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I am trying to migrate my Users files and Program Files from my C:\ Drive to my D:\ Drive. So far, I have dragged all the files over, and replaced all the junctions, but I am still left with those three NTUSER.DAT files for the registry. I was wondering if it was possible, and also how I would go about moving these files over to my D drive? I am assuming that when I add the junction for "C:\Users", it will still work properly, but before I can test and see, I need to move them.

I don't care whether I break anything. I have nothing on my computer, I just reinstalled today so I could take a shot at this migration.

Would I be able to do it with a Linux LiveCD? I haven't tested this yet, but I'll go download one if someone thinks it's possible; I just have really slow bandwidth(126KB/s) so I'd rather know if that'd work first before I tried it.

Also, a few more related questions: Does anyone know if the junction to D:\Users from C:\Users will actually work properly with the registry?

Also, is there anything else I have to be careful for beside junctions, to make sure everything works identically, besides the fact that they're moved to a new drive?

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If you have a Windows installation CD, you can boot to that CD and press SHIFT-F10 to get a command prompt. –  Harry Johnston May 13 '12 at 0:12
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Note, however, that what you're doing is dangerous. It might seem to work properly now but break later on, perhaps after you install some new piece of software or a Windows update. Windows makes use of various technologies (hard links, for example) which depend on the affected files being on the same volume. –  Harry Johnston May 13 '12 at 0:17
    
Login through other account and try to copy/move it but as AFAIK there is no way to move it. You can try unlocker though it has some option to perform. –  avirk May 13 '12 at 0:21
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As other user said most programs will not run properly because programs installed in the same volume using the registry entry. And ntuser.dat file contain all information of user profile with registry. –  avirk May 13 '12 at 0:24

2 Answers 2

The registry files cannot be moved or copied by any regular file copy operation. I have migrated user profiles and there're a couple methods I know work:

1 - Profile migration wizard. This is the easiest method and the tool for doing this is installed by default. It will step you through migrating your account.

2 - Roaming profiles. This requires being joined to a domain. You would first set a user profile path for your account on the domain server. Then on the desktop use the profile copy tool in Control Panel > System > User Profiles. There's a "Copy To" button there. This copy command will copy the entire profile and properly capture the registry files. Next, you would boot your system from d: as planned, join the domain and login with your network user account. It will pull your profile and registry from the network.

The first method is easiest but I've found the second to be more reliable and I always have used that approach (yet I'm always in a domain environment.)

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These files can be moved whenever they are not in use. Meaning that you can move them by logging on to an (administrative) account on a live system or by booting into a live CD and using that to move them.

If you need to copy them while in you, give hobocopy a try. However, beware that the hives you may retrieve from such an operation may not necessarily be valid.

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I think you meant "robocopy" :-) –  Harry Johnston May 13 '12 at 21:05
    
@Harry Johnston: and I think I know what I meant ;) -> github.com/candera/hobocopy ... the difference is distinct and hobocopy allows to copy many files that otherwise cause sharing violations. Look at its code and you will see why. It's clearly a pun on the (lately on-board) robocopy, though. –  0xC0000022L May 13 '12 at 21:07
    
Hobocopy uses VSS to handle files being in use. Neat little thing. I do recall it was superceeded by Shadowspawn, which is much more flexible –  Journeyman Geek Jan 4 '13 at 2:27

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