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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Apr 2010
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    I hope I can get this thread moving in the right direction. I want to know if it's SAFE to partition Win 7. Let me explain. With Win 2K and XP, I created an unattended floppy disk and used the ProfilesDir="D:\Documents and Settings" command in winnt.sif to put ALL user profiles onto D: (partition or drive). So I've done this on literally hundreds of computers for nearly a decade with no ill effects.

    Having skipped Vista entirely, I've now come to Win 7. I'd like to do the same thing with it as I did with XP. But I've heard that beginning with Vista, trying to relocate user data was perilous and might come back to bite me. I read somewhere that if you did this in Vista, you'd be fine until you tried to install your first service pack, which would fail. Apparently Microsoft has used so many programming tricks to relate "\users" to "\documents and settings" that Windows is a bit, let's say, "fragile".

    So Win 7 appears to have methods by which I *could* relocate the Users folder, but it appears to be an unwise decision. I point to as supporting this statement:

    The ProfilesDirectory setting specifies the path to the user profile folder.

    Use this setting to move the user profile folder (typically %SYSTEMDRIVE%\Users) to another location during Setup or Sysprep. The destination path can be on a volume other than the system drive, as long as it meets the following requirements:

    It must be on an NTFS volume.

    It must not be the path of another operating system user profile folder.

    It must not contain any serviceable components.

    This setting can be used to keep system data separate from user data. If Windows is re-installed on the system volume, a user with administrative rights can manually recover data from this location.

    This setting should be used only in a test environment. By changing the default location of the user profile directories or program data folders to a volume other than the System volume, you will not be able to service your Windows installation. Any updates, fixes, or service packs will fail to be applied to the installation. Microsoft does not recommend that you change the location of the user profile directories or program data folders.
    Using this setting to redirect folders to a drive other than the system volume blocks upgrades. Using ProfilesDirectory to point to a directory that is not the system volume will block SKU upgrades and upgrades to future versions of Windows. For example if you use Windows Vista Home Premium with ProfilesDirectory set to D:\, you will not be able to upgrade to Windows Vista Ultimate or to the next version of Windows. The servicing stack does not handle cross-volume transactions, and it blocks upgrades.

    So unless someone has any evidence to the contrary, it appears that relocating the profiles is now essentially broken by this state-of-the-art operating system.

    I've also seen people saying that using symbolic links will allow relocation to another partition. See
    but you also must read through some of the discussion towards the bottom. A poster called OhDannyBoy seems to have a method that MIGHT work for some.

    Finally, in my limited testing so far, I even tried Microsoft's recommended way to relocate specific folders of my profile, by right-clicking in Win Explorer, going to the "Location" tab and using the "Move" function. Which worked OK, except that after relocating my "Documents" folder, my Outlook PST was screwed up such that I could NOT use my Contacts folder. It just would not let me use my existing "Contacts" folder AS a contacts folder. So I had to nuke my existing Outlook profile, make a new one, and point to my PST. Which was a nuisance in having to manually recreate 5 mail accounts with ports and passwords.

    I guess I'm really disappointed to have to resort to SO much work for something that was 10 years ago accomplished with a single line of text in a file on a floppy disk.


  2. #2
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    Polk County, Florida
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    It can be done. This thread has some discussion about it, my post #7 explains my partitioning. Also, this thread has some discussion on it, as well, with a little more detail on how I do it.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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