Friday, February 4, 2011

Putting the User Profile Folder for Windows on another Partition

We all know that Windows is one OS, that, if it decides to die, it really dies and usually takes all your data along with it. That said, wouldn’t it be brilliant to have Windows and all your programs on one partition/hard drive and all your user data (Desktop, Documents, Music, Pics etc) on a separate drive? If you did that, then if Windows died, you simply format the partition with Windows on it and reinstall Windows while leaving all your data safe on the second partition.

With Windows XP you could right click on the My Documents folder and relocate it somewhere else but it still left the Desktop Folder on the Windows Partition. In Vista and Win 7 you could do the same with each User folder (My Docs, Music, Pics, Vids ETC) the only problem being it got really boring and monotonous really fast and still didn’t move the ‘AppData’ folder

Now, Profile Relocator to the rescue. This nifty lil program does all the dirty work for you on XP (x86), Vista and 7 (x86 and x64). It’s best used with a  fresh install of Windows for best result. The steps are pretty simple.

  1. When installing Windows, make sure you create a partition for Windows and another for your user data.
  2. During the Windows setup when you are asked to put in an account name DO NOT put in the name you want for the account. For the initial setup use a temporary account name like “Temp” because we will have to delete this account after we use Profile Relocator.
  3. When Windows is up and running, go to the second partition and create a folder there. Any name would do but i recommend you name it “Users”
  4. Now run Profile Relocator (Be sure to Right Click and choose “Run and Administrator”)image
  5. Agree and click ‘Next’image
  6. Remember that folder i told you to create on the second partition, now point the Profile Relocator to that folder to move your user folders and files there. Hit ‘start’ and wait for the magic to happen.image
  7. When it is done, go to ‘Control Panel > User Accounts’ and create a new account with the user name you want for your account.
  8. Restart the computer, and when it boots back up to the login screen, login with your new account.
  9. If you go to the new location for your user folder on your second partition, you should see a new folder there with the name for the new user account on it.
  10. You can now delete the old Temp account from the Control Panel and now rest assured that all your files are safe on your second partition,
  11. As an added bonus i recommend an imaging application like Macrium Reflect Free/Norton Ghost etc to image your Windows Partition with all your main programs already installed (please avoid imaging games and user files to keep the image size down, thus speeding up the recovery time) to another location so in the event Windows decides to give problems, simply restore Windows to the Image taken with the imaging program and everything should go back to when you made the image allowing you to get back working with minimal downtime.

Cheers Peeps!!

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One point I should note, when you do this move, the indexing library may get corrupted or may still point to where the user files were on the C drive. Thus the Windows 7 libraries feature which relies on the indexing system to work may not function properly anymore.

  1. In the event that happens, simply type “indexing options” in the start menu search,
  2. click it,
  3. tell the indexing too where to index, i.e. the new user directory location,
  4. then choose rebuild index, and the windows 7 libraries will begin to work as before.

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