Windows 10: Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10

Discus and support Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 in Windows 10 Tutorials to solve the problem; How to: Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 How to Move Users Folder to another Location in Windows 10 [img] Information The method... Discussion in 'Windows 10 Tutorials' started by Brink, Jan 9, 2015.

  1. Brink
    Brink New Member

    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10


    How to: Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10

    How to Move Users Folder to another Location in Windows 10


    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]
    Information The method described in this tutorial allows relocating Windows 10 main profile folder Users including all present and future user profiles and folders while installing Windows, before any user accounts are created, as well as later on an already installed system.

    The advantage of this method is that it changes the value of one internal Windows 10 environment variable, being a “Do it once and forget” procedure. Changing the variable takes care of all existing and future user profiles, locating them when created to selected drive or partition. The method is fail proof and reversible.

    When Windows 10 is installed, 5 or 6 system folders are created depending on chosen bit-version:
    • PerfLogs (Performance Logs), where Windows stores performance and reliability logs
    • Program Files, where applications and software are installed. Windows x86 (32-bit) stores all applications here, Windows x64 (64-bit) only native 64-bit applications
    • Program Files (x86), exists only in Windows x64. All non-x64 applications are stored here
    • Windows, which contains core operating system files and drivers
    • ProgramData, where some applications store application and user specific settings and configuration files.
    • Users. This is the “home” of all user profiles. When a new user account is created and this new user logs in first time, Windows creates a set of user specific folders (Users\Username)
    Microsoft does not recommend relocating, moving ProgramData, Program Files, Program Files (x86) and Windows folders. Too much is depending on information and data stored on these folders and relocating them might cause serious issues. However, there's simply nothing preventing us to move the Users folder and everything it contains, including the Temp and AppData folders. This tutorial will show how to move (relocate) the Users folder by changing internal Windows Environment Variables.

    Moving Users folder can save a lot of space on system disk. Pictures, mp3’s videos, documents and so on, a user folder with its subfolders can be tens, sometimes hundreds of gigabytes.

    Personally, when installing Windows I always use Audit Mode to relocate Users folder, leaving system drive only for Windows and applications.

    Please notice that the Users folder can only be relocated to an internal hard disk or SSD. On tablets with often small internal storage it would be practical to move the Users to an SD card but it can't be done.


    Contents:
    Method One: Relocating Users folder during installation
    Method Two: Relocating Users folder on an existing Windows installation
    Upgrade: Upgrade and Sysprep: what to do when upgrading from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1


    1. Install Windows 10

    To clean install Windows 10, see this tutorial: Windows 10 - Clean Install

    If you don't have install media for Windows 10, see download instructions in this tutorial: Windows 10 ISO Download


    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]
    Information For some reason Sysprep sometimes fails when Windows is connected to the network when installed. I recommend installing Windows without any whatsoever network connection, connecting Windows to network only when you have entered the Audit Mode as told below.

    When installation reaches the Region Selection screen after reboot press CTRL + SHIFT + F3:


    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]

    Windows reboots now entering a so called Audit Mode using the built-in administrator account. When Windows Desktop will be shown you'll notice the System Preparation Tool dialog in the middle of your screen. Close it for now by pressing the Cancel button:


    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]


    2. Create an unattended answer file

    If you installed Windows without a network connection, you can connect to network now.

    The relocation procedure itself will be done with a native Windows 10 tool called System Preparation Tool (Sysprep). Sysprep alone can quite little, it needs instructions. These instructions it gets from an XML script file, an unattended answer file.

    In our case we need a very simple answer file. It simply contains two important details, instructions to Sysprep:
    • Bit version of the Windows (32 or 64 bit)
    • New location of Users folder (for example D:\Users instead of default C:\Users)

    OK, let's start. Open Notepad, paste the following code to a new file:
    Code:
    Change the following details if needed (see the parts in red in above code):
    • Line 4: The value of variable ProcessorArchitecture must be amd64 if you are installing a 64 bit Windows regardless of if you have an Intel or AMD processor, and x86 if you are installing a 32 bit Windows
    • Line 6: The value in ProfilesDirectory tags is the new location for the Users folder, in this example answer file it will be moved to D:\Users.Be sure that the drive into which you are relocating the Users folder is empty or at least does not contain any Windows system folders, especially Users folder or parts of it from any current or previous Windows installation."[/


    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]
    Warning Please read this before proceeding!

    Windows "likes" to set the the drive ID letters like this:
    • Drive C: > The system drive where Windows will be installed
    • Drive D: > First optical drive (CD / DVD drive)
    • Drive E: > Second partition on the same disk where the C: is located, or in case that disk only has one partition, the first partition on the secondary disk
    Now when you sysprep telling it to move the Users to a specific drive, after the reboot Windows might find that intended target drive for Users folder has another drive ID letter and your intended drive D: is now E:. Sysprep fails and you have to reinstall.

    To be sure you are able to use your chosen partition for the relocated Users folder you need to set the drive letters manually before the sysprep is run. In Audit Mode you can do this for instance with Disk Management by manually changing the drive letters. In below example I want to secure that Users folder will be moved to D drive:
    • Change the optical drive letter to something at the end of the alphabet, I use W:
    • Change the drive letter of the partition or disk you intend to use for the Users folder to D:
    • If the partition or disk you want to use already has a letter D:, change it to something else, close the Disk Management, open it again and change the letter back to D:
    See the tutorial at our sister site the Seven Forums: Drive Letter - Add, Change, or Remove in Windows - Windows 7 Help Forums

    I recommend to always set drive letters manually to override the defaults.


    Save the file as an XML file to root of any drive except C:. In this example I have already renamed my D: drive to User Profiles and save the answer file there as D:\relocate.xml:


    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]



    3. Run Sysprep

    Almost there! Open elevated Command Prompt (tutorial). To ensure that WMP Network Sharing Service is stopped, give the following command:

    net stop wmpnetworksvc

    The service is most probably not running but if it is, it will now be stopped. When this service is running, Sysprep fails.

    Now the Sysprep command itself. Type the following:

    %windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /oobe /reboot /unattend:d:\relocate.xml


    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]



    The above command tells system to run the Sysprep from Windows\System32\Sysprep folder reading instructions from the unattended answer file D:\relocate.xml, prepare the computer for an OOBE boot (OOBE = the first boot of newly installed Windows) and finally reboot when ready.

    Hit Enter, you will see Sysprep starting to do its magic:


    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]



    That's it. Windows runs now the OOBE First Run boot and you can continue from the installation tutorial step 12 where we left the installation in the beginning of this tutorial. When finally at Windows Desktop, you will notice that the main profile folder and your user account in it have been moved to drive D: (or any other drive you selected):

    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]





    Method Two [/i] Relocating Users folder on an existing Windows installation


    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]
    Warning Do not proceed before creating a system image!

    Sysprepping an existing installation with an OEM pre-installed Windows is risky. Manufacturers might have their own unattended answer files in place which ignore your custom unattended files. Anything can go wrong when sysprepping an existing installation, I do not recommend doing this.

    If you decide to try it and it fails and you post about it, I will remind you about this warning asking you to restore the system image you made before proceeding.

    Short: Relocating Users folder with Sysprep should only be done on new, clean installs! Trying this Method Two, relocating Users on an existing installation might force you to do a complete reinstall or restore your PC to factory state.

    A video about Method Two:



    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]
    Note With Windows 10 version 1703 and later you do not have to disable existing users as shown in video! In fact, in doing so might even lock you completely out from Windows, forcing you to do a reinstall.

    Version 1703 (build 15063 and later), do not disable / deactivate existing user accounts as hown in video!




    1. Create an unattended answer file

    Create an answer file exactly as told above in Method One Step 2.

    2. Run Sysprep

    Run Sysprep exactly as told above in Method One Step 3.

    3. OOBE Boot

    Although you already had Windows 10 installed, after Sysprep the first run OOBE boot is always run. This means that Windows goes through the initial setup process. You continue now from step 12 in installation tutorial.

    Two things to notice now:
    • You don't have to enter the product key now even Windows will ask it. Entering it does no harm but if you want to save some key presses, you can simply click Skip button:

      Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]

    • Your original user accounts have not disappeared, everything is still there. However, the OOBE boot requires a user account to be created but if you try your existing account, local or Microsoft account, you get an error message:

      Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]

    • To work around this, simply set up a dummy local account (see installation tutorial step 19). You can then later log in to your original account and remove this dummy local account.



    Upgrade [/i] Upgrade and Sysprep: what to do when upgrading from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1

    • See 1. Move ProgramData back to C: drive below for how to prepare Windows for an upgrade by moving the ProgramData folder back to C: drive if you have relocated it to another drive.
    • See 2. Edit Registry to Sysprep an Upgraded Windows below for how to run Sysprep on an upgraded Windows.


    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]
    Note Please notice that with the Build 10586 (TH2 version 1511) and later there has been no issues in upgrading even with relocated Users folder.

    If upgrading from Windows 7 with not only the Users folder but also the ProgramData folder relocated, you have to move ProgramData back to C: drive before upgrading as told below. Windows 10 does not support relocating Programdata, nor can you upgrade with relocated ProgramData. This is not necessary if the ProgramData folder is not relocated.

    Don't panic, this is quite easy Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 :).

    1. Move Users (and possible ProgramData) back to C: drive

    Open Notepad, paste the following code to a new file:
    Code:
    Change the following detail if needed (see the part in red in above code):
    • The value of variable ProcessorArchitecture must be amd64 if you are installing a 64 bit Windows regardless of if you have an Intel or AMD processor, and x86 if you are installing a 32 bit Windows
    Save the file as an XML file to root of any drive.

    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]

    Now do steps 2 and 3 in Method Two above, continue from below when done.

    2. Edit Registry to Sysprep an Upgraded Windows

    When running Sysprep on an upgraded Windows you might get an error message about Sysprep not being able to validate your Windows installation, Sysprep will simply not run. Checking the log file you will find out the reason in plain text:

    Code:
    (Log: C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\Panther\setupact.log)

    We need to edit Windows registry to "fool" Windows to think this is a clean install instead of an upgrade. To do this open the Registry Editor (WIN + R, type regedit, hit Enter), browse to key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup


    Delete both the DWORD Upgrade (right pane) and KEY Upgrade (left pane), see screenshot. The system warns you that skies can fall down if you delete these items, just laugh loud and accept the deletion *Wink:

    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]


    Still in Registry Editor, browse to key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\Status\SysprepStatus, if either DWORD CleanupState or DWORD GeneralizationState has any other value than 7, change it to 7 by double clicking the DWORD in question and entering the new value:

    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]


    Close the Registry Editor. Open Command Prompt, type slmgr /dli and hit Enter to open Software License Manager. Close it as soon as it opens, close Command Prompt.

    You can now upgrade to next build, and when the upgrade is done you can sysprep the upgraded Windows . After the upgrade has finished and you have rebooted back to desktop, repeat this step (registry editing and slmgr /dli as told above), then do the Method Two from above. For Windows 8 and 8.1 users, continue from step 1.2 in the Eight Forums tutorial http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials...tion-disk.html.


    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]
    Note If you will move the Users back to the same drive where it was earlier before the upgrade, be sure to empty the drive first to a backup location. Drive should be empty before moving the Users from C:, you can after the relocation process then copy your files back to corresponding folders in the new Users folder.

    That's it folks, have fun with Windows 10!

    Kari


    Related Tutorials

    :)
     
    Brink, Jan 9, 2015
    #1
  2. Nicrite Win User

    Vista Ultimate - 'User' Folder Location

    No tried that.

    Can copy the entire folder to D; but Windows still points to C as the location. Can change personal folders location to a folder on D;, but this still leaves hidden files etc on C;. Thus meaning there are 2 Users folders. Have managed to change the Public folder location to D;, with some registry tweaks, but this doesnt seem to work for the entire folder.

    any more suggestions
     
    Nicrite, Oct 26, 2019
    #2
  3. Ahhzz Win User
    Windows 10 Tweaks

    Pressing “Windows+Pause Break” (it’s up there next to scroll lock) opens the “System” Window.

    Windows 10: In the new version of Windows, Explorer has a section called Quick Access. This includes your frequent folders and recent files. Explorer defaults to opening this page when you open a new window. If you’d rather open the usual This PC, with links to your drives and library folders, follow these steps:

    • Open a new Explorer window.
    • Click View in the ribbon.
    • Click Options.
    • Under General, next to “Open File Explorer to:” choose “This PC.”
    • Click OK


    credit to Lifehacker.
     
    Ahhzz, Oct 26, 2019
    #3
  4. Kari Win User

    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10

    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10  


    If not the best way to do that but at least the way I recommend:

    • "Empty" your user profile folders as much as you can, copying documents, pics, videos, music and all other personal data from all user profiles to external HDD. As following steps require you to relocate Users folder two times, the less data is left in user profile folders, the faster the relocation process. Important: Leave system folder AppData for each profile intact, do not empty / move its content!
    • Reverse the relocating, doing exactly as told in tutorial Method Two but this time relocating Users folder back to C: drive
    • Shut down the PC, replace the disk where you had Users relocated
    • Mount the new disk, boot to Windows, assign new disk the same drive ID letter than the old one had
    • Again, do as told in Method Two, now relocating Users to new disk
    • Restore the backed up personal user data from external drive to respective folders under each user profile
     
  5. Kari Win User
    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10  


    No, it should be the install.wim file and that's the cause for your issue.

    If you create the Windows 10 install media as USB Flash drive in Media Creation Tool, the compressed and encrypted ESD file is used instead of the WIM file. You need to have an install media with the WIM file instead; easiest way to get it is to use the Media Creation Tool again, this time selecting the ISO image option. The ISO image created with the tool uses the WIM file. For Media Creation Tool, see tutorial: Windows 10 ISO Download - Windows 10 Forums

    Step 1, select Create installation media for another PC:

    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]


    Step 2, select your language, edition and bit version. Be sure to select the same bit version as you are installing; you cannot use a 32 bit install.wim in sysprepping a 64 bit Windows and vice versa:

    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]


    Step 3, select ISO file and let it be created. There's no need to burn the ISO to disk or flash drive if you already have an install media to use, the ISO will only needed when sysprepping :

    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 [​IMG]


    When you have the ISO, do like this:
    • Install Windows 10 clean, boot to Audit Mode, create the answer file (this tutorial, Method One Steps 1 & 2)
    • Before sysprepping (Method One, Step 3), mount the ISO file as virtual DVD drive by double clicking it. Check the drive letter given for it by Windows, let's say the virtual drive gets letter F > use this CPI source in answer file: Code:
      Code:
      cpi:source="wim:F:\sources\install.wim#Windows 10 PRO"
    • Sysprep as told in tutorial
    Should work now.
     
  6. Setting New Location Of User Folder to another User Folder

    Hi Renee,

    Having an easy access to the Desktop folder can give you a convenience on opening your files. Regarding your concern about the Desktop folder that was moved to the Downloads section, we recommend that you create a new local user or administrator account to
    resolve the issue.

    To create a local user or administrator account, follow the steps listed on this
    link
    .

    In addition, to move your files from the Downloads folder back to the Desktop folder, we suggest that you manually copy and paste the files to avoid any data loss.

    Feel free to post back if you need more help.
     
    Eileen Gal, Oct 26, 2019
    #6
Thema:

Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10

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