Windows 7 User Folder
October 13, 2009 7:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm using Windows 7 RC. I usually move the entire 'My Documents' to another partition so that I can easily reinstall Windows. How do I do this in Windows 7?

I've pre-ordered my Windows 7 upgrade disc, and I'm thinking about ways to preserve the My Documents folder. I've looked around at methods to change the location of my files, but while I've seen you can move some folders individually, I want my entire users folder on a different partition. Can anyone help, and does anyone have any other advice on what I should do before I install the final release version of Win 7?
posted by edbyford to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Start > Control Panel > User Accounts > Manage User Accounts > Advanced tab > Advanced, then find your user, right-click, Properties > Profile tab.

The profile tab has room to specify a different user profile path, logon script, and home folder location.

I haven't played with this myself, but that looks like where you want to get started.
posted by Liver at 7:52 AM on October 13, 2009

Could you try moving it to an external hard drive? I mean, does moving the folder to another partition do something different than moving it to an external drive? Since it's just documents and user data it seems like an external drive would do the trick. Then you can just restore the files/folders once you've installed Windows 7.
posted by starpoint at 7:53 AM on October 13, 2009

My laptop now has 7RC on it, and when I decide to install the full release it'll be on a brand new HD I'll put the existing HD into an external case. I hope to keep the username and folder structure intact when I install any software, then drag my data from the old to new HD into the exact position it used to be.

I did this before (then on a desktop) when my XP OS became unrecoverable and had to rebuild a new HD. I was able to salvage and restore all my settings for Thunderbird, music in iTunes, documents, etc. just by copying in-place the right files and folders.

I hope it'll work on my laptop with Win7 also.
posted by spoons at 8:42 AM on October 13, 2009

Just upgrade instead of re-installing. Everything will remain the same.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:33 AM on October 13, 2009

Correction: You can upgrade, you just have to change the file that keeps track of which version you can upgrade from.

I've done it, and haven't had any problems. YMMV.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:35 AM on October 13, 2009

Blue_Beetle - the link you gave talks about going from the beta to RC... just to clarify, you followed the same process going from the RC to the RTM version successfully?
posted by Admira at 3:48 PM on October 13, 2009

Windows XP had the File and Settings Transfer Wizard that would bundle your user files & settings into a file and you'd just run it again on the new computer and import your settings.

Windows 7 has Easy Transfer. Does the RC have this? Could you package it up and deploy it once you reinstall?

You should still make a good backup of your user folder just in case you format your hard drive and start from scratch.

Looking back through your question about relocating it to a different partition to actually work from you may be able to make a new partition, copy your user folder over to it while logged into a different account (or bootdisc/alternate OS), then just mount the NTFS volume at c:\users\yourname. Make sure you enable hidden files & folders when you do this. Windows will make sure the folder is empty before allowing you to mount a NTFS volume to it.
posted by ijoyner at 10:53 PM on October 13, 2009

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