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

09 Sep 2014   #880
iamc3k

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
I do not believe the location of the user profile folder has anything to do with your issue. What makes you think that is the reason, would be interesting to know it?
Kari
Folks with a LOT more knowledge than I have about Windows 7 tell me that it is likely that the failure of Power Options to save (despite showing that they have) can probably be resolved by creating a new User Profile.

At this point, I think it'd be best for troubleshooting to get my Windows 7 install as close to "standard" as possible.

Thanks,
Ken


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 Sep 2014   #881
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

A sysprepped Windows with relocated user profile folder is as standard as any out-of-the-box Windows. If the solution for your issue is to create a new user profile (user account), it will also be solved with relocated Users folder. The system simply creates the new user profile in current location of the Users folder.

You issues has nothing to do with the location of Users.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2014   #882
cwaters

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 w/SP1
 
 

I recently purchased a 500GB SSD. I intend to install Windows 7 on it so as to replace my HDD-based (desktop PC) Windows 7 installation. My existing installation uses a separate HDD for data; in that installation, simply using the Properties dialog box for each of the Windows 7 libraries, I had moved all of my user content to directories on the data drive; e.g., D:\Users\Chris\Documents, D:\Users\Chris\Music, etc. Before I create my new, replacement installation, I wanted to determine if there are better configurations. I found this thread and, over the last few days, have perused every page. Very educational!

Mine is a different kind of question than those that have been posted here. I considered posting it to the An Old School Geek’s approach to Installing & Setting Up a Windows PC thread, instead. Please let me know if I should post my message there or even to a new thread.

With the quickly falling prices of larger SSDs, at what point does it make sense to keep the user profiles (and, in the context of this thread, the ProgramData directory) on an SSD -- whether using SysPrep to move them to another partition on the SSD (or even to a separate SSD), using Windows Library Properties to move some/all of the user content to another partition on the SSD (or even to a separate SSD), or just keeping the user profiles in their default location -- rather than moving them to an HDD? Is the supposed write cycle limitation of today's SSDs sufficient reason to still store this data on an HDD?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Dec 2014   #883
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cwaters View Post
With the quickly falling prices of larger SSDs, at what point does it make sense to keep the user profiles (and, in the context of this thread, the ProgramData directory) on an SSD -- whether using SysPrep to move them to another partition on the SSD (or even to a separate SSD), using Windows Library Properties to move some/all of the user content to another partition on the SSD (or even to a separate SSD), or just keeping the user profiles in their default location -- rather than moving them to an HDD? Is the supposed write cycle limitation of today's SSDs sufficient reason to still store this data on an HDD?
I can of course only talk about how I see this. As far as I am concerned to save storage space on C: is just one of the reasons why I will continue using the Sysprep method to relocate the main profile folder and the ProgramData folder in Windows 7, and the main profile folder alone in Windows 8 (ProgramData cannot be relocated in 8).

For me it is also important that I can have smaller system image backups, I only need to image the System Reserved Partition and C: drive without the user data. When this image is then restored, it picks up the Users and ProgramData folders from their alternative location. It also gives better protection, when system disk fails I do not lose my user data. I simply replace the system disk and restore the latest of my weekly images.

The main reason is that I just like the idea of having not a trace of user data on C: drive. Temp files, AppData, everything is on another drive, whenever I save anything or download anything I can be absolutely sure it will not be saved on system drive even if I am careless and accept default save locations. This might be illogical to some users, not important, but for me it is the main reason to use this method however cheap it would be to get a massive HDD to be used as system drive.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

11 Dec 2014   #884
cwaters

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 w/SP1
 
 

Thanks for sharing your viewpoints, Kari! I do like the idea of storing all user data on a dedicated drive; this thread has given me a lot to think about in that regard. For my needs, however, I think I'll continue to use the simpler, non-SysPrep approach--even though it covers much less than 100% of such data.

From this and from other threads, I realize that your user data likely would not fit on today's SSDs -- but if it did, would you have any concerns about storing such data on one? With shrinking prices and increasing storage, it's only a matter of time until that becomes a possibility.

To that end, I'm considering partitioning my 500GB SSD into a 250GB OS partition and a 250GB user data partition, with my 750GB HDD as an additional location for libraries, VirtualBox images, etc. I'm still undecided what user data to store on the SSD vs on the HDD. Any suggestions? (This is a desktop PC.)

Side point: I've been installing and using Windows all the way back to the Windows 3.1 and NT 3.1 days. Personally, I've yet to see the value of system image backups (whenever that feature was added to the product). I simply re-install Windows anew from the (now USB thumbdrive) installation media, and then restore my user data. (I rebuild my OS about every 18 months, on average. I'm obsessive with my backups, storing redundant copies locally--and, for the last few years, additionally storing them in the cloud. After a re-install, I move the libraries' target location to the data drive, restore the backups to those updated target locations, and perform other miscellaneous changes; e.g., setting locations of TMP and TEMP, etc.) I suppose I could develop a system of building and maintaining a library of system image backups, but I have yet to see how that would benefit me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Dec 2014   #885
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cwaters View Post
From this and from other threads, I realize that your user data likely would not fit on today's SSDs -- but if it did, would you have any concerns about storing such data on one? With shrinking prices and increasing storage, it's only a matter of time until that becomes a possibility.
As far as I have understood the life cycle of an SSD, I would not use it to store anything else than applications and Windows itself. This, together with my personal main principle as I told in my previous post not to store absolutely any user data on system drive makes it quite clear for me that even if I now had a terabyte SSD drive to use as system drive, I would not even partition it to include a user data partition but instead would get a spinner secondary disk for that.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cwaters View Post
To that end, I'm considering partitioning my 500GB SSD into a 250GB OS partition and a 250GB user data partition, with my 750GB HDD as an additional location for libraries, VirtualBox images, etc. I'm still undecided what user data to store on the SSD vs on the HDD. Any suggestions? (This is a desktop PC.)
Storing a vm on an SSD makes it to boot and work faster but in my opinion its still a bad idea; especially if the vm is used often it causes an incredible amount of reads and writes thus shortening the life of an SSD. Therefore, I would at least use a spinner for virtual machines.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cwaters View Post
After a re-install, I move the libraries' target location to the data drive, restore the backups to those updated target locations, and perform other miscellaneous changes; e.g., setting locations of TMP and TEMP, etc.) I suppose I could develop a system of building and maintaining a library of system image backups, but I have yet to see how that would benefit me.
I am a System Image advocate, I like the simplicity of it. I even prefer to restore a customized Windows image on a new computer instead of usual install media for complete reinstalls; whenever a new Windows version is available I first create a customized and personalized install image which includes all my software, available updates, theme customizations and so on, but does not contain any user profiles and is hardware independent (can be installed on any hardware setup, any computer). Deploying this image to any new computer I then decide to install this new Windows version, I get a fresh clean install with software already installed, Windows customized, which when booted starts from the classical First Run OOBE boot asking the initial username and computer name.

This image customization method explained: Windows 7 Image - Customize in Audit Mode with Sysprep

Now I can always select if I want to do a clean install by restoring my customized master image, or just restore the computer to the last image. I do images once a week for each machine so I am pretty much fully covered whatever happens.

According to an old Finnish proverb, some people like the mother, some other prefer the daughter, meaning there are often several "correct" ways to do things. I see nothing wrong in what you have told about your way of dealing with Windows but for me this my way, complete separation of absolutely all user data from the Windows system is the only way.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Dec 2014   #886
cwaters

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 w/SP1
 
 

Thanks for the reply. I now better appreciate why an HDD is the best place to store virtual machine images! I agree.

One reason I haven't investigated system images is that I don't know where I would store them. Where do you store all of your images? How much space do they take up? I imagine that the location must be readily available to you, both for creation and retrieval.

I have a 4TB WHS server--which I use as my central library as well as to store certain larger files; it also backs up my family's desktops and laptops every night. (Other than these backups, all of the storage on the server gets backed up to the cloud on a continual basis.) I could store these images on the server; however, I'm uncertain how to access the server to retrieve an image, especially if my desktop's OS were to fail.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Dec 2014   #887
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

The way I do the system images (no user data included) they remain relatively small. Here's the last image backup from my last Windows 7 computer, created the day Windows 10 Technical Preview came available 1st of October before I replaced 7 Ultimate with 10:
User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation-2014-12-11_19h46_48.png
That includes Windows and all installed software, no user data.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Dec 2014   #888
cwaters

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 w/SP1
 
 

Very interesting! So (for a specific PC) each week you: shut down Windows, boot off the WinPE media so as to use Macrium to create a system image (presumably writing to a local drive), and then boot back into Windows? Or have you automated this? The thread you provided a link to is very extensive; however, I don't believe it discusses your weekly process.

There have been times when I wish I could have reverted to an earlier OS state. Since I move my library targets to a data drive, system images would (presumably) be relatively small...and restores would be relatively painless. I have the extra drive space so perhaps system images is something I should consider re-visiting.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Dec 2014   #889
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

There's no need to shutdown the PC, I have scheduled automatic image backups each Sunday at 3AM using Macrium. If I am awake and using the PC, the image will be created in background. BTW, the screenshot in my previous post is not from Macrium image but from native Windows Backup Image; as I totally replaced the OS I wanted to be extra sure and created one with Macrium, one with Windows Backup.

The shutting down before making the image is only necessary when doing that master image I mentioned; I sysprep the installation and shutdown, then create the image. This gives me end product, the image, which will act as if it was the original install media offering a clean OOBE boot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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