Moving the 'My Documents' folder (and others) to a different hard disk

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  1. Posts : 290
    Windows 10 Pro (x64) 21H1 (OS Build 19043.1165)
       #1

    Moving the 'My Documents' folder (and others) to a different hard disk


    Hi Folks!

    Having thoroughly sanitised the 5TB hard disk (subject of a couple of other threads on TenForums - see 5TB showing 561.53GB, Encrypting the Windows System Disk and Drive encryption), I'd like to move the following folders from their current default location on C: drive to the data drive, D:

    EDIT: Data drive D: (referred to above) is no longer single partition but split into two W: drive for Windows documents and L: drive for Linux documents.

    Any references to D: below should now refer to W: (ignoring the Linux partition for the present)


    C: Desktop
    C: Documents
    C: Downloads
    C: Favourites
    C: Links
    C: Music
    C: Pictures
    C: Videos


    Is it as simple as this ...

    File Explorer > C: drive > Users > [username folder], right click on Documents > Properties

    In the 'Location' tab, change the location from C:\Users\[username]\Documents to D:\Users\[username]\Documents then click 'Apply', click 'OK' and close the Properties box?

    Then repeat the above process for the downloads/mucic/favourites/photos/videos/etc folders??

    Or is there a better way to do it?

    If there is a different way to do it, what are the pros & cons of each method?

    I'm planning on having an area on the data disk for Windows documents (W: drive) and an area on the data disk for Linux documents (L: drive).

    Given that the disk is 4.5TB (formatted), I was thinking of 3.5TB for Windows and 1TB for Linux as I'd do most of my computing stuff (w/p, pictures, video, etc) in Windows.

    Sound like a plan? Any snags I haven't thought of?

    I'd then like to encrypt the data partitions (or if having both the Windows and the Linux partitions encrypted would cause a conflict, just encrypt the data partition for the Windows documents and files).

    VeraCrypt can encrypt the Windows data and automatically mount D: drive when Windows boots?

    Never used encryption before - hence the concerns.

    Art
    Last edited by ArthurDent; 01 Jul 2020 at 11:54.
      My Computers


  2. Posts : 34,922
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #2

    Hi, once again I'd give you the most serious warning that if you make an error using the Location tab - as some do, and seriously regretted it- you will be back here seeking help to try to sort out the mess. There are several such threads.

    That is why the tutorials on doing so state you should make a system (disk) image before making the change. Please see the tenforums tutorials on this. (Tutorials at the top).

    Whilst you can do this, personally I'd never take the risk.

    Further, programs I install add many folders on installation to Documents, Videos etc making them 'their' folders rather than 'my folders'. Thus I prefer to create my own new folders on a separate disk or partition and use those.

    In a multi-user scenario you could also add those to the library (like Documents, Downloads etc) so other users can't see them (tutorials available).

    A further possible concern is how programs which might use these may not properly respect their relocation abd use a hard coded path to the folder. Thus again a prefer to leave them where they are.

    Members' views differ on this- some are happy to relocate them, others would not.

    The choice is yours.
      My Computers


  3. Posts : 290
    Windows 10 Pro (x64) 21H1 (OS Build 19043.1165)
    Thread Starter
       #3

    dalchina said:
    Hi, once again I'd give you the most serious warning that if you make an error using the Location tab - as some do, and seriously regretted it- you will be back here seeking help to try to sort out the mess. There are several such threads.

    That is why the tutorials on doing so state you should make a system (disk) image before making the change. Please see the tenforums tutorials on this. (Tutorials at the top).

    Whilst you can do this, personally I'd never take the risk.

    Further, programs I install add many folders on installation to Documents, Videos etc making them 'their' folders rather than 'my folders'. Thus I prefer to create my own new folders on a separate disk or partition and use those.

    In a multi-user scenario you could also add those to the library (like Documents, Downloads etc) so other users can't see them (tutorials available).

    A further possible concern is how programs which might use these may not properly respect their relocation abd use a hard coded path to the folder. Thus again a prefer to leave them where they are.

    Members' views differ on this- some are happy to relocate them, others would not.

    The choice is yours.
    @dalchina

    I have already cloned the Windows 10 System Disk so I can easily go back if needs be.

    A further possible concern is how programs which might use these may not properly respect their relocation abd use a hard coded path to the folder. Thus again a prefer to leave them where they are.
    Point taken.

    So, how do you point to the folders on your data disk if you leave the default folders in place on C: drive?

    Currently looking through the tutorial "How to Move Users Folder to another Location in Windows 10".

    Art
      My Computers


  4. Posts : 11,362
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 21H2 Build 19044.1706
       #4

    Art,

    You can do what you said in your OP. Personally, I disagree about the risk. I have only seen it go wrong once in a decade of relocating user folders & my suggested procedure avoids this risk.

    I have never used the procedures for moving the entire Users folder. I have always moved the individual user folders [Documents etc] as you said you wanted to do in your OP.

    I always create the target folders on the data drive first then manually move the files across before using the Location tab.
    - Whilst the procedure you intend following includes an option to let it handle the move, it went wrong for me once and it was very difficult to recover the mislaid files.
    - When you use the Location tab, either use its ability to browse to the target folder or cut & paste the address straight from File explorer's address bar. Taking either of these precautions eliminates the risk of putting in a non-existent path, which confuses Windows and requires editing the Registry to correct. I can talk you through the Registry work but you should not need it.

    You have not mentioned the Screenshots folder. Once you take a Screenshot, it should use its default location of C:\Users\%UserName%\Pictures\Screenshots and can be relocated using the same procedure as the others.

    If any of your relocations are to the same folder path, Windows will warn you that it will never be able to undo the change.
    - It can't but you can by editing the Registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders and this is what I can talk you through if it is ever required.
    - Just by way of example, my Desktop and my Screenshots folder are both set to D:\Desktop for convenience so I'd have to edit the Registry if I ever wanted to change this. No sweat.

    When you have created your target folders & put all your files in them, open each application in turn
    - Look for and set any option/prefererence for a default folder
    - Use its Open file procedure to point to your desired 'normal' folder and open a file from there
    - Use its SaveAs file procedure to point to your desired 'normal' folder and save a file there
    Almost all applications will then happily keep using your desired folder from now on.

    Denis
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 34,922
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #5

    So, how do you point to the folders on your data disk if you leave the default folders in place on C: drive?
    - they are just folders- you put shortcuts to them where you want..

    (I also have a couple of utilities that give me easy access to favourite and recent folders in almost any save as and open dialogue and file explorer).

    @Try3 is of course free to disagree about the risk-- but perhaps hasn't seen the threads where people have got this wrong and pleaded for help or experienced this.

    Brink added the advice to create a system image before starting in each of those tutorials on my suggestion, agreeing this was a wise precaution.

    For example, if you have a disk/partition D: you can relocate Documents to D: - almost anywhere.

    Bree spent about 10 days with virtual machines repeatedly going back and forth trying to find a way to untangle what one user had done.
      My Computers


  6. Posts : 11,362
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 21H2 Build 19044.1706
       #6

    dalchina said:
    Try3 is of course free to disagree about the risk-- but perhaps hasn't seen the threads where people have got this wrong and pleaded for help or experienced this.
    I have seen them and my small change to the procedure avoids their problems [creating the folders first, moving the files yourself, browsing/pasting the new Location path]

    If the OP had not already done so I would also have advised making a system image before doing the job. I always do so myself even though it is almost a decade since I have had a problem with relocations.

    dalchina said:
    Bree spent about 10 days with virtual machines repeatedly going back and forth trying to find a way to untangle what one user had done.
    I recall that but do not remember the diagnosis. I think it was something to do with trying to relocate to a non-existent path. Do you have a link to that thread still?

    Denis
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 3,974
    Windows 7 HP 64 - Windows 10 Pro - Lubuntu
       #7

    My option would be to move C:\Users to D:\Users. Not only the folders you mentioned wold be on the D: drive but also AppData and all user settings.

    Brink created a tutorial to move documents folder to another drive but is the same to move any other folder

    Move Location of Documents Folder in Windows 10
      My Computers


  8. Posts : 17,256
    Windows 11 Pro
       #8

    I've moved library folders using the location tab for years without any problems. I even multiboot different versions/editions of Windows and they all use the common relocated folders on my data drive.
      My Computer


  9. Posts : 3,961
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
       #9

    Just chiming in -

    There are pros and cons to this approach.
    If the SSD has a small capacity, then do it.

    Mine is 2TB, so I keep everything on there with a image of the entire SSD dumped to a external HDD.

    FWIW.

      My Computer


  10. Posts : 3,961
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
       #10

    @ArthurDent -

    Please refresh my memory (pun intended) - what is the size of your boot SSD?

      My Computer


 

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