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Windows 7: Relocating Users Folders

18 Jun 2010   #11
FliGi7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

Ok, then it should be quite simple (and you shouldn't have to do all of the settings changes and registry stuff in the link above):

<at command prompt> mklink /J “C:\Users\{username}\” “D:\Users\{username}\”

That will create a directory junction and windows will have no idea that it will be writing to D instead of the default C location.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Jun 2010   #12
unifex

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)
 
 

Programs that write by default to C:\Users are writing their temporary files there. So what? Any important files, such as texts or images that you create, can be saved by any program anywhere you want.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jun 2010   #13
teetime

win7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by teetime View Post
I'm using Windows 7 Home Premium. I have already relocated my Documents to a separate partition on my laptop's HD. I am considering also relocating the entire Users Folder to this separate partition in order to make it easier to reimage my system volume without fear of overwriting important user data. I recently had to revert to a month-old image of the system volume, and before reimaging I used Easy Transfer to copy the User data off and reload it after reimaging. This worked but it got me to thinking what if my system volume had become corrupted - I could potentially lose my current User data.

I can think of a few potential issues with relocating Users Folder and would appreciate your insights into these, as well as anything else I should be aware of.




The Issues
  1. If my Users Folder is relocated will it create any out-of-sync problems if I have to reimage with an older system image but keep the current Users Folder?
  2. Are Windows Restore Points in any way impacted by relocating the Users Folder to a different partition or drive?
/jerry
Thanks for all the feedback. Does anyone have any information relating specificly to the two issues I asked about?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Jun 2010   #14
FliGi7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

I don't quite understand the process of what you're saying for #1. What does it mean to "re-image with an older system" and what are you sync'ing would be out of sync?

As for #2, I would not think it would affect it as restore points are simply created by reading values and files and storing them for backup. Considering the symlink creation I posted above creates a scenario in which the OS is blind to the fact that the data is located somewhere else, I don't see why it wouldn't be able to still read all of the values it wants and needs to store the backups.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jun 2010   #15
teetime

win7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FliGi7 View Post
I don't quite understand the process of what you're saying for #1. What does it mean to "re-image with an older system" and what are you sync'ing would be out of sync?
Ok. Let me try to illustrate via an example. Suppose my PC was corrupted a month ago by a virus, malware, or just normal Windows things, but went undetected for a month. Now, what I would like to do is reimage the system volume with an image from before the corruption began. But there is a lot of Users data that I don't want to lose. If my PC is still running I can run Easy Transfer and all my User data can be saved to another location. But if my PC is no longer bootable that isn't an option. This scenario is essentially why I am considering moving the User Data to a separate volume and backing it up daily with my regular data volume backups. But I am concerned that there is probably app data and User profile data that was added after the month-old image I am installing. Would it likely cause any problem if I reimage with the month-old image, and then reinstate my current User data from its separate backup? If it would, then it seems to me the whole concept of moving User data off the system volume is flawed.

What I would really prefer (I think) is an easy way to move only the data that is independent of the system state to a separate drive. This would certainly include Outlook email, and most of the Public stuff. But there are a lot of things here that are in a gray area - especially app data.

There is probably not a correct answer to this, but I am hoping to better understand the issues.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2010   #16
FliGi7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

Well, if you're looking to only store things there that aren't temp or metadata by the system (i.e. actual files and databases you have created for your specific programs), then you just have to explicitly tell each program to store the data on the separate drive. You don't need anything more involved than that. I think we're searching for a sophisticated answer when there isn't one for the purposes you're describing. My method of using a symlink will move more things than you care to, which then makes it a moot point to do. It seems that the only solution to your problem is via a manual means, which is just the price to pay for weeding out certain data.

The only other automated-type solution I could give is to download something like Syncback SE (or use Win7's built-in backup feature) and configure it to selectively sync (hourly, daily, weekly, whatever you want) all of your particular files you know you care about in their particular places to a separate drive. This will mirror all of your important stuff and you can easily wipe the system at any point, knowing all of it is saved.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2010   #17
teetime

win7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FliGi7 View Post
I think we're searching for a sophisticated answer when there isn't one for the purposes you're describing.
Thanks for your insights Fligi7, which help me conclude the way I am doing it now is probably most suitable for my needs. I use Windows Home Server and make a backup every night. From the WHS backup, I can restore individual files, or so do a full system volume restore from image if I boot from the WHS restore disc.

For my scenario mentioned earlier in this thread, I can restore a system image from a month ago, then cherry pick Users Data from my latest WHS backup. This is in a way an inverse of what you are suggesting, but deciding after the restore rather than before. In either case it involves manually deciding what gets restored in case of loss of the system volume.

I was hoping for a simpler and more elegant solution, but this is doable.

BTW, I do have my Documents folder relocated to a data drive - this seems to me to be a no-brainer.

/jerry
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2010   #18
chev65

Windows 7 Ult, Windows 8.1 Pro,
 
 

You couldn't pay me enough to move the User folders anywhere else because they are right where they belong already. Moving default file locations around only leads to problems in the long run. You would be far better served setting up automatic back ups to another drive rather than moving around those default file locations. I'm big on keeping things simple and moving around default file locations tends to complicate things in a hurry.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2010   #19
FliGi7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by teetime View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FliGi7 View Post
I think we're searching for a sophisticated answer when there isn't one for the purposes you're describing.
Thanks for your insights Fligi7, which help me conclude the way I am doing it now is probably most suitable for my needs. I use Windows Home Server and make a backup every night. From the WHS backup, I can restore individual files, or so do a full system volume restore from image if I boot from the WHS restore disc.

For my scenario mentioned earlier in this thread, I can restore a system image from a month ago, then cherry pick Users Data from my latest WHS backup. This is in a way an inverse of what you are suggesting, but deciding after the restore rather than before. In either case it involves manually deciding what gets restored in case of loss of the system volume.

I was hoping for a simpler and more elegant solution, but this is doable.

BTW, I do have my Documents folder relocated to a data drive - this seems to me to be a no-brainer.

/jerry
No problem. Glad to help you find an answer in some regard.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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