The default location for User Profiles are C:\Users. I would like to move this location to another drive (i.e. D:\Users). I've already been able to customize the library locations, however there are other things that I like to migrate as well. Is there a simple way to change the default location of the User Profiles?


6 Answers 6


WARNING: Create a backup and a restore point before you try this. I messed up once and had to do a restore myself!

Requires local admin.

  1. Move files that you want to keep from your profile somewhere independent, for example directly on the C: or D: drive

  2. Modify the registry value of ProfilesDirectory under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList to point to your new directory. This will only come into effect for new profiles

  3. Create a temporary user with admin rights on the local computer. This is needed to remove your domain user profile so it can be recreated.

  4. Log out of your account and log into the temporary admin user.

  5. Find Advanced System Settings (for example through Start | Run and typing sysdm.cpl) and select Settings from the User Profile section.

  6. Find the username of your domain user and click the Delete button

  7. I recommend using Switch Accounts rather than logging out of the temporary account. That way, if something went wrong, you still have one account that's working

  8. Switch accounts and log in with your domain user. The profile should now be recreated in the correct location.

  • This makes no sense to me. In step 6 you delete the main account yet in step 8 you switch into it? Mar 22, 2020 at 2:33
  • 1
    He says to delete the profile of a domain user. The idea is that if the domain user logs in again afterwards, his profile will be created anew at the new location. Apr 8, 2020 at 14:40
  • Doesn't work for me, ends up with "critical error your start menu isn't working" under Win10 Mar 9 at 17:44

I have had a lot of success using an NTFS junction to redirect the Users directory to another drive. I followed this guide: https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2010/02/move-the-users-directory-in-windows-7/. This guide is for Windows 7, but it also works with 10.

One thing to remember, though, when in recovery mode and creating the junction. Make sure that the junction points to the correct drive letter in your Windows installation itself. It may be different in recovery. To keep things in order, I used diskpart to change drive letters to match my installation.

I would also recommend moving just your user's directory. If for whatever reason it's inaccessible you won't be able to log in. In that case, it would benefit having the default administrator account still on C:\.

  • Does this still fully work in Windows 10 these days? Am asking because there is this other method here: tenforums.com/tutorials/… ...and in this thread, the author of that tutorial, Kari, mentions several times that he strongly advises against using a junction or a symlink for doing it, because this will break things.
    – David.P
    Oct 16, 2021 at 20:44

There only one "true" way to doing it - with sysprep. Described here: http://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/1964-users-folder-move-location-windows-10-a.html

But I warn against such actions. Moving user profiles to a non-standard location causes problems with the installation and operation of many programs. Without thinking - MS RSAT does not installs after transfer profiles.

  • As @Slipeer said i would not move all the profile, it can produce lot of error. Maybe it would be enough moving the documents ubication of the user from C to D?
    – mortueta
    Dec 16, 2016 at 12:45
  • 2
    Contrary to the second paragraph of the answer, I run this setup for many years (2013 IIRC), from Windows 7 to Windows 10 (and through migration) without any issue of any sort. This is not always easy to setup at first, but once in place with sysprep, absolutely no conflicts nor issues. And I think this is for a simple reason: over the versions of Windows, the path to the correct folder changed a lot, not even saying that it is depending on the username, so from an application point of view, not querying the path dynamically would be silly.
    – Cilyan
    May 24, 2020 at 20:58
  • What problems in what applications? I am yet to see a relatively modern application that relies on absolute path like C:\Users\user instead of using environment variables.
    – ᄂ ᄀ
    Nov 27, 2021 at 18:44
  • That has the unfortunate side effect of the Win+X no longer working.
    – theking2
    Jul 8 at 11:04
  • @theking2 It works after I fixed the permissions and ownership of this folder: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft
    – shingo
    Jul 10 at 9:29

Came here attacking this problem from a different angle - my local profile directory was removed and I could not recover it - so still technically a profile move issue. The pop-up error dialog I was receiving was "Could not sign-in to local profile" when the directory was corrupted or missing.

The approach that helped me was renaming the ProfileList entry .old and restarting the machine. After restart I could run sysdm.cpl > Advanced tab > User Profile Settings and delete my temporary profile (<< userid >>.TEMP).

Profile List - Manual Registry Edits

  • Registry Hive: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

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After removing the profile and restart, I re-added the user account using netplwiz and finally restarting.


Just for those who prepare for the profiles on a second drive before installing Windows 10. Lets say you plan to run Windows off a DOM (Device or Disk on a Module) but want to use for instance a RAID set on another device (D:) for (pro)file storage.

After installation of Windows core finalizes and it reboots to the OOBE (Out Of Box Experience) is the moment to change the profiles from in our case C:\Users to D:\Users. Follow these steps:

Step zero

Prepare a relocate_profiles.xml response file with this contents

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
    <settings pass="oobeSystem">
        <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">

Step one

At the moment just after reboot at the language select dialog hit Ctrl+Shift+F3. This will reboot into audit mode.

Step two

After the reboot close (cancel) System Preparation Tool. Now you are logged on a temporary Administrator.

Step three

In a command prompt enter this command

C:\Windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /oobe /reboot /unattend:d:\relocate_profiles.xml

Assuming the xml file is on D: but it can be anywhere even on the installation medium.

Run this and Windows will continue installation and now stores profiles in D:\Users instead of C:\Users. For international users among us Windows Explorer might show these folders as Gebruikers or Benutzer but physically it is all the same folder.

After a couple of weeks using this setup I find that nothing breaks, all menus are working installation of other software works glitch-less.


So this is actually quite tricky, since moving the whole profile from C to another drive will in most cases make the start menu fail with Critical error your start menu isn't working. I wouldn't recommend this in any case since a couple of programs which have 'C' drive hardcoded will fail.

The sysprep method is the best, but in case you cannot do this, here's an ugly hack to make so:

  1. Download Transwiz from https://www.forensit.com/move-computer.html
  2. Make a backup of the profile to a zip file
  3. Using regedit, navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList and select the SID corresponding to the user you want to move
  4. Change the ProfileDirectory value to the new location you want your profile to stay
  5. Restore the profile with Transwiz
  6. Restart your computer and reinstall Windows Apps with the following powershell Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}
  • I did a sysprep oobe with a response file moving the profiles. Which did move the profiles but also crippled quite some parts. Win-x to be the most obvious one.
    – theking2
    Jul 11 at 17:27

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