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632 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 23


Topic # 113403 16-Jan-2013 08:15 Send private message

On my previous Windows 7 setup, I had migrated my user profiles (c:\users) to my data drive, so that I could easily re-install Windows without affecting my data and user profile.  I did this using a symbolic link (mklink /j c:\users d:\users).  I'm planning to do the same for my new setup (Windows 8 on an SSD), but I'd like to keep an Administrator account on the SSD, so that I can login to Windows safely in the event that the data drive fails and I lose my profile (backups notwithstanding). 

I'm the only one likely to be using this computer, so there would just be my profile, the default/public profiles, and the Administrator account.  Would the best approach be to make symbolic links for the specific profiles to be shifted to the data drive (i.e. mklink /j c:\users\joebloggs d:\users\joebloggs), thus leaving the Administrator account on the boot drive, or is there a better way?

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892 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 22


  Reply # 745470 16-Jan-2013 08:41 Send private message

You can change the location of the profiles via the registry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

Though this will not move the files, it will move the location of the profile's folder to the drive you specify.

Simply changing it from %SystemDrive% to D:\ will affect the change at next logon.



632 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 23


  Reply # 745487 16-Jan-2013 09:09 Send private message

Presumably I would copy the folders across using the robocopy /copyall command?

Also, using your method, would any additional profiles created in the future be stored in C:\users or on the data drive?

892 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 22


  Reply # 745489 16-Jan-2013 09:13 Send private message

Lizard1977: Presumably I would copy the folders across using the robocopy /copyall command?

Also, using your method, would any additional profiles created in the future be stored in C:\users or on the data drive?


Correct, you can use robocopy to copy over the folder with all the permissions and ownership details.

And yes, also correct, any additional profiles that are created will be created based on the location in the registry.  Profiles are created based on the default profile, so that profile location (as in the registry) is best left alone.

gzt

4676 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 267


  Reply # 745584 16-Jan-2013 11:19 Send private message

Lizard1977: but I'd like to keep an Administrator account on the SSD, so that I can login to Windows safely in the event that the data drive fails and I lose my profile (backups notwithstanding).

Btw, if Windows cannot find a profile you can still login. Windows will create a temporary profile for that session. Account is not dependent on profile.

Edit: A moments thought later... maybe there will be problems if you change the location for new profiles and windows wants to access that location to create a temporary profile there. I'm not sure if I've tried that scenario. If that is case then keeping admin profile on the system drive is very sensible.



632 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 23


  Reply # 745648 16-Jan-2013 12:21 Send private message

gzt:
Lizard1977: but I'd like to keep an Administrator account on the SSD, so that I can login to Windows safely in the event that the data drive fails and I lose my profile (backups notwithstanding).

Btw, if Windows cannot find a profile you can still login. Windows will create a temporary profile for that session. Account is not dependent on profile.

Edit: A moments thought later... maybe there will be problems if you change the location for new profiles and windows wants to access that location to create a temporary profile there. I'm not sure if I've tried that scenario. If that is case then keeping admin profile on the system drive is very sensible.


That was the issue that prompted me to think about leaving a profile on C:\Users.  When I was installing Windows 8 on my SSD, I was having problems so I put my orginal HDD back in so I could login to my Windows 7 installation and troubleshoot, but because I had removed my data drive, which stored my profiles, it wouldn't let me login.  Even after I replugged in the data drive, it still wouldn't locate the profiles (presumably because the drive letter for the data drive had changed?)  So I figured to be on the safe side, I would need to leave one user profile on the C:\ drive so that I could always login even if the data drive became inaccessible.

Because a symbolic link requires the source folder to be deleted, and because it sounds like I would need to leave C:\Users in the event that a temporary profile needs to be created, I'm wondering whether making symbolic links for the specific profiles I wanted to shift would work, or whether editing the location details in the registry, as Jaymz suggested, would be a better method.  If Jaymz's method means that I whenever a new profile is created, it gets stored in C:\Users, then that might work.  My profile will be the main one (certainly the largest), and any other user profiles will be small enough to fit on the SSD, or can be redirected like my one if they are long-term and/or large.  I guess the only concern with Jaymz's approach is whether it will cause any difficulties for programs (especially Metro apps) when they go to look for my profile folder, if my folder has been shifted to the data drive, but other profiles are still on C:\

892 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 22


  Reply # 745656 16-Jan-2013 12:36 Send private message

Lizard1977:  If Jaymz's method means that I whenever a new profile is created, it gets stored in C:\Users, then that might work.  My profile will be the main one (certainly the largest), and any other user profiles will be small enough to fit on the SSD, or can be redirected like my one if they are long-term and/or large.  I guess the only concern with Jaymz's approach is whether it will cause any difficulties for programs (especially Metro apps) when they go to look for my profile folder, if my folder has been shifted to the data drive, but other profiles are still on C:\


I will try clarify what/how the changes i suggested will work with your proposed configuration (apologies, i should have asked and found out more information first!)

Basically, from what you have written above, you want to achieve the following (correct me if i am wrong):

Your (the largest) user profile to be stored on another drive (D Drive)
Any new user profiles to be stored on the C drive

If so,

The settings under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList should be left as is:

Default = %SystemDrive%\Users\Default
ProfilesDirectory = %SystemDrive%\Users
ProgramData = %SystemDrive%\ProgramData
Public = %SystemDrive%\Users\Public

You will see a list of GUID's below the ProfileList registry key.  One of these will be your current profile and have the profile path in it.

If you performed a robocopy of the current location (EG C:\Users\Jaymz) to D:\Users\Jaymz then modified this registry settings (under a different account of course) then the system would use the new location upon the next logon.

Programs that were previously installed should continue to work as per normal, unless you installed them in C:\Users\%username% folder.

However most programs read the profile location out of the registry so any changes in there and also the location of the folder should be fairly seamless.





632 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 23


  Reply # 745668 16-Jan-2013 12:54 Send private message

Thanks Jaymz, I think that might work. It sounds like any specific profiles I want to migrate off C:\ can be done directly through the registry, and leave everything else untouched. The only reason I had previously moved all the profiles, was because the symbolic link approach required that c:\users is deleted. But in practice, as I am the only one who really uses my computer, there's only one profile that needs to shift, and leaving the others behind (default, Admin) will hopefully avoid any issues with logins should the data drive be inaccessible.

Cheers



632 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 23


  Reply # 745942 16-Jan-2013 21:10 Send private message

Right, so I've got a small issue, and my Google searches haven't been very helpful. I booted into the Command Prompt (Admin) to run the robocopy command, but when I went to type robocopy /copyall /mir /xj c:\users\lizard1977 d:\users\lizard1977, the "\" key was re-mapped. It looks like the keyboard is mapped to a UK character set, because the " has become @, and other $ is now the pound sign. Does anyone know either where the "\" key is mapped on a UK character set, or how to change the keyboard map in the command prompt? I've checked and all my Windows profiles are using the US character set, so there's no reason why it should be changed to UK for the command prompt. It's really frustrating - without "\", there doesn't seem to be any way to run directory commands in the command line...

gzt

4676 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 267


  Reply # 745993 16-Jan-2013 22:13 Send private message

Imho you need to change the system locale. Possibly the system locale for non-unicode programs. Have a look around that area. I'd confirm that is correct but I'm not running windows..

You could try typing {alt}92 using the numeric keypad but may not work in command prompt..




632 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 23


  Reply # 746003 16-Jan-2013 22:37 Send private message

Found the solution (sort of). Turns out that "/" works as well as "\" in the command prompt. But I also discovered that there is a "change keyboard layout" button at the login to the command prompt, where I can choose US keyboard layout.

Now all I have to do is find out why robocopy returns error 112 when copying the user folder across. It says the target disk doesn't have enough space. It does have plenty of space. I've tried turning the page file to automatic, in case it was something to do with that, but no luck. Oh well, will try again tomorrow night.

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