How To: Relocate User Profiles to Different Drive/Partition (SSD Friendly)

Discussion in 'Windows 10 Help and Support' started by Cincinnatus, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. Cincinnatus

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    For those of you who have SSDs, limited space, or just want to keep your user data on another drive or partition, I wanted to share the results of some experimentation as a followup to my own question on this subject.

    I know that there is another method of relocating the User Profiles to another drive or directory involving edits to the registry, but having attempted that on my Windows 8 machine, I found that system updates would fail. I then used this very simple method - a combination of robocopy and mklink - which are working splendidly. It's also claimed to be reversible, should the need arise to undo this for any reason.

    As always, you should take an IMAGE of your boot drive, just in case things go wrong. And of course, the usual disclaimers apply - use this method at your own risk - I accept no responsibility if for some reason it doesn't work with your system or you lose your data.

    CREDITS: This is not my fix. Credit to 'NextOfWindows' (click to read their guide) for the basic idea, and other sources for the tip to use robocopy instead of xcopy with their respective switches.
    1. Boot to installation media. This is essential, so that the C: drive and user files are not locked.
    2. Select the 'Repair Your Computer' link
    3. Select Advanced
    4. Select 'Command Prompt'
    5. Confirm the location of your users directory, and the desired destination - depending on your machine, lettering may change depending on how and from where you boot.
    6. At the command prompt, issue these commands VERY CAREFULLY to ensure you have all the switches correct:
      • robocopy /copyall /mir /xj C:\Users [?]:\Users (where [?] is the destination partition)
      • rmdir /s /q C:\Users
      • mklink /j C:\Users [?]:\Users
      • Yes, Virginia - this WILL move Outlook profiles, also!
    Understanding the switches:
    /mir tells robocopy to mirror the directories, which will copy all files
    /xj tells robocopy not to follow junction points
    /copyall will copy all the attributes, including ACL and Owner info​

    Why go through all this? Simple. Most of us create more data than we're likely to have room for, especially true for those of us running SSDs which are almost invariably smaller than the drives they replace. I'd also point out that from a systems management standpoint, it's far easier to make two small backups of separate partitions (OS and Data) and archive them as needed, than having to archive one giant partition with OS and Data combined.

    Hope this helps someone out!
     
    #1 Cincinnatus, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
  2. Josephur

    Josephur Windows Forum Admin
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    I used to do this for the various reasons of disk space, organization, etc..

    mklink is one of those very valuable tools to create symbolic links that Windows users rarely know about or use.

    However that being said, I've found it way more productive to just tell Windows to move the Documents, Pictures, and Music folder by right clicking and properties on these folders and moving them that way, it's simpler.

    That being said of course this does not move AppData, your temp folders or any of that which is maybe where most of your data resides so you need to do the method you mentioned instead. But for me this works great, and I still get the speed benefits for my app data and temp folders being on the SSD, along with my CURRENT USER registry hive.
     
  3. Cincinnatus

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    I can't speak to your experience, but if you're referring to AppData such as Outlook OST/PST files and other program settings, indeed it does. I think it has to do with using robocopy and the proper switches, but my AppData folder, along with subfolders (Local, LocalLow, Roaming) and my three OST files (totalling some 1.3 gig) are all there. Even without certain files (if the Temp files don't move, no great loss), just having the Outlook profiles on another drive/partition is a benefit.

    Not sure why it didn't work for you, and your method of using the GUI is absolutely a valid solution also. I thought it might be nice for other members here to have a different option and methodology, especially where the Outlook files are concerned.
     
  4. Josephur

    Josephur Windows Forum Admin
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    No it works.. I'm just saying this option is more for advanced users, and there is some benefit for having some of your app data and temp folders on your SSD if it's your main drive is all :)
     
  5. Cincinnatus

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    Ah. Gotcha. Yes, you're absolutely right. In my case, I have a D: partition on my SSD for data only. The performance benefits are most impressive. Stuff I don't regularly access resides on my webdav server and on a usb drive left at home.
     

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