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Change Path of C:\Documents and Settings

Posted on 2002-07-19
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
How do I change the default path of C:\Documents and Settings to my own settings in XP professional.
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Question by:elniniokev
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 7165713
This web site should provide your answer:

http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_shell_folders.htm
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 7165770
elniniokev doing what you ask is not advisable. Mainly because if you screw up and not follow proper procedure you could find yourself up the creek without a paddle as the old saying goes. The Documents and Settings folder houses more information about each user then you may know. It isn't like the Temp folder or My Documents folder it is very critical folder so think twice before doing this. However if you really want to do this pay very close attention to the details outlined in the following article.

Take a look at this MS KB article

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q236621

BEGIN 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.

END MS KB article


The Crazy One
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Expert Comment

by:pdrummer
ID: 7165785
To change the default location use a tool that microsoft developers have made called tweak UI. You should be able to change the default location to whatever you want.

http://www.microsoft.com

( just type "tweak ui" in the search box)
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Accepted Solution

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CrazyOne earned 50 total points
ID: 7165788
Oh I forgot to mention that even though the article is dealing with Win2000 the procedure is the same for XP. If you read the article closely you will notice MS does not support doing this. I guess that is why they haven't included XP in this article or create a new article specifically for XP. Like I said some very, very nasty consequences can happen if you do this wrong. So be very, very, very careful or perhaps change your mind and not do it all. Remember the " Documents and Settings" is a cirtical system folder and is no different in its importance then the "Windows" folder.
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 7165800
pdrummer Tweak is useful for moving and renaming shell folders. But the Documents and Settings folders is not, I repeat is not a shell folder it is a System folder and Tweeak does not deal with this folder.

Also please refrain from proposing answers and post comments instead. If the questioner likes your solution they have the option of selecting the comment that best suits their needs. No need to propose answers. The proposed answer is a left over from a prior EE management team and is currently under revision.

BTW welcome to EE pdrummer. :>)
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 7165814
BTW here is the link for all the PowerToys for XP which TweakUI is part of.

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/downloads/powertoys.asp
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by:kodiakbear
ID: 7165926
pdrummer,
Welcome to EE
We usually write a comment instead of an answer, so the question won't be locked and other experts have the chance to give their opinions also. Only if you are 150% sure that you have the right answer should you post an answer instead of a comment and it doesn't duplicate a previous comment.
 The question asker has the option to accept a comment as an answer.
Please take a look http://www.experts-exchange.com/jsp/cmtyQuestAnswer.jsp for more information on how to answer questions.

For now I rejected your proposed answer.
kb
Experts Exchange Moderator
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by:TomDromi
ID: 7197011
Microsoft doesn't offer the option of moving the "Document and Setting" as a whole - might because it could harm the system - I don't try it on my computer.
But What I did try is to change the location of most of the features inside the "Document and Setting".
You can do it in two ways:
A:
- Make "D:\Document" or something like that.
- Right click of any of the "Document and Setting" that located on the desktop (i.e. "My Document") ==> properties and then "move...", write a new location and then confirm.
B:
- Make "D:\Document" or something like that.
- Download and install TweakUi under:
"http://download.microsoft.com/download/whistler/Install/2/WXP/EN-US/TweakUiPowertoySetup.exe"
- after installing it you can fine it on your control panel and there under "My computer" tab you can change allot of you special folder location like:
Desktop, Common Program Files, Favorites, My Documents, My Music, My Picture, Program Files, Start Menu, Startup and more. changing the location of an item change the location in the registry and also move the folder to the new location.

Tom
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by:jonnyz0109
ID: 8635364
elniniokev,
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 for this question:

RECOMMENDATION: Award points to CrazyOne

Please leave any comments here within 7 days.

PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER!

Thanks,

jonnyz0109
EE Cleanup Volunteer
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