Windows – Moving users folder on Windows 7 to another partition, bad idea

partitioninguser-accountswindows 7

I am anxiously getting ready at long last to to carry out a clean install (using custom install option) from Vista to Windows-7 Home Premium 64bit with the free upgrade I received late October.

For my Vista system I successfully set-up last Summer a multi-partitions scheme with Users and Program Data on a a different partition than the operating system. See this link link below, and its subsequent links in my comment for details.

I was planning a similar set-up for Windows 7, a little more streamlined, with OS, Program Files on C:, Users and Program Data on D:, and TV media recording on a separate partition.

Reading the Question submitted by Benjol, I am second guessing too.

Is moving Users and Program Data on a different partition than the default primary partition with OS and Program Files such a good idea?

The couple of people I talked to at the official Microsoft Windows 7 booth at CES 2010 gave the same answer to the intention of moving the Users profile folder to another partition.
In a nutshell, they all told me that they used to do this in XP and less in Vista but not anymore with Windows 7…

"It is stable, after two months still no problem" I had the feeling it was a scripted answer to emphasize how Windows 7 is so stable and efficient… (Will Windows-7 system not become bugged down over the course of several months to a year or two? Only time will tell)

Long story short, I share the same view than Benjol expressed with respect to being "able to backup and restore system and user data independently." I just received a 2TB usb2, eSATA external hard drive as a back-up drive, which includes NTI Shadow 4 (4.1.0.150) for back-up solution. I took note of the issue with NTUSER.DAT and I will read more about Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) for Windows 7.

I am willing to put the effort if placing Users and Program Data on a different partition would allow to restore a fresher OS+Program image when the system gets bugged down.

Questions:

  • Is it such a bad idea?

  • What is the "easy route" referred by Benjol in his post?

  • Is it to just relocate folders to another partition using the Folder property tool?

(It is not practical for several users and might not provide a straightforward restore process of just OS and Program Files when needed.)

I am starting to learn about Windows 7 libraries.

  • Would Windows 7 libraries be another alternative to achieve this?

Best Answer

The problems involved in moving the Users folder are:

  • Preserving special folders permissions and icons requires a full backup program rather than copy.
  • A backup program would also spare you fiddling around with moving each of Contacts, Desktop, Downloads, Favorites, Links, My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, My Videos, Saved Games and Searches.
  • Relocating these folders via Windows 7 may cause a problem when reinstalling Windows.
  • It's far easier to relocate it symbolically by creating a link on C that points to the other partition.

The procedure as described in Moving your data where you want in Windows Vista:

  • Backup C:\Users using a backup program
  • Restore the C:\Users to your new desired location (example: D:\Users)
  • Start WinPE or Windows Installation disc command prompt
  • Using the command prompt
    1. rmdir /S /Q C:\Users
    2. rmdir "C:\Documents and Settings"
    3. mklink /J C:\Users D:\Users
    4. mklink /J "C:\Documents and Settings" D:\Users
  • Restart

I advice to mind your backups before starting.

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