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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Help on setting folders on install (5.1/ SP1)

    Folks,

    Hate to start another post on this; but spent the last couple hours trying to find something definitive on this, with no luck. I am installing XPpro on a new drive and set up three partitions: C for the MBR-OS, D for Programs, and E for data; problem is getting XP to honor that. Followed MS article on moving Docu&Settings, using two Admin accounts to move, then changing each instance of the path in the registry; but they are reset to C on restart. Found reference to using an Unattend.txt file to specify during installation; but not how it is implemented (and without any real guidance on how Docu&Settings and ProgFiles should be re-specified).

    Came on here to get some answers but can find nothing authoritative. There is advice on using TweakUI; which advises on dragging the folders to the new location... but that does not work (for the folders I want to move). I've been through countless threads on problems with Partition Magic, etc and find nothing definitive in those either.

    Can someone please point me to a thread, or to someone who has successfully done this? Conversely, if you know of a script or util that would accomplish this, please advise.


    Much thanks,
    BobM.

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Help on setting folders on install (5.1/ SP1)

    You're right, Bob, this is an often discussed question. Since you've already discovered TweakUI (and possibly other software) which may or may not help, I won't go into that area. I'll only tell you what I've done to eliminate stress and headache levels. Your planned structure of C: for the OS, D: for programs and E: for data is pretty close to what I have. First, you should make yourself accept the fact that Cocuments and Settings is "part" of the OS structure and let the settings for each user remain in the OS partition. Next, I gave up on My Documents and just let it sit there EMPTY on my machine, since I too use a separate partition for data storage. If you create a folder on the D: drive called "Program Files," each time you install an application or suite, you simple change the suggested C: to a D: and install the software where you prefer it to be. Most software will probably STILL put some or all of its settings and controls on the C: drive anyway, but it's not worth worrying about since the software files for the application(s) WILL be on the D: drive.

    As for data storage, I create a folder on my data storage drive (partition) for each software product that will generate files, i.e. Quicken, Word, Excel, etc. When first running the application, MOST have a preferences setting to direct the software on where to save data files. Once you've done that for the first time, the rest should be easy. I also have folders on that drive for graphics and photos, but to each his own.

    If this type of layout is to be replicated on more than one machine, you could use an "imaging program" such as Acronis TrueImage to make a master image which can then be used to setup additional machines. Initially, that will require some tweaking in Windows for hardware differences and maybe application licensing, but requires far less time in the long run than doing "complete" installs every time. Now, all of the above is one guy's opinion and your mileage may vary, as will (probably) the opinions of other Loungers. Keep us posted.

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Re: Help on setting folders on install (5.1/ SP1)

    Couple of observances and some modicum of success to share...

    Yep, Cocument and Settings is inextricably tied to the OS; and while it is possible to move it (in entirety) using the methodology I employed, don't know whether it is worth the headache. One program writing directly to the "expected" directory (structure) and you're hosed... HKCU will write it to HKU (All Users); and XP "intelligence" will "correct" your "error"... trying to reconcile the discrepancy. Moving an individual profile(s) is possible (and, so far, quite stable) but takes a bit of bullying XP into accepting/supporting it. So, at least for the moment (with my boss' fervent desire for me to get back to more productive endeavors), I've settled at leaving 'administrative' profiles with the OS (on C; and putting 'user' profiles on my data partition (D... 'administrative' being the Administrator account created during install (you can force it to light by simply going into Safe Mode), Default User (that populates all new profiles), and All Users ( the "common" profile)... 'user' being the "real" profiles, the ones having (individual) customized settings (easier to back-up n restore, than recreate); in my case: one for each domain (personal preference); and one local, so I can get some stuff done when the network goes down.

    There are two elements, over and above the information provided by MS (or that I have been able to find anywhere else) that is needed for success: addressing generic volume naming conventions; and leaving XP no other choice. Let me see if I can be sufficiently lucid to get this over. The advice in the KB article for moving D&S or individual profiles has one liddle, teensy-weensy (but significant) omission: the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMControlSet001Controlhiveli st records (in addition to other elements) the User and User Class data locations generically, by hard disk volume ID, as in:

    Name:REGISTRYUSERS-1-5-21-104724495-558522827-3833581854-1006
    Type: REG_SZ
    DataeviceHarddiskVolume1Documents and SettingsRABMntuser.dat
    and
    Name:REGISTRYUSERS-1-5-21-104724495-558522827-3833581854-1006_Classes
    Type: REG_SZ
    DataeviceHarddiskVolume1Documents and SettingsRABMLocal SettingsApplication DataMicrosoftWindowsUsrClass.dat

    So, in addition to MS' advise on changing every instance of the user path --both Name and Data (I had no keys)-- these MUST be changed also (or, on shut-down, XP will read these values and "correct" all of those "mistakes" you made). So, in my set-up, the HarddiskVolume1 (C had to be changed to HarddiskVolume3 (E, my Data drive.

    The other "trick" is to leave XP no other choice. The MS instructions are to copy the profiles to the new location, change the path(s) in the registry, and restart. In several attempts, though, XP found the NTuser.dat in the default location (C & S) and set the environment variables to there and... you got it, "corrected". Then to resolve the conflicts, on shutdown, created new profiles: ERDRABM, ERDRABM.001... (ERD being a network domain), so that each successive log-in was to a new account, losing everything I'd done in the last. Fix was to delete the profile (directory structure) under C & S, so that XP was forced to go back to the registry (after setting the ALLUSERS system variable) find the profile on E: and set it correctly.

    Once that was done and all three elements were in sync, XP never even hiccupped through subsequent changes, app installs (LAN and CD), etc. Same thing for the switch of Program files to D: (in my case). Once you ensure that all instances (including Names in the Keys) are changed, on restart everything should be peachy (Okay okay, I took it one step further and cut power to the bast*rd, to make sure nothing got changed on shutdown. However, NOTE that I am not advocating this course of action, but make da*n sure there's no (pending) disk activity if you do). Once it came back up with this in tact, all installations fell in line using D:PROGRA~1 as the default programs directory; even the notoriously deviant Acrobat played ball... okay, it still created that da*ned My eBooks folder but (that's another rant, and) at least it put it in the right place. With MyDocs set, the rest is a piece of cake.... Then again, what I do under ...My Documents ain't nobody's business but my own.

    I'm guessing that simply specifying the directory placement in an "Unattend.txt" file would make all this moot... if only MS would not cloud its use in such a cloud of mystery (Yeah, right). Oh, and for all the folks that buy the MS hype that "DOS is dead"... consider that a lowly DOS command (SET), from a DOS-box no less, brought to light how XP was tripping over itself. Well, off to "un-fixing" Outlook, so that it's usable again; and that accursed "Security Center" in SP2, to take back control of MY system...
    Was that a bit over the top (in my best Ocean's 11 parlance); can you tell I'm old-school? Well, to ape my predecessor's caveat (and apologies to Dennis Miller)...


    Of course, that's just my opinion... I could be wrong,
    BobM.

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