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Change location of Documents and Settings

JoAerts
JoAerts asked
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I've an installed WinXP, but the disk it's installed to is getting too small. Now I want to move the Documents and Settings folder to another disk. How can I do this with low-risk and no loss of data?

Thnx

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mikecrIT Architect/Technology Delivery Manager
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
I wouldn't suggest it. It houses your profile and some security settings for you. It is set in the registry also. It could possibly be changed, however, I recommend moving all your documents to a different drive and going into the programs that you use and set their default file path to the new location. Also, if your running out of disk space, go to add and remove programs in the control panel and remove any applications that you don't normally use any more. Go to Windows\temp and delete everything underneath and go into IE, click on Tools from the menu and then Internet Options and click on delete files about half way down to help free up some more disk space.
Commented:
Agree with mike but if you are intent on doing this then be forewarned it it not easy and could cause alot of problems.

Take a look at this MS KB article

Cannot Move or Rename the Documents and Settings Folder (Q236621)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The information in this article applies to:


Microsoft Windows 2000 , Advanced Server
Microsoft Windows 2000 , Datacenter Server
Microsoft Windows 2000 , Professional
Microsoft Windows 2000 , Server


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IMPORTANT : This article contains information about editing the registry. Before you edit the registry,
make sure you understand how to restore it if a problem occurs. For information about how to do this,
view the "Restoring the Registry" Help topic in Regedit.exe or the "Restoring a Registry Key" Help topic
in Regedt32.exe.


SYMPTOMS
If you try to move or rename the "Documents and Settings" folder in Windows, you receive the following
error message:

"Documents and Settings is a Windows system folder and is required for Windows to run properly. It cannot
be moved or renamed."



CAUSE
This behavior is by design.



RESOLUTION
To specify a different folder for the "Documents and Settings" folder during installation, follow these
steps:

Use the /UNATTEND switch with Winnt.exe or Winnt32.exe and insert the following entry into the Unattend.txt
file, where z:\foldername is the path and folder name you want:


[GuiUNattended]
ProfilesDir = z:\foldername
Install Windows. The path you included in the Unattend.txt file is used instead of the default "Documents
and Settings" folder.


For additional information about unattended setup of Windows 2000, click the article number below to
view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Q183245 Windows 2000 Unattended Setup Parameters



MORE INFORMATION
NOTE : The following section provides information about a configuration that Microsoft does not support.
We provide this information for informational purposes only; Microsoft makes no guarantee that this
configuration functions properly.

WARNING : Microsoft strongly recommends against renaming any system folder. Catastrophic system failure
or an unstable computer could result if you rename system folders. If implemented, a backup should be
made of the system before attempting this procedure.

To rename or move the "Documents and Settings" folder, use the appropriate method.

User-specific
WARNING : Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall
your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of
Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys and Values" Help topic in Registry
Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help
topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it. If you are running
Windows NT or Windows 2000, you should also update your Emergency Repair Disk (ERD).

NOTE : This method does not relocate key Windows components. Use this method if you require only user-specific
data to be moved.

To specify a different folder for the "Documents and Settings" folder after you install Windows for
a particular user, follow these steps:
Identify the user's profile path. There are two methods to identify the profile path. Either by user
path settings or user SID. The user SID method is preferred.


User SID method
Use the GETSID tool from the Windows Server Resource Kit to obtain the SID. Use syntax similar to the
following example:


GETSID \\SERVER1 UserName \\SERVER1 UserName
Once you obtain the SID, use Regedit.exe or Regedt32.exe to select the user's SID under the following
registry key:


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
User path setting
Log on to the computer as the user, and then type SET at a command prompt. Note the setting for USERPROFILE,
and then close the command prompt window.


Log on as an administrator of the computer.


Use Registry Editor to add the USERPROFILE setting to the following registry key:


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
Click the registry key, and then click Find on the Edit menu.


In the Find box, type the value of the USERPROFILE setting, and then click Find Next .


Change the ProfileImagePath value to use the new path you want in the

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList registry key.


Close Registry Editor, and then log on as the user. Type SET at the command prompt to verify the path
has changed.


Entire Folder
NOTE : This method relocates key Windows components. Use this method only if you require the "Documents
and Settings" folder to be moved or renamed and you cannot use the Unattend.txt file to change the name
during installation.

To specify a different folder for the entire "Documents and Settings" folder, including key system components,
follow these steps:
Log on to the computer as an administrator.


Create a new folder.


Open the current "Documents and Settings" folder.


On the Tools menu, click Folder Options , and then click the View tab.


Under Advanced settings click Show hidden files and folders , and then click to clear the Hide file
extensions for known file types and Hide protected operating system files check boxes.


Click OK .


Click and drag to copy all the folders to the new folder, except for the currently logged on users folder.



In Control Panel, double-click System , and then click the User Profiles tab.


Copy the current user's profile to the new folder.


Click OK , close Control Panel, and then log off and log on to the computer as an administrator again.



In Registry Editor, click Find on the Edit menu.


Type documents and settings , and then click Find .


Replace the value data or rename the value or registry key to the new path for each and every registry
key and value that contains the original path.

NOTE : You must complete this change for every instance in the registry or your computer may not start.
It is imperative that you update all registry keys and values with the new path.


Restart the computer.


You can now safely remove the original "Documents and Settings" folder.


The Crazy One

Commented:
Along with mike I would suggest moving some of your programs and data files rather then the Documents and Settings folder. To expedite this you can use this free utility to help make the necessary registry settings.

COA2
Change Your Address

By Neil J. Rubenking

When you install a program in Windows, the system builds a web of connections that makes moving the program very difficult. If disk space constraints force a move, or if adding a new device causes drive letters to change, the system can lose track of essential files. References to the program are stored in shortcuts, INI files, and the system Registry. COA2, an update of our Change of Address utility, tracks down all references to the old address and replaces them with the new address. When the changes are complete, the utility presents you with a list of changes and gives you the option to undo any of them. Note that COA2 does not actually move any files. It reports moves and name changes to the system. This new version offers Windows 2000 support and an improved user interface.

COA2 runs under Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0, and Windows 2000. The Delphi 5 source code is provided with the utility for those interested in seeing how it works. Note that PC Magazine programs are copyrighted and cannot be distributed, whether modified or unmodified. Use is subject to the terms and conditions of the license agreement distributed with the programs.
http://www.pcmag.com/article/0,2997,s%253D1478%2526a%253D4506,00.asp
Also, if your paging file is still on the initial disk, you can move that to the new one.  That should free up a significant amount of space.

Commented:
Hi JoAerts

- This question is still open and needs to be closed. If any of the comments above helped you, please accept that comment as an answer. If not please send an update about your issue so that the question can be finalised. Thank you

- Experts, please feel free to add any comments in here, if you keep silent points of question can be removed

- *** PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER ***

Pasha

Cleanup Volunteer

Commented:
No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:
[accept crazyone]
Please leave any comments here within the next seven days.
 
PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER!
 
[ewtaylor]
EE Cleanup Volunteer

Commented:
JoAerts
you were asking about windows xp - there is a wizard that moves my documents easily and effectively! See this MS KB article:

How to Change the Default Location of the My Documents Folder
Applies To
This article was previously published under Q310147
SUMMARY
This article describes how to change the default location of the My Documents folder in Microsoft Windows XP.
MORE INFORMATION
The My Documents folder is your own personal folder in which you can store your documents, graphics, and other personal files. When there is more that one person using the computer, Windows creates a My Documents folder for each user on the computer.

By default, the target or actual location of the My Documents folder is C:\Documents and Settings\user name\My Documents, where C is the drive in which Windows is installed, and user name is the currently logged-on user. You can change the target if you want My Documents to point to a different folder location.
Change the Default Location of the My Documents Folder
To change the default location of the My Documents folder, follow these steps:
Click Start, and then point to My Documents.
Right-click My Documents, and then click Properties.
Click the Target tab.
In the Target box, do one of the following:
Type the path to the folder location that you want, and then click OK. For example, D:\My Stuff.

If the folder does not exist, the Create Message dialog box is displayed. Click Yes to create the folder, and then click OK.

-or-
Click Move, click the folder in which to store your documents, and then click OK twice.

If you need to create a new folder, click Make New Folder. Type a name for the folder, and then click OK twice.
In the Move Documents box, click Yes to move your documents to the new location, or click No to leave your documents in the original location.
Restore the My Documents Folder to Its Default Location
To restore the My Documents folder to its default location, follow these steps:
Click Start, and then point to My Documents.
Right-click My Documents, and then click Properties.
Click Restore Default, and then click OK.
In the Move Documents box, click Yes to move your documents to the new location, or click No to leave your documents in the original location.
Remove the My Documents Folder from the Start menu
If you do not want to display My Documents on the Start menu, follow these steps:
Right-click Start, and then click Properties. Or, if the Start menu is already displayed, right-click an empty area of the Start menu, and then click Properties.
Click Customize.
Click the Advanced tab.
In the Start menu items list, under My Documents, click Don't display this item, and then click OK twice.

The next time you click Start, the My Documents folder is no longer displayed on the Start menu.
NOTE: Removing the My Documents folder from the Start menu does not remove the files stored in the target location of the My Documents folder.
Display the My Documents Folder on the Start menu
To display My Documents on the Start menu, follow these steps:
Right-click Start, and then click Properties. Or, if the Start menu is already displayed, right-click an empty area of the Start menu, and then click Properties.
Click Customize.
Click the Advanced tab.
In the Start menu items list, under My Documents, click Display as a link or Display as a menu, and then click OK twice.

The next time you click Start, the My Documents folder is displayed on the Start menu.
REFERENCES
For additional information about working with the My Documents Folder, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
298399 HOW TO: Set the My Documents Folder as 'Private'

For additional information about the Start menu in Windows XP, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
279767 Description of the Start Menu in Windows XP

The information in this article applies to:
Microsoft Windows XP 64-Bit Edition
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Microsoft Windows XP Professional

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