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Windows 7: How to change location of Users folder

07 Jul 2012   #1

Windows 7
How to change location of Users folder

Here is a step by step solution of how to move your Users folder in Windows 7:

The easiest way to move Users folder, new installed OS or not is

1. Start command prompt from installation DVD
1.1. Start your computer with installation DVD
1.2. After entered Language to install, Time and currency format and Keyboard or input method, Click Next.
1.3. On next window, Click Repair your computer
1.4 Click on Command prompt
2. Identify your drive letters
2.1 In recovery mode, drive letters are change from your common drive letters:
C: this is virtual C-drive
E: this is your C-drive
D: this is your first extra HDD
3. Copy your Users folder to destination of your choice.
3.1 Use command: robocopy /MIR /SEC /SECFIX /XJ [homedrive]\Users [destination path]
Example: robocopy /MIR /SEC /SECFIX /XJ E:\Users D:\Users
3.2 Make sure all files are copied with no errors reported in the end.
4. Remove your [homedrive]\Users folder
4.1 Use command: rmdir /Q /S [homedrive]\Users
5. Create hard link from [homedrive]\Users to [destination path]
5.1 Use command: mklink /J [homedrive]\Users [destination path]
This destination path shall be with the normal drive letter, not the letter changed in Recovery mode. This may differ on your computer.
6. Restart computer and log in. You're done.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jul 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Hi Simon, welcome to the Seven Forums.

Here two even easier methods, from our Tutorials section:
User Folders - Change Default Location
User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jul 2012   #3

Windows 7

I know there exists other ways to change the folders for users in GUI.

Benefits of the solution above:

1. All shortcuts to/from and in your users folders works correctly after the change.

2. All new users on the computer affects of the change, even if they don't notice.

3. All programs last used files works correctly both Microsoft standard programs and third party softwares.

Therefore I posted this solution on how to change folders without any disadvantages what I've noticed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Jul 2012   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


This tutorial runs a simple script that changes two Windows 7 environment variables, locations of ProgramData and Users. It creates all future user accounts in the new location of Users and does not need any junctions / hard links / deleting / copying, working thereafter 100% guaranteed. It also moves the Windows system folder ProgramData which can grow to be too big.

By changing the values of two internal environment variables with a simple script (provided in tutorial, you just need to change the drive letter) using the built-in System Preparation Tool you can be sure the system will work as you intended.

Your method is OK, it's just too complicated to my taste. It's also not 100% sure; When Windows "breaks down" it has a tendency to forget hardlinks and junction points, whereas it never forgets it's own internal environment variables.

But, as I mentioned, your method is OK and works. That's the main thing. Thanks for sharing.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2012   #5

Windows 7

I've seen a lot of tutorials that change User folder during installation of Seven and they have some fix to use the same tutorial on used systems too.

I haven't seen any of these solutions that keeps shortcuts to files in Users subdirectories intact, cause these shortcuts are stored fix and not relative to Users folder path. An example of this is the list of reasently used projects in VS 2010.

Or have I missed something here?

I would be more than happy if there was an easier way to change location of system folders.

These copy and deleting procedure in my guide is just to be safer. Just add switch /MOVE to robocopy and you're done in just two simple command lines:

robocopy /MIR /SEC /SECFIX /XJ /MOVE E:\Users [Destination with recovery drive letter]
mklink /J E:\Users [Destination with normal drive letter]

What can go wrong with the junctions? Even if the C-drive totally crashes and need a replace, all your users and files are still there. The only thing needed after new installation of Seven is:

rmdir /S/Q E:\Users
mklink /J E:\Users [Destination with normal drive letter]

Thanks a lot for the really fast support on this topic by the way.


My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How to change location of Users folder

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