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

18 Jun 2014   #850
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
I think it is a bad idea since the system looks for those specific files names. If it doesn't find them it could create them on C:\, negating the process.
I totally agree. It is always a bad idea to rename Windows system folders.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Jun 2014   #851
Arqfaim

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

So if I keep 2 parallel installs, say Win7 and Win8, there's no accepted way for 2 \Users and \ProgramData folders to share the same partition?

If that be the case it's redundant to point the redirect to D:\Users or E:\Users or X:\Users . D: E: or X: is enough.

P.S. Can I redirect to a subdirectory or do they have to be on root?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2014   #852
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Arqfaim View Post
So if I keep 2 parallel installs, say Win7 and Win8, there's no accepted way for 2 \Users and \ProgramData folders to share the same partition?

If that be the case it's redundant to point the redirect to D:\Users or E:\Users or X:\Users . D: E: or X: is enough.
To put it simple: it is not recommend to rename any of the system folders. Also, to secure that the system works as it should, all main system folders should be on root level. Hence, you cannot relocate system folders from different installations to the same partition.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Arqfaim View Post
P.S. Can I redirect to a subdirectory or do they have to be on root?
See my comment above.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2014   #853
Arqfaim

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

So it turns out that neither of us was right but neither was totally wrong either
FYI:
In my "experiment" Windows 7 did create a profiles folder called "E:\Profiles Folder". That is what it lists in a command line dir. That's also what it's called looking at E: from outside Windows.
But in an Explorer window it doesn't display as "\Profiles Folder", it shows as "\Users" !!

What type of link is this being displayed?
How can I make Explorer show the true name while retaining functionality?
Can the same mechanism be used to soft-rename some other folder (inside Explorer)?

Perhaps this falls out of topic. Just trying to learn, not a specific problem to solve.
Thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Jun 2014   #854
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about? How was I wrong, what did you do?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jun 2014   #855
Arqfaim

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I have succeded relocating the \Users and \ProgramData from C: to E: via unattend.xml script during a fresh install:


Code:
...<FolderLocations>
<ProfilesDirectory>E:\Profiles Folder</ProfilesDirectory>
<ProgramData>E:\ProgData Folder</ProgramData>
</FolderLocations> ...
this resulted in an E:\ProgData Folder and a E:\Profiles Folder that displays the name E:\Users inside Windows Explorer (see previous post).

I'm sorry, I take back that you were wrong. You never said it wasn't possible you just said it was a bad idea.

About my questions, how does E:\Profiles Folder get translated to E:\Users inside Windows Explorer?
It's not listed as a junction point or symbolic link!?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jun 2014   #856
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

It is your computer, your Windows and your way to do things. I can only suggest and recommend something, based on what I know and my own experience. If you choose not to follow instructions and recommendations given to you, it's totally your own known decision.

Only explanation I can think of for Windows using symlinks for your strangely named Users system folder is that as the renaming really is a bad idea and might cause big problems in the future, Windows kind of protects itself a bit creating the Users as and where it should be.

By the way, one sure way to screw your system is what you did for ProgramData folder, renaming it.

You chose not to follow instructions given to you. I choose not to assist you in any way when these dumb decisions will later cause issues for you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jun 2014   #857
Britton30
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

I hope it will continue to work for you and you have made good back ups for the system. Most w7 or any Windows OS created system folder have special properties built-in which can't be recreated by making a new folder with the same name.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jun 2014   #858
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
I hope it will continue to work for you and you have made good back ups for the system. Most w7 or any Windows OS created system folder have special properties built-in which can't be recreated by making a new folder with the same name.
Exactly.

Using sysprep and an unattended answer file to relocate Users and ProgramData changes the values of two Windows Environmental Variables. Let's use the ProgramData folder as an example:

You can open the ProgramData folder in File Explorer using its variable name. Type %programdata% in address field followed by Enter and the ProgramData is opened, even when it's hidden as it by default is. This folder is kind of AppData folder for all users, various programs saving application specific information shared by all users as in opposite for AppData which stores the same information when it's user specific.

A well coded application does not look this folder by its de facto name or location (C:\ProgramData) but uses instead its variable name %programdata%. In an ideal situation this allows the ProgramData folder to have whatever name because the variable tells for the application in question where the folder is and what its name is.

However not all apps are coded following these correct guidelines. Some programs have the location hard coded using the default name and location. Because of this I have always recommended leaving the original ProgramData in C: there as it never grows to be too big and really is sometimes needed. See this post for an example.

I would not want to add or change anything which could cause even more confusion. I can only see possible issues but no gain in Windows having these two ProgramData folders with different names, the original in C:\ProgramData and the other, relocated and actual one in X:\MyFancyNamedProgramData.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jun 2014   #859
Arqfaim

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Guys, thanks. I acknowledge I've been warned and that going out of the box will most likely cause problems.
Fact is that I'm testing this in a virtual machine, I'm not trusting my data to this system and I have up-to-date disc images and data backup. Meanwhile I can learn from the experiment:

I have now a dual-boot install of Win8 and Win7 each on its own partition and the Users and Programdata of the 2 versions on subdirectories of partition 3 (e:\). I didn't try it but I imagine if I try to put the pairs on the root of E: then only one Users junction point would be possible creating a conflict to where it should point, being that, if I understand correctly, junction points are implemented pre-OS, at NTFS level.

I haven't installed many programs yet but I'm curious to which will mis-behave. Definitely will try-out Skype so I'll post here if still takes C:\ProgramData for granted.

Following Kari's Wikipedia lead I've tried to find the symlink \Users->\Profiles Folder.
dir /AL /S e:\ doesn't list it. Neither does Nirsoft's NTFSLinksView.
The other type of symlink possible would be ShellObject definition at the registry but I didn't find it. So I thought that maybe Windows Explorer is hard-coded to find out where %USERPROFILE% is and assume it is called \Users\... But this appears not to be true either because Win7 Explorer also sees the renamed profiles folder of Win8 and also lists its name as Users instead of Usersv8, the name I gave it.

I guess these folders are flagged as special outside the respective OSs, maybe so that they can be kept protected from other OS normal file operations. But... only Windows explorer displays this name. XY Explorer for exeample lists their true names. The mistery goes on. I guess I like debugging
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