User Profiles - Relocate to another Partition or Disk

How to Relocate User Profiles to another Partition or Disk in Windows 8

information   Information
The method described in this tutorial allows relocating user profiles and folders already while installing Windows 8, before any user accounts are created, as well as after installation on an already installed system.

The advantage of this method is that it changes some internal Windows 8 environment variables, being a “Do it once and forget” procedure. Changing the variables 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 8 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. However, there's simply nothing preventing us to move the Users folder. In this tutorial we show how to move (relocate) the Users folder by changing an internal Windows Environment Variable.

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



Note   Note
Screenshots from pre-release version Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Actual Windows 8 has different colors but the functions are the same, tutorial can be used as it is.



warning   Warning

An upgraded Windows cannot be sysprepped. As this method is based in sysprepping, this tutorial is valid only for Windows setups which have not been upgraded.

This means that if you have for instance in-place upgraded Vista or Seven to Eight you cannot sysprep and this tutorial cannot be used in your case. The same applies if you have upgraded Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro or Windows 8 to 8.1.

Notice that a repair install is also an upgrade install, so if you have ever done a repair install (= in-place upgrade to same edition), you cannot sysprep.

When sysprepping an existing Windows setup, it only works if the Windows 8 was installed clean and has never been upgraded or repaired using repair install, or if it is the original pre-installed Windows 8

Although I have repeatedly told that relocating ProgramData will cause Windows Store and Apps as well as PC Settings not to function, people keep doing it using the method described in this tutorial.

DO NOT RELOCATE PROGRAMDATA! YOUR WINDOWS STORE AND APPS WILL NOT WORK IF PROGRAMDATA IS MOVED FROM ITS DEFAULT LOCATION.




1.Audit Mode

1.1. Boot to Audit Mode when installing Windows 8


(If you have already installed Windows 8, continue from step 1.2.)

Start Windows 8 installation normally.

When installation after a reboot or two is completed and Windows 8 comes to Personalize page (see screenshot below) press CTRL + SHIFT + F3 (press and hold down CTRL and SHIFT, press F3 still holding CTRL and SHIFT down, release all three keys).


Win8_RelocateUsers_012.png

DO NOT ENTER PC NAME HERE OR CLICK NEXT! Just press CTRL + SHIFT + F3.

Your computer reboots now. Don’t panic, it’s just doing what it really should do. Windows 8 starts now in so called Audit Mode, using built-in administrator account to let you to modify Windows before any user profiles and user specific folders are created.

Continue from step 2.


1.2. Boot to Audit Mode from existing Windows 8 installation

First you need to open Command Prompt using built-in administrative account: hover pointer over bottom left corner of the desktop, right click to open Start Menu , select Command Prompt (Admin):

Win8_RelocateUsers_005.png Win8_RelocateUsers_006.png

Command Prompt window opens. Type this to command prompt:
Code:
[B]C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\Sysprep.exe /audit /reboot[/B]

Win8_RelocateUsers_015.png

Hit Enter.Windows reboots now to Audit Mode, "thinking" it's been started first time. Text Preparing can be seen on screen.

If you are interested to know more about Audit Mode, here are some links for you to read:




2. Audit Mode

Windows has now booted in Audit Mode using built-in administrator account, and you should see Metro interface. Click Desktop to enter classic Windows desktop:

Win8_RelocateUsers_003.png

To start, click Cancel to close System Preparation Tool:

Win8_RelocateUsers_004.png


If you don’t have a second internal hard disk or you have not created and formatted an extra partition on your system disk, you need first to create one. Notice that the drive or partition don't have to be empty, but especially if relocating on an existing installation it must be big enough to allow Users folder to be moved there. When we sysprep with answer file on next step these two folders are physically moved to new location.

If you already have a formatted second HD or partition, you are ready to go.


2.1. Creating an answer file (script) for System Preparation Tool

Audit Mode lets us to start Windows without creating any user accounts. At the moment we are using the built-in administrator account. Your own accounts are created later.

We are going to use System Preparation Tool (sysprep) to run an XML-script (so called Answer file) which modifies the Windows registry and settings as we want to, relocating Users folder to another partition, E: in this example, by changing a so called Windows Environment Variable. You can of course use any internal drive you want to.

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a set of rules for encoding documents in machine readable form.
To make changes to Windows registry, we will now create a script in XML and run it with sysprep.

Open Windows Notepad text editor (press Win + R, type Notepad, hit Enter). Type the following script, or copy it from here and paste to Notepad (please do not forget to read the notes below code lines 4, 6 and 11 regarding said lines):


  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  2. <unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
  3. <settings pass="oobeSystem">
  4. <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm=[noparse]"http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"[/noparse]>
    Note   Note
    (If you are installing Windows x64 (64-bit), value prosessorArchitecture should be amd64​, also on Intel processors. For x86 (32-bit) it should be x86.)

  5. <FolderLocations>
  6. <ProfilesDirectory>e:\Users</ProfilesDirectory>
    Note   Note
    In this example the new location of Users would be E:\Users. Change the drive letter according your needs.

  7. </FolderLocations>
  8. </component>
  9. </settings>
  10. [noparse]<cpi:eek:fflineImage[/noparse] cpi:source="wim:F:/sources/install.wim#Windows 8" xmlns:cpi="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:cpi" />
    Note   Note
    (Change the drive letter in wim:F: to that of your CD/DVD drive, USB stick or virtual drive containing your Windows 8 installation media (DVD/ISO). Notice that installation media has to be available to system when running sysprep. Change Windows version accordingly, Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro.

  11. </unattend>
(Please leave the row numbers out when typing or copying the above code. Answer file generated with Windows System Image Manager).

If you are installing Windows 8 PRO x64 from CD/DVD/USB F: and relocating Users to E: you don’t have to change anything, you can use the script as it is.

Select Save As from Notepad’s File menu. Select Save as type: All Files. Name the file as you want, add .xml extension to the filename. Save the script to the root of any drive:

SaveAs.png

Alternatively you can download the answer file here: View attachment relocate.rar

2.2. Using System Preparation Tool

Open the Start Menu (Win + X), select Command Prompt (Admin).

First stop the Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service (WMPNetworkSvc) by giving the following command:
Code:
net stop WMPNetworkSvc

When the service has stopped, type the following to the command prompt and press
Enter to move to the right folder:
Code:
cd c:\Windows\System32\Sysprep

Win8_RelocateUsers_007.png

Now type the following and press Enter (notice the name and path of the script we created above, change it if needed. I saved answer file on E so the path is E:\relocate.xml):
Code:
Sysprep.exe /audit /reboot /unattend:E:\relocate.xml

Win8_RelocateUsers_008.png

You should now see System Preparation Tool dialog telling it is working on our script:

Win8_RelocateUsers_010.png

Let it run, don’t touch mouse or keyboard now. When System Preparation Tool is ready, Windows must and will reboot. It reboots back to Audit Mode.


2.3. Exiting Audit Mode

To continue Windows installation we have to exit Audit Mode and reboot. After reboot you’ll land back on Metro interface. Click Desktop to enter classic Windows desktop, click OK on System Preparation Tool dialog to boot normally in OOBE i.e. normal mode.

Before clicking OK, check that System Cleanup Action is set to OOBE, and Shutdown Options set to Reboot:

Win8_RelocateUsers_009.png



3. Finalizing installation

Finalize Windows installation.

If you did this from an existing Windows installation, you will notice that for your Windows this is as if it were the first time Windows was booted i.e you are back on OOBE boot, inserting product key and personalizing Windows. It also means that you have to enter so called initial user. In this case Windows does not accept any of the users created earlier, whether local or Microsoft accounts; instead you need to create a new user.

An example from this PC I am using now: I had already created two users and installed software when I decided to do sysprep to relocate Users. I had a local account for me and an Microsoft account using my email address. After finalizing sysprep, I needed to create a third user Test because system does not let me to use either Kari (local account) or Kari (Microsoft account) usernames because those accounts already existed on this PC.

So I created user Test (local), then from Welcome screen logged in as Kari (Microsoft account) and simply deleted the new Test account which I had just created. An extra step, small annoyance but there's nothing to do to avoid it.

When Windows finally boots first time to Start Screen you will see that Users folder is now located on the new drive or partition with all its subfolders.

When you check your system drive [noparse](C:) still [/noparse]contains Users folder. The old, original Users on C: can contain some Windows Store information that may not be moved, so let the old Users folder stay on C:. It will no longer grow, all new user data will be stored on a new location, but it is essential it remains on C:. You can hide it if you want, you are never again going to need it.

Notice that Users folder is not created on or moved to new location when you return to Audit Mode after running sysprep. Relocation will first happen when you exit Audit Mode and boot to OOBE (Welcome) mode to continue installation. If done on an existing system the first OOBE boot after sysprepping can take quite a long time, depending on how big those folders are that sysprep is physically moving to new location.

Remember also that when you create a new user profile the user folders are not created before the new user logs in first time.

That’s it, folks! Welcome to the Windows 8:


Win8_RelocateUsers_016.png

Win8_RelocateUsers_017.png

Now create a system image and you wont have to ever again remember jumplists and links everytime you restore the system to earlier point or system image. User account folders are now permanently moved to another drive, all new user profiles are automatically created on this new location and your system drive won’t be full so soon.

Thanks for reading.

Written and published on 02[SUP]nd[/SUP] of March 2012
Edited and updated on 6[SUP]th[/SUP] of February 2013
Edited, answer file's validity checked on 14[SUP]th[/SUP] of April 2013
Added instructions for Windows 8.1 Pro preview on 29th of June 2013


Kari



 

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Kari

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apprenticegamer

New Member
Messages
25
Hi Kari, I love that I found this post, it is exactly what I am looking for. My question to you would be I have separate partition on my c: that has the recovery system on it, can I just reference the c: for the installation (line 10). My system is an msi GT70 dragon with the raided ssd's for primary drive 128gb, and 750gb spindle drive for secondary. Thanks for your thoughts and thanks again for posting this tip.

Ken
 

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Kari

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I answered a similar question just before your post. Read the question (two posts before yours) and my answer.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
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    HP ENVY 17-1150eg
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    1.6 GHz Intel Core i7-720QM Processor
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    6 GB
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    ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 Graphics
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    Beats sound system with integrated subwoofer
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    17" laptop display, 22" LED and 32" Full HD TV through HDMI
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    Hard Drives
    Internal: 2 x 500 GB SATA Hard Disk Drive 7200 rpm
    External: 2TB for backups, 3TB USB3 network drive for media
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    As Envy runs a bit warm, I have it on a Cooler Master pad
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braan

New Member
Messages
2
Hi,

Is it possible to do this with a Windows 8 OEM ?

I have an MSI notebook GE70 2OE with Windows 8. I have 5 DVD to reinstall Windows 8 but in folder (optical drive)/sources/install.wim there is no install.wim file but a file name boot.wim. Can I use it and change the name in the script ?

And I don't known my product key which is in the bios/firmware.

Is there a solution ?

Many thanks for your how to and for your help
 

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Kari

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Hello Braan, welcome to the Eight Forums.

You need install.wim / original Windows install media. See post #280 in this thread to learn how to obtain one.

You will need the product key, see this tutorial: http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/27129-product-key-find-windows-8-a.html

warning   Warning
Always make a full backup or create a system image before sysprepping your Windows PC. Sysprepping a Secure Boot / UEFI PC with pre-installed Windows 8, see this article for a workaround for a possible "Product Key Do Not Match" issue



Kari
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
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    HP ENVY 17-1150eg
    CPU
    1.6 GHz Intel Core i7-720QM Processor
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    6 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 Graphics
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    Beats sound system with integrated subwoofer
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    17" laptop display, 22" LED and 32" Full HD TV through HDMI
    Screen Resolution
    1600*900 (1), 1920*1080 (2&3)
    Hard Drives
    Internal: 2 x 500 GB SATA Hard Disk Drive 7200 rpm
    External: 2TB for backups, 3TB USB3 network drive for media
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    As Envy runs a bit warm, I have it on a Cooler Master pad
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braan

New Member
Messages
2
Thanks for the answer Kari,

Ok now I have my product key but I can't download a Windows 8 iso from Microsoft because it's an OEM key.

"You will not be able to use a factory OEM Windows 8 product key with a retail Windows 8 ISO file"

What can I do ?
 

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apprenticegamer

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Kari, on my msi gt70 I have the option to create my recovery as a bootable usb drive can I use this for my installation media and direct the script towards ( install.wim) or would I have the same issue as braan, of oem win8 and retail iso ?
 

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    MSi GT70 ONE 610u
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    16 Gb DDR3
    Graphics Card(s)
    Nvidia 680m
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    2x128Gb raided ssd's primary
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Kari

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My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HP ENVY 17-1150eg
    CPU
    1.6 GHz Intel Core i7-720QM Processor
    Memory
    6 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 Graphics
    Sound Card
    Beats sound system with integrated subwoofer
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17" laptop display, 22" LED and 32" Full HD TV through HDMI
    Screen Resolution
    1600*900 (1), 1920*1080 (2&3)
    Hard Drives
    Internal: 2 x 500 GB SATA Hard Disk Drive 7200 rpm
    External: 2TB for backups, 3TB USB3 network drive for media
    Cooling
    As Envy runs a bit warm, I have it on a Cooler Master pad
    Keyboard
    Logitech diNovo Media Desktop Laser (bluetooth)
    Mouse
    Logitech MX1000 Laser (Bluetooth)
    Internet Speed
    50 MB VDSL
    Browser
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progers885

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System appeared to hang with circular spin in step 3

Hi Kari,

Existing windows 8 pro system 64 bit (Not Upgraded fresh install)

I have my folders relocated from c:\Users\Paul to D:\Users\Paul using the properties/location tab but want to start using dropbox which keeps its database in AppData which still resides on my C drive and as I recover an image of my C drive every so often to remove the clutter, I wanted to move the AppData to my D drive and thought your method would suit.

To be on the safe side I relocated all my folders back to the C drive and renamed D:\Users to D:\Users-org just in case sysprep did not like an existing directory, it was only 10GB and didn't take long.

I downloaded your relocate.xml file and changed the E drive for the users profiles to D and cpi:source to E from F. The original install was F but I changed the drive letter to E after the install.

Followed your steps to the letter all appeared well until step 3 when on starting boot up it just gave the circular spin on the screen, I left this for over an 2 hours and nothing changed, so gave up and reset and the system which gave a fatal error on booting, I recovered my image and D:\Users\Paul\AppData\ had been created and that was all.

Question is, did I need to relocate my folders back to the C drive or could I have just left them where they were? and could I have caused a problem changing the drive letter for the DVD performed the windows installation on?

Regards

Paul
 

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Kari

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Hi Paul, welcome to the Eight Forums.

Before proceeding you need to completely move the folders relocated using Location tab back to their original locations, then empty (wipe) the drive where they were located. The reason is, relocating with an answer file and sysprep there can't be any system folders located in the new target location, and as the folders were marked by the system as system folders they need to be completely wiped before sysprep can use this location.

To put it short, the target drive / partition should be totally empty when running sysprep with relocation answer file. In any case it must not contain any system files and folders from any current or previous Windows installation.

Kari
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HP ENVY 17-1150eg
    CPU
    1.6 GHz Intel Core i7-720QM Processor
    Memory
    6 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 Graphics
    Sound Card
    Beats sound system with integrated subwoofer
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17" laptop display, 22" LED and 32" Full HD TV through HDMI
    Screen Resolution
    1600*900 (1), 1920*1080 (2&3)
    Hard Drives
    Internal: 2 x 500 GB SATA Hard Disk Drive 7200 rpm
    External: 2TB for backups, 3TB USB3 network drive for media
    Cooling
    As Envy runs a bit warm, I have it on a Cooler Master pad
    Keyboard
    Logitech diNovo Media Desktop Laser (bluetooth)
    Mouse
    Logitech MX1000 Laser (Bluetooth)
    Internet Speed
    50 MB VDSL
    Browser
    Maxthon 3.5.2., IE11
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender 4.3.9431.0
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    Windows in English, additional user accounts in Finnish, German and Swedish.

titansan

New Member
Messages
1
Did everything and it works flawlessly on Windows 8 HOWEVER...

If you attempt to install Windows 8.1 preview via the apps it WILL NOT WORK.

Anyone have a solution to this?

Edit: Actually all other Apps update and install fine. Any solution to installing Windows 8.1 then?
 
Last edited:

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progers885

New Member
Messages
2
System appeared to hang with circular spin in step 3

Hi Kari,

I took your advise and relocated my folders back to the C drive using the location tab, I then formatted my D drive to clear it out and tried again; exactly the same result "System appeared to hang with circular spin in step 3 "

not wanting to beaten I went back to an image of the system just after loading windows but before using the location tab to move my folders to the D Drive and everything works.

It must be something I have loaded since then but I have no idea what, I suppose the question is, do I want to customize my system all over again or just copy the AppData folder to my D drive and make a symbolic link unless you can think of something else to try?


Regards

Paul
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 8 pro 64 bit
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    hp6910p
    CPU
    intel core2 duo T7250 2.0GHz
    Motherboard
    N/A
    Memory
    4GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Radeon X2300
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    Firefox
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    avast

Kari

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@ Titansan: First, welcome to the Eight Forums. There are several reasons why the 8.1 update through store might not work, sysprepped system doesn't have to be the culprit. I can only tell that of those two sysprepped Windows 8 machines I upgraded to 8.1, one was OK to upgrade through Store, the other one failed so I had to do a clean install using downloaded 8.1 ISO file.

@ Paul: That's of course up to you, but as the sysprep method is so effective and easy and more secure than links and junctions, I always prefer it.

Kari
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HP ENVY 17-1150eg
    CPU
    1.6 GHz Intel Core i7-720QM Processor
    Memory
    6 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 Graphics
    Sound Card
    Beats sound system with integrated subwoofer
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17" laptop display, 22" LED and 32" Full HD TV through HDMI
    Screen Resolution
    1600*900 (1), 1920*1080 (2&3)
    Hard Drives
    Internal: 2 x 500 GB SATA Hard Disk Drive 7200 rpm
    External: 2TB for backups, 3TB USB3 network drive for media
    Cooling
    As Envy runs a bit warm, I have it on a Cooler Master pad
    Keyboard
    Logitech diNovo Media Desktop Laser (bluetooth)
    Mouse
    Logitech MX1000 Laser (Bluetooth)
    Internet Speed
    50 MB VDSL
    Browser
    Maxthon 3.5.2., IE11
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender 4.3.9431.0
    Other Info
    Windows in English, additional user accounts in Finnish, German and Swedish.

nonosto

New Member
Messages
3
Hi Duxuforest, welcome to the Eight Forums.

If you upgrade keeping your apps and files, no you don't have to do this again. If you do a clean install, then yes. In the latter case first backup your user files to an external drive, then wipe the drive where the Users main folder is located before proceeding.

Thanks Kari

But what's exactly the interest if anytime you re install Windows we must save all D partition data in external disk?
 

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Kari

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I am not sure what you mean, Nonosto. Of course if you need to reinstall, you need first backup your files and data.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HP ENVY 17-1150eg
    CPU
    1.6 GHz Intel Core i7-720QM Processor
    Memory
    6 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 Graphics
    Sound Card
    Beats sound system with integrated subwoofer
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17" laptop display, 22" LED and 32" Full HD TV through HDMI
    Screen Resolution
    1600*900 (1), 1920*1080 (2&3)
    Hard Drives
    Internal: 2 x 500 GB SATA Hard Disk Drive 7200 rpm
    External: 2TB for backups, 3TB USB3 network drive for media
    Cooling
    As Envy runs a bit warm, I have it on a Cooler Master pad
    Keyboard
    Logitech diNovo Media Desktop Laser (bluetooth)
    Mouse
    Logitech MX1000 Laser (Bluetooth)
    Internet Speed
    50 MB VDSL
    Browser
    Maxthon 3.5.2., IE11
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender 4.3.9431.0
    Other Info
    Windows in English, additional user accounts in Finnish, German and Swedish.

nonosto

New Member
Messages
3
Thank you

I thinked with this configuration when, for exemple big crash or re installation , only format and re install windows in C, and leave all data in D.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 8

ds2k5

New Member
Messages
5
Hello Kari,
thank you for the detailed tutorial, but I can't get my Win 8.1 Pro Preview to work properly after moving the users folder. I've tried it twice so far. After the first failed attempt I reinstalled the system completely and tried it again. Nonetheless I got the same result: A lot of errors concerning "remote procedure calls" / "group policy client service" / "system event notification service" etc.
After booting the system I can't even log into non-admin accounts and logging into my admin account creates a temporary account at first, only after a couple of times of logging in and out does it load my actual account. From that point on, I can also log into standard accounts. After many hours on google and trying out "solutions" for the individual errors, I haven't been able to fix the issue.
Do you have an idea what may have gone wrong and how I could fix it? Thank you very much in advance.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro Preview

mdmarti6

New Member
Messages
2
revert ProgramData move

You could try one fix: Boot to Audit Mode, edit the answer file removing the line about Users and editing the ProgramData line to move ProgramData back to default location:
Code:
...
[COLOR=#000000][FONT=verdana]<FolderLocations>[/FONT][/COLOR][COLOR=#000000][FONT=verdana]
[/FONT][/COLOR][COLOR=#000000][FONT=verdana]<ProgramData>C:\ProgramData</ProgramData>[/FONT][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#000000][FONT=verdana]<FolderLocations>[/FONT][/COLOR]
[FONT=Verdana]...[/FONT]
Now run SysPrep with this modified answer file.

Leaving your system as it is now will bring you issues later on. Trying the above fix might not work, forcing you to re-install. My recommendation is to reinstall, leaving ProgramData where it is and and move only the Users.
Kari

Hello Kari,
So after reading through all 30 pages of the forum it's kind of hard to keep track of what's working and what's not but this seems like a good place to start. I moved the User & ProgramData directories using the method in the tutorial (except I found it elsewhere where there was no warning about ProgramData) and now I'm trying to fix it before going through a reinstall. So my questions are:

1) Has the suggested method of running SysPrep with a modified answer file been verified?
2) I read something about folks having issues with system folders on the data drive. What counts as system folders in the User & ProgramData directories? (I'm hoping I don't have to backup, format, and copy...)
3) Will re-running sysprep negate the original customization I performed and require reinstallation of all 3rd party software?
4) Any other potential issues to watch out for?

Regards,
Martin
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 8 pro w/MC

Kari

Old geek, new tricks
Team Member
VIP Member
Pro User
Messages
1,458
Location
A Finnish ex-pat in Leipzig, Germany
First of all, welcome to the Eight Forums Cajungeek, Ds2k5 and Martin :).

Thank you Kari! You just saved me a bunch of pain at both work and home with Windows 8 installs!
You are welcome. Please come back if you have any additional questions.

Hello Kari,
thank you for the detailed tutorial, but I can't get my Win 8.1 Pro Preview to work properly after moving the users folder. I've tried it twice so far. After the first failed attempt I reinstalled the system completely and tried it again. Nonetheless I got the same result: A lot of errors concerning "remote procedure calls" / "group policy client service" / "system event notification service" etc.
After booting the system I can't even log into non-admin accounts and logging into my admin account creates a temporary account at first, only after a couple of times of logging in and out does it load my actual account. From that point on, I can also log into standard accounts. After many hours on google and trying out "solutions" for the individual errors, I haven't been able to fix the issue.
Do you have an idea what may have gone wrong and how I could fix it? Thank you very much in advance.

Very strange. If the answer file has no errors and a valid official install media is used, this method will work. It is the official, recommended method by Microsoft to relocate the Users folder.

Please post your answer file here, also please tell are you trying to sysprep a 32 or 64 bit windows 8.1.

When posting code like the answer file, put it between the CODE tags. Type [noparse]
Code:
Your code here
[/noparse], this will put it nicely in a box like this:
Code:
Your code here

I will then analyze your answer file to see if I can find the reason for your issues. Notice that I want you to post the answer file exactly as it was when you sysprepped your Windows last time with it; do not edit it before posting.

You could try one fix: Boot to Audit Mode, edit the answer file removing the line about Users and editing the ProgramData line to move ProgramData back to default location:
...
...
...
...
1) Has the suggested method of running SysPrep with a modified answer file been verified?
2) I read something about folks having issues with system folders on the data drive. What counts as system folders in the User & ProgramData directories? (I'm hoping I don't have to backup, format, and copy...)
3) Will re-running sysprep negate the original customization I performed and require reinstallation of all 3rd party software?
4) Any other potential issues to watch out for?

Regards,
Martin
I can verify it but in all honesty I have used it to reverse locating of folders only in Windows 7. I will do a test install or two later today when home and test this with both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

Kari
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HP ENVY 17-1150eg
    CPU
    1.6 GHz Intel Core i7-720QM Processor
    Memory
    6 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 Graphics
    Sound Card
    Beats sound system with integrated subwoofer
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17" laptop display, 22" LED and 32" Full HD TV through HDMI
    Screen Resolution
    1600*900 (1), 1920*1080 (2&3)
    Hard Drives
    Internal: 2 x 500 GB SATA Hard Disk Drive 7200 rpm
    External: 2TB for backups, 3TB USB3 network drive for media
    Cooling
    As Envy runs a bit warm, I have it on a Cooler Master pad
    Keyboard
    Logitech diNovo Media Desktop Laser (bluetooth)
    Mouse
    Logitech MX1000 Laser (Bluetooth)
    Internet Speed
    50 MB VDSL
    Browser
    Maxthon 3.5.2., IE11
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender 4.3.9431.0
    Other Info
    Windows in English, additional user accounts in Finnish, German and Swedish.
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