This question already has an answer here:

At the risk of asking a duplicate question (a few searches yielded no good question/answer), and after messing this up royally myself (User Profile Service failed the logon after unplugging non-OS drive with "Users" folder) I am going to ask:

What is a least-trouble some but still effective way to move my user data onto a separate drive.


  • OS/boot drive is used pretty much for booting and OS and Programs only
  • Data disk is for all conceivable user data (Photos, Videos, etc)
  • If I by change remove "Data" drive, have Windows still be fully operational

What I did in the linked question, was me using a hard link/junction to point C:\Users to D:\Users. It worked perfectly for me, until I removed drive D and booted Windows, causing Windows to not be able to load User Profile. And reattaching drive D, it did not fix my User Profile service issue and I did an OS reinstall to fix it.

So I am looking for a safer option, where my Data is still on another drive, but I can remove and replug drives as needed, with Windows breaking and still having a "Data" drive when I plug it back, with minimal recovery procedures (in case Windows complains about it missing)

marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 windows-7 Oct 4 '14 at 17:04

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.

  • You need to move individual users to the alternative drive, but leave at least one user on your system drive, so that you can still log in when the data drive is not present. If you don't do this, then there is no point in making the data drive removable, as you cannot run without it. I would suggest making "Administrator" permanently available. If the data drive is internal then the solution in the link from @Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 is ideal. – AFH Oct 4 '14 at 18:07
  • thanks. Techie:007: that's what got me in trouble in the first place, but still a helpful link. AFH: yep. I keep my drive attached at all times, but wanted assurance I don't accidentally remove it for whatever reason like I did this time. I'll try the "individual users" move instead global C:\Users, and also create a user just in case for things like you've suggested. And I hope that helps. – dennismv Oct 4 '14 at 19:14
  • AFH: I like your comment, feel free to make an answer. – dennismv Oct 4 '14 at 19:55

Using hard links and junctions does not physically separate your documents from the operating system. The link explains in more details, but a hard link can only point to another file or directory on the same disk. A junction can be created from another local drive to point your c:\users folder, but your documents still physically reside on the C drive.

What you're asking is to physically your documents folder to the D: drive, by changing the location of documents.

In Windows XP, it is as simple as right clicking on My Documents and select the new location in the Target field. In my example, I changed My Documents folder to e:\mydocs

Change My Documents Folder XP

For Windows 7, it is similar but the wording has changed a little:

Windows 7 My Documents

  • thanks. In your first sentence, can you clarify/rephrase "would not you physically" ? – dennismv Oct 4 '14 at 19:01
  • Does the edit clarify? – Sun Oct 4 '14 at 19:06
  • yes. Although on another part, it did look like my documents were physically on the drive D, and drive C only contained the junction link... – dennismv Oct 4 '14 at 19:11

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