Relocating Your Windows Profile To A Different Location

January 6th, 2010 by Xerxes Leave a reply »

In the last few OS rebuilds of my machine, i’ve preferred to relocate my user profile to a different partition, and leave my C:\ as small and light as possible. The added benefit is that I can then backup an entire partition in a snap and be guaranteed i haven’t lost any major user-data.

To do this (under Windows 7), follow the steps below. This assumes you have formatted your machine and have a clean install of Win7 with your user account (with admin access) created.

Enable the Administrator account

This account is disabled by default and you will need to enable it in order to move your profile around.

  1. Press Start, and type “Computer Management” and run the first program
  2. Under Local Users and Groups\Users, you will see the Administrator account. Right-click the Administrator, select Properties. In the General tab, uncheck “Account is disabled”. Apply. Ok.
  3. If you don’t know the password for the Admin account, I suggest right-clicking the Administrator and Reset Password
  4. Log out of your current user account and log in as the Administrator
Enabling the Administrator account

Enabling the Administrator account

 

Copy The Profile To Its New Location

Logged in as Administrator, open Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\Users\. You will see your account folder there. **Move (dont copy!)** your account folder to the new location you want. In my case, I moved it to D:\home\.

Update The Profile’s Home Folder Path

You now need to update the user account to tell it that the profile exists in a different location.

  1. Press Start, and type “Computer Management” and run the first program
  2. Under Local Users and Groups\Users, you will see your user account. Right-click the account, select Properties. In the Profile tab, select “Local path”, and type in the new path of the profile. (eg: D:\home\xerxes). Apply. Ok.
Profile Home Path

Profile Home Path

 

Update Registry To Find New Profile

I probably should have mentioned this before, but if you’re not comfortable modifying your Windows Registry, you probably shouldn’t attempt this. Moreover, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog.

  1. Start -> Run, “Regedit”, Enter
  2. Find the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList. There will be a string value called Profiles Directory. Update the value to be your new profile home directory. (eg: D:\home)
  3. Within the ProfileList key, there are a bunch of sub-keys, one for each user profile registered on the system. Scroll through them and look at the value ProfileImagePath, and find the one which mentions your username. Update the value of the ProfileImagePath to be the new path to your user profile (eg: D:\home\xerxes)
Updating User Profile Location In Registry

Updating User Profile Location In Registry

 

Fin//

You’re all done. Log out of the administrator account and try logging back into your own profile. If you did everything right, this should just work. If you want to disable the Administrator account again, you can do so after logging back into yours.

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