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Windows 7: User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation

28 Apr 2014   #820
crawfish

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Kari, Britton, I've never had a more pointless series of exchanges than with you two, and my last post was not directed at you two. It was for the benefit of people who stumble upon this thread and don't innately understand the problems that are inherent to the procedure presented here, who maybe aren't aware of simpler, more robust alternatives and are misled into thinking this is some kind of smart, "power user" thing all the cool kids are doing.

I know Kari has a corresponding thread on this subject at eightforums.com, and it recently popped up in "New Posts" there, which is the only reason I see these threads. In light of all the insults, rudeness, and pointless argumentation that's been hurled my way here, people might find it instructive to read Kari's recent thoughts on AppData and my reply to the person he was "helping" on the other forum:

User Profiles - Relocate to another Partition or Disk - Page 49

It's another good contrast between the sort of advice Kari provides and reality.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 Apr 2014   #821
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Fish you are more than welcome to write your own tutorial that is not so "flawed" and rife with "risks" as you say. However you past experience which you admittedly have had in XP and Vista wouldn't lend much credence to your lesson. If, if, you'd followed best practices nothing would have gone wrong, nor will it with Kari's method.

When you look at new posts why only pick on those where some person has an issue? Read through the thread and find those who thank Kari for the method and how happy they are with their systems.

Lookin' forward to your tutorial.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2014   #822
InputOutput099

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
You have two options with Vista:
1) Do first updates, including the SP2, first thereafter sysprep to relocate Users
2) Use Sysprep on an existing installation to relocate folders back to C:, install SP2, use sysprep again to relocate folders to new location

Kari
Oye..... option 1 sounds like I would need to reinstall..again..would that be the better option of the two in your opinion? Regarding option #2 should I pick up from post #22 in the tutorial? Again are the instructions pretty much the same for Vista? I admit I have not read through all 80+ pages of this thread so I was wondering if this issue may be a common occurrence or did I miss a step somewhere? Thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2014   #823
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Instructions are the same for Vista.

Run sysprep with a modified answer file as told in post #22, naturally first backing up your data just to be sure.

Basically, relocated Users and ProgramData folders in Vista and Seven should have nothing to do with Windows Update and service packs installation issues especially when relocating is done while installing, before Windows has finalized the setup and no user profiles nor installed programs exist. Windows 8 is a bit different story, relocating ProgramData might cause Windows Store and Store apps not to work why it is only recommended to relocate Users in 8 and 8.1.

For instance personally I have never experienced any update and service pack issues caused by relocated system folders. I will test this but cannot promise I have time to do it before the weekend, I need to start from scratch and install Vista in a test rig first.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Apr 2014   #824
crawfish

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
Fish you are more than welcome to write your own tutorial that is not so "flawed" and rife with "risks" as you say. However you past experience which you admittedly have had in XP and Vista wouldn't lend much credence to your lesson. If, if, you'd followed best practices nothing would have gone wrong, nor will it with Kari's method.

When you look at new posts why only pick on those where some person has an issue? Read through the thread and find those who thank Kari for the method and how happy they are with their systems.

Lookin' forward to your tutorial.
You can use the Conclusions section at the end of my last message as a "tutorial" setting forth actual best practices, with the bulk of the message above it being the demonstration proof that moving Users/ProgramData in Windows 7 locks you out of the system when the second drive goes bad or is unavailable for whatever reason, a problem which does not happen when you leave those folders on the system drive. I wouldn't have had to do the experiment and write it up if I had received a meaningful response to my first post, instead of, well, what I got, and the record of that speaks for itself.

Again, my purpose in posting here has been that none of the drawbacks I described or the safer alternatives I presented are even hinted at in Kari's "tutorial", and frankly, I think it's irresponsible not to mention them, because the people applying the method may not be aware of the new failure mode they're creating, the consequences for backup, etc, nor may they be aware they can do something much safer that will obtain the majority of the space saving by just moving data folders, which is supported directly by the Windows Explorer UI. They just see threads in multiple forums with hundreds of messages and thank-yous, and it's an official "tutorial", so it must be a good power user thing, right?

Clearly this thread is its only little universe, but there is a larger one, and unsurprisingly, I'm not the only one to think as I do. A quick google reveals that Ed Bott recommends moving data folders and leaving Users and ProgramData on the system drive, just as I have done.

Here's an article from 2011, where he advises against moving Users:

Windows 7 and SSDs: Cutting your system drive down to size

If you read the comments, on the first page you'll find this from "magnusak", which is a reply to someone advocating moving the Users folder "during a clean and 'unattended' installation", i.e. Kari's method:

@simonneedham I advice against this approach in a normal desktop environment. If the entire Users folder is placed on a different drive, a failure on this drive (temporary or permanent) will unable you to even log on to the computer (you will get a message saying "Unable to load profile" or something like that). That is very different from, say, not being able to load your documents because the drive is down. It makes debugging and error correction much more complicated.

I say this based on first hand experience.

That's exactly the same concern I expressed due to my own first hand experience with Vista in my first message here, and after getting several rude non-replies to my question as to how Windows 7 would behave, I documented the Windows 7 behavior in my follow-up message here, and I found it was just as bad as Vista. It's a real thing, as is everything I've talked about in this thread.

Here's an article from 2013, where Bott touches on things even I didn't know about.

Don't move your Windows user profiles folder to another drive

Bott links to Microsoft's Technet documentation, and here's the current version of it which applies to Windows 7, 8.1, and Server 2012:

ProfilesDirectory

Microsoft thinks it's a bad idea, too, stating "We donít recommend using this setting, except perhaps in a test environment."
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2014   #825
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Wow fish you are really a piece of work. If a drive goes bad with the entire system on it, where are you then? I make images of both drives often so I'm never more than a few days behind if things go pear shaped. More than one image on separate external drives, generally 3. I have restored either drive and the system still works fantastic.

Again I don't know why you have had so much trouble while so many other don't. As I have said I've used this very fine method at least 6-7 times with no issues and all systems run just fine. I once even had another OS on the OS drive and dual booted with no issues whatsoever.

While MS doesn't recommend or support moving Users to another drive, there are none the less thousand of people who do it and are quite happy, those examples you seem to ignore.

There are many ways to do it as well. If MS were serious, it would not be possible to do it.

User Folders - Change Default Location

User Profile - Change Default Location
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Apr 2014   #826
crawfish

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
If a drive goes bad with the entire system on it, where are you then?
You're in the same boat as you are when your secondary profile drive dies, dead in the water until you correct the problem.

Quote:
Again I don't know why you have had so much trouble while so many other don't.
I haven't described having "so much trouble". As I've said, I moved my profile for NT4/XP/Vista, which covered the years 1996-2007. Then my profile drive died, and I was locked out of the system. If I hadn't moved my profile but just my data folders, I could have continued to use my computer, because nothing was wrong with the system drive. I could've troubleshooted, used my file-based backups on external drives pending fixing the problem, etc. This was why I stopped moving my profile to save space and started moving data folders, so that a dead secondary drive wouldn't kill my whole computer. And again, it's not just me who understands this. See previous post for another example.

Quote:
While MS doesn't recommend or support moving Users to another drive, there are none the less thousand of people who do it and are quite happy, those examples you seem to ignore.
Have you not understood that for 10 years, I was one of those shiny, happy people, until all of a sudden, I was not? If all your "thousands of people" are aware of the various consequences of what they're doing and are choosing it over safer, supported alternatives, great, but they're not getting that information out of the "tutorial" promoting the method, because it's completely absent. So I'm not "ignoring" those people as you put it; in fact, it's the exact opposite.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2014   #827
jonapaloma

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Doing this tweak to windows 7... Can it increase booting time?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2014   #828
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Hi Jonapaloma, welcome to the Seven Forums.

Simple answer is no.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2014   #829
jonapaloma

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
Hi Jonapaloma, welcome to the Seven Forums.

Simple answer is no.
Care to explain why?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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