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Windows 7: Relocating Users Folders

18 Jun 2010   #1
teetime

win7
 
 
Relocating Users Folders

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


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
18 Jun 2010   #2
severedsolo

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Welcome Well actually, I do a similar thing myself. So if I tell you what I did, then hopefully it will answer your questions.

Firstly, C:\Users\<username> needs to stay there, there are many good reasons for this, the big one being that anything looking for it needs to know where to find it.

However, the Folders inside C:\users\<username> can be safely moved by right clicking the folders and then clicking properties, and then Location, then putting the right path in (in my case D:\<Folder Name>

This will eliminate your out of sync problems, because Windows will just point anything looking for (for example) C:\Users\Me\Documents to D:\Documents but remember to take a system image after you have made the changes, so that Windows remembers the new locations if you do have to reimage.

Restore Points are in no way affected, as the User Profile is left untouched by restoring, but again remember that any restore points made before you change it will not remember the new location.

I hope that answers your question. If not then please ask away
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2010   #3
teetime

win7
 
 

Thanks for your quick reply. I've seen some tutorials that recommend setting up a junction point with mklink when relocating c:\Users folder so that even if applications try to read or write to the default address it will be properly redirected to the relocated folder. If you are aware of this, is there a reason why you opted not to use this technique for relocating the entire c:\Users folder?

/jerry
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Jun 2010   #4
severedsolo

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Honestly, the big reason is I like to mess around with Junction points as little as possible. I find that Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures and Videos are the only folders that I actually needed to relocate, the rest of it I don't really care whether it disappears or not. (For instance AppData) Saved Games would be something you would think needs to be moved too... but it seems that only the built in Windows games actually save there.

I honestly haven't tried the method you have outlined so can't recommend it with a clear conciense, but I know that my method definitely works.

By all means try it though, (Take a system image first just in case )
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2010   #5
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Hello Jerry,

This can help show you how to safely move your User profile folder, but I would recommend to create a system image first to be safe as well.

User Profile - Change Default Location

Hope this helps,
Shawn
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2010   #6
unifex

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)
 
 

Well, I am not sure that what I am doing will help you, but it's an alternative.

I keep the C:\Users where it is. I don't have any of my files there. My files are in D:\, which is a separate hard drive. This way, the programs that are programmed to use C:\Users to keep their temporary files there can do so without any problem. At the same time, my own files are safe from whatever system problems, even if (god forbid) I need to re-install my OS, my files are not affected, I can always reinstall clean with hard drive re-format, but my files are on another drive and thus are not affected at all.

Now, while doing this I clearly do not keep my photos in the "My Pictures" folder, my documents (what exactly are documents, anyway?) are never in "My Documents", and so on. I never understood the need to use those pre-defined folders, so I do not use them. It takes a lot more effort to try to move them as opposed to simply create a folder "D:\photo" and put my photos there. So why bother? Can anyone tell me what's so special about these pre-defined folders? Any special functionality I am not aware of? Anything I might need to do can be done without them, or am I wrong?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2010   #7
FliGi7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

Why don't you use the "Libraries" feature of Windows 7 to do exactly this. Just add/link your external folders to your libraries and you won't have to do any copying or moving at any point in time. Whenever the system screws up or is re-imaged, you'll simply link the same libraries (folders on other drives) back.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2010   #8
severedsolo

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FliGi7 View Post
Why don't you use the "Libraries" feature of Windows 7 to do exactly this. Just add/link your external folders to your libraries and you won't have to do any copying or moving at any point in time. Whenever the system screws up or is re-imaged, you'll simply link the same libraries (folders on other drives) back.
great idea in theory. But in practise it doesnt work very well.

Anything that tries to write to the default location, will still write there. So your files end up split. If you redirect the user profile, then everything ends up in the right place.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2010   #9
FliGi7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

What would try to write to the default location that you couldn't change to reflect the proper external library?

I suppose it's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. Just a different idea, though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2010   #10
severedsolo

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FliGi7 View Post
What would try to write to the default location that you couldn't change to reflect the proper external library?

I suppose it's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. Just a different idea, though.
Programs mainly, especially Games tend to write to C:\Users\<user>\My Documents Often there is nothing you can do to change this behaviour
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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