Help me seperate the settings from the applications
June 13, 2006 7:48 AM   Subscribe

How can I separate the personal files/settings from the "utilities"? I usually install windows and the apps to the C drive and try to keep all the data + configs on D drive. This way I can pretty safely format C without worrying I'll delete important data. I wish to learn how to improve this process.

For example:
Almost the first thing I do is right click "My documents" and in the properties change the folder's location to drive D:
I also try to change the folders apps use from "C:\Documents and settings\%user name%\etc" to something else.

My issue is that this process is not 100% yet. Even if I install the "mobile" versions of some apps, a lot of apps store the data in the aforementioned folder or in their own folder under program files.

Do you have any more tips I could use?
posted by sierra13 to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can move the entire profile somewhere else. Then programs won't put anything in C:\Documents and Settings. Instructions
posted by smackfu at 7:56 AM on June 13, 2006

Also if you wish to isolate your Operating System even more, you could install Faronics Deep Freeze. I can't say enough good things about it.

And moving your profile to another drive is a good a way to back up all the data that is in your Application Data from your profile folder. But that won't save your information that is saved in the actual application folders themselves. You'll have to go thru each app you use and make sure that you have those backed up.
posted by bigmusic at 9:41 AM on June 13, 2006

I wonder why I capitalized operating system? It's like a deity I guess.
posted by bigmusic at 10:18 AM on June 13, 2006

It's probably better to configure it so it's operating system on one drive, and apps + documents on another (or OS on one, apps on another, docs on another, if you want to be extreme). It's much more likely that you'll want to blow away your operating system than your Program Files folder.
posted by reklaw at 3:24 PM on June 13, 2006

I keep small, and self-contained, apps on the same partition as my data, because unlike Photoshop, Editpad, xvi32, winRAR, and foobar2000 never really need to be 'installed' in the first place.

'Forcing' all config/data to a specific location, like you're talking about, sounds like a great idea, but in practice tends to be something of a pain in the ass. If you really want to try it, TweakUI-XP facilitates relocating various important system directories, and after that, you could use symlinks and/or the option to mount NTFS partions as directories.

The pain-in-the-ass bit is remembering/configuring windows to point to these non-standard directories after every re-install. If you do a fresh install+updates, then configure windows to point to your data/profile/config locations, and then make a partition image (ie, Norton Ghost) you can somewhat alleviate this pain. Whether it;s worth all the extra time depends on how often you reinstall Windows and/or how soon you'll be upgrading to Vista..
posted by unmake at 6:38 PM on June 13, 2006

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