do that, with the caveats I mentioned - and it should not take you all that long....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Moving \Users folder ... Is this a reasonable approach?




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