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Moving users folder on Windows Vista/Seven to another partition

I am trying to move my Windows 7 C:\Users folder off of my 64GB SSD onto another drive (A partition on an hard drive), something like E:\Users (it's relative, keep reading). I made an attempt using these instructions only to not be able to log in as the default user, and upon rebooting, not being able to log into Windows at all.

I was able to restore it using the restore instructions at the end of that article.

But I am now thinking. I have 2 drives in this computer with full versions of Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit: One on my SSD, and another on a Caviar Black hard drive. Both versions work fine, and I can boot into either.

Given that, do I need to use a boot CD to accomplish this? Can I just boot the hard drive and use that to create the junction?

If so, are the instructions the same, just skipping the system restore utility?

I am thinking something like this would work, but really want someone who knows what they're talking about to help me. Here's the plan:

  1. Create a system restore point on the SSD
  2. Boot into the hard drive
  3. Copy E:\Users to J:\Users (whatever the relevant SSD folder is to a new folder on a "Data" partition on the Caviar Black hard drive) - making sure that all hidden files and system files are available
  4. Delete E:\Users (the SSD folder)
  5. Create the junction - I.e. mklink /J E:\Users J:\Users (old source first, new destination last)

Will this work? Is there anything different I need to do since this isn't using the system restore utility?

Is the system "smart enough" to figure out that making a symlink from E:\Users to J:\Users will have different drive letters when E:\ becomes C:\ (as in, when I boot into the SSD)?

The whole reason is that my SSD is already up to about 50GB used out of 60 GB available. I've read performance decreases when you pass 70% or so of space used, and I'd also like to minimize the read/writes to the SSD.

Any other advice related to this is certainly welcome!

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marked as duplicate by Renan, Bob, Mokubai, afrazier, BloodPhilia Jul 24 '12 at 18:17

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
Keep in mind that your SSD probably has extra free space that isn't exposed to the operating system exactly to combat those performance decreases (although I don't think you quite need a 70:30 split) and also to provide for failed blocks. –  Shinrai May 5 '11 at 16:37

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You'll be fine, a symlink in this case is a junction. If you were to go to C:\Users after using the junction you'll notice that on the address bar of the explorer window will till say C:\Users even though it's pointed at J:\Users, Windows won't think otherwise.

Also make sure the junction you are pointing to has the same Drive Letter on both OS' just for the sake of compatibility.

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I tried this as listed, and it didn't work. When I try to boot into my SSD, I get a login failure and immediate logoff. I'm guessing for some reason it can no longer see my user account, but I have no idea how to get it to work. –  apathos May 8 '11 at 2:52
    
edit timeout - when I go to cmd e: dir, I can see "05/07/2011 10:47 PM <JUNCTION> Users [J:\Users]". So it appears the junction is correct, but why can't i login? I have been all over the web and superuser trying to find the answer... –  apathos May 8 '11 at 3:04
    
It may be that it needs certain files that aren't read within the junction before all the core files of windows have been loaded. You could trial and error. –  Sandeep Bansal May 8 '11 at 12:35
    
Ended up re-installing Windows and forgetting about using any junctions. Couldn't make any headway against it. Your answer to the original question was right. Maybe Windows 8 will do junctions better. –  apathos Aug 12 '11 at 4:59

Using sysprep is the easiest way to create user profiles in a different location. All the other, unofficial ways, such as messing around with junctions and copying or moving files around, gave me "The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded." profile error.

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If you think you can post identical answers to questions here and here you should be flagging the questions questions as duplicate instead. –  ChrisF Jul 24 '12 at 11:09

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