User profile path

Posted on 2004-10-23
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-30
I am not a newbie under W2K, but this problem keeps me struggling. All MS Knowledge base articles I found are either obscure or don't work:

I am on a W2K system and I have to create new user accounts once in a while.
Now by default all user profiles get created under %USERPROFILE% which is usually C:\Documents and Settings\
When I specify a profile path in the Profile tab for that user one would assume that would change the path ... no way in a Microsoft product :-(

The reason why I want to change the path is that I can't have all the user files on the C: drive. There is a D: drive available for the users, but since email, desktop, My Documents ... just everything goes to C: I always have a full C: drive and plenty of space on D:.

Does anybosy know a reliable way in W2K to create the user's profile on a diffrent drive, a diffeent path?

Question by:griessh
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

ID: 12390999

I am not sure why or where the problem is.

Check this MS KB

Just after Step 3

1. In Control Panel, double-click the System, click the User Profiles tab.
2. Select an existing local or roaming profile that you want to copy.  
3. Click the Copy To button.  

copy to D drive.. that is all.

Are you unable to do that ?

Are you logging in as administrator ?

LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 12391050
Hello Werner,

It is definitely possible to create roaming profiles, and your roaming profile can live anywhere you want, on your D: drive on your E: drive, on any network drive.

However, I believe what you are asking is this: "Is there any way of not having the "documents and settings\userprofile" folder on the C: drive ?" , and unfortunately I must say, the answer is No. A local copy (Cached copy) of a roaming profile is always downloaded to your system drive (in this case C:) to the C:\documents and settings folder. I had answered a similar question on EE before as well. Following is an excerpt from it, if you go to the url mentioned here, you would know what I am saying.

Start Quote:
According to MS there is no way of changing the Default folder locations after windows have been installed. Please refer to the following article, and look under default folder locations:


I hope this answers your question.

Thanks and GoodLuck!
LVL 86

Expert Comment

ID: 12391082
As a last resort, you could chang the env. ver. in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Environment
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 12392333
We did this about a year ago - but with WinXP Pro.  We wanted a sure way to use drive E for the entire contents of C:\Documents and Settings\ - not just My Documents.  We wanted the environment variables for programs, mail, desktop etc all to be on E so that in the event of a crash nothing would be lost.

I experimented with several suggestions from the MS TechNet, Knowledgebase, etc., but they never seemed to work completely.

I ended up doing it the hard way - but it is still working today.  I manually edited the registry for all user paths for ShellFolders and User ShellFolders.

First, logon as administrator and set the default user paths.
Next, logon as USER (with admin rights) and do the same with CurrentUser

Hope this helps.
LVL 11

Author Comment

ID: 12395290

I am not part of a domain (I guess that's where it is working thsi way), so I don't see any option to create a roaming profile. I think what you try to tell me only works on a server.

That's exactly what I am trying to do, move the who "Documents an Settings" directory.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Environment only has entries for tmp amd temp. Do you know the enviroment variable used for "Documents and Settings"?

That's what I did the last time. I fiddeled 3 days with the PC 'til it worked and last week I had to rebuild the system. What a pain!
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 12395407
Hi griessh

Like I said, MS says its not possible once windows is installed :(  According to MS there is no way of changing the Default folder locations after windows have been installed. Please refer to the following article, and look under default folder locations:


LVL 49

Expert Comment

ID: 12395413
that link I had given is for local as well as roaming profile..

You should be able to go to the same location and be able to "copy to"..

BTW , are you the admin ?

Accepted Solution

dunglc99 earned 2000 total points
ID: 12398354
Hi Griessh,

Make sure you have a full backup before trying the following steps:

1. Log as Administrator on W2K-based computer;
2. Create a folder which will contain all the profiles (ex: "D:\profiles");
3. Right-click on "My Computer" icon, choose "Properties", then "User Profiles" tab;
4. Select each profile name in "Profiles stored on in this computer" and choose "Copy To..." button in order to copy the profile into new folder (in case: D:\profiles); click OK when this step finish;
5. Open registry and move to key:
6. Double-click on "ProfilesDirectory" and change its value to folder-name you want.
7. Close the registry.
8. Restart you computer.

Hope you success,

LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 12398698
This is maybe what you search for.
How To Change the Default Location of User Profiles and Program Settings :
LVL 11

Author Comment

ID: 12403495
OK folks, I spend part of my Sunday digging and now I find dunglc99 has what I needed <LOL>

For better understanding of the whole system here is some more information:

HKEY_USERS\...\Software\Microsoft\Windos\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders points to "%USERPROFILE%\<Directory>"
HKEY_USERS\...\Software\Microsoft\Windos\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders have those directories with their real paths.

The USERPROFILE variable is defined in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\ProfileImagePath as "%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\<user>"
which itself is derived from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\ProfilesDirectory with the value "%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings"

With this information you can change specific directories of a single user, the location of a singe user's profile and the location of all (new) profiles.


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