I've tried to move the folder using a WinPE, but it was very difficult because of strange things happening. First I renamed the folder to c:\usersbackup but in explorer when I went to see if this was right the folder displayed in the adress bar was c:\users. Why? Then I cannot create anything in c: named users (nor a link) (the file exist).

I am in windows XP (PE) reading that static disk I double click on the folder named UsersBackup, and when I am seening this folder the name shows as "Users".

Can somebody explain what was realy happening under the hood?

Edited due to problems of understanding:
I'm not asking a how to do this, I already have do it I need no help, this question is looking for knowledge.

The question is about why is that strange behavior.

2 Answers 2


You shouldn't touch system folders like Windows, Users or Program files, since Windows rely on them for working properly. If a folder is mean to be relocated Windows will offer a method to do that (like with Documents or Downloads).

Most of the time the system will block the action but if you still manage to do that you have a good change of ending with an instable/unusable system.

That's a bit like asking: "How I can move the steering wheel of my car to another location? I would like to relocate it to the back seat to drive more comfortably".

That said, there are some enterprise tools like SysPrep that allow you to define the location of certain system folders at install time. Once installed you can't change that. Following with the (bad) analogy, you need to decide the location of the steering wheel before constructing the car, not after finishing it.

Edit: Regarding why it shows another name in Explorer, it's because starting with Vista some folders can have a localized name different than the real name (that is most obvious in non-English versions of Windows), and it seems that they did it in backward compatible way, as you said that it works also in XP. Check for a hidden "folder.ini" or "desktop.ini", you should see the localized name there.

  • I'm not asking about how to do it or if it right or wrong, I'm asking what's happening.
    – eloyesp
    Nov 14, 2010 at 23:50
  • @El_Hoy Oops, I forgot that part of the explanation, see edited answer. Nov 15, 2010 at 21:10
  • thanks for the answer, but let me replay, you are saying that when I renamed the folder in Explorer (not the prompt) then the folder was not realy renamed, instead of that, it changed the localiced name in the hiden folder/desktop.ini? but the real folder name remains... interesting.
    – eloyesp
    Nov 30, 2010 at 18:25
  • If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense from the MS point of view: people sometimes want to rename system folders, which would break a lot of apps. But since you have a system for localizing folder names, you allow the user "rename" the folder without breaking anything (when apps ask Windows about the location of known folders, they get by the default the real name, not the localized one). Dec 2, 2010 at 21:27

Windows doesn't understand how to save the file to the profile due to the name change. You would have to go registry hacking to fix this (don't do it). Use the admin account, create an account with the account name you want, and use that instead. I would be very hard to accomplish using a profile in Windows after changing the name of the profiles root directory. I have had a similar issue with laptops at the data center I work at.

The question was a little confusing, but I think that I figured out what you were asking from my past issues. Comment back if you have any questions.

-Good Luck

  • Sorry for my English, it's not my lang. I'm trying to figure out what is happening, why is that strange behavior. Windows is not saving nothing into that folder because I'm in a Windows PE (booted from CD) so this windows is offline. Thanks for anser.
    – eloyesp
    Nov 14, 2010 at 23:53

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