Hi all.

My current preferred drive configuration for my desktop PC uses four drives:
  • C: - Windows, Program Files
  • D: - Games
  • E: - Users directory, virtual machines
  • F: - long-term storage, archives, media files

I've been using a very simple answer file to redirect the Users directory over to the E: drive and it's working fine. I've also replicated much the same setup on my laptop so that file paths are consistent and I can replicate some software settings between both machines without reconfiguring them. Since the laptop only had one hard drive, I had at first created one partition for each drive letter: after a while, I decided that this was inefficient, given that unused space was so fragmented between partitions, so I changed it to the following:

  • C: and E: drives as large partitions (about 50% of HD space each)
  • D: and F: drives as placeholder partitions (1GB each, just because it was a round number)

I then created junctions in the placeholder partitions, pointing at folders in the C: partition, so that the system sees four drive letters but only really storing data on the two that have significant space allocated to them. Again this worked well enough for me.

I recently got a new Surface Pro. I didn't want to spend the time reconfiguring it, so I accepted the default installation option, with everything on the C: drive. I was considering rebuilding it to my usual four partitions, but I've been wondering if there isn't a better way to do it, specifically using either junctions or mounting partitions as folders.

My new aim is for the system to see all data as being stored on the C: drive, regardless of where it's actually stored. On the Surface, with its single drive/partition, it would basically be a standard Windows installation. On the desktop, with its four physical drives, the data would still be physically stored as it is above, but logically it would be like this:

C:\Windows - actually on C:
C:\Users - actually on E:
C:\Games - actually on D:
C:\Storage - actually on F:

Games and Storage are trivial to sort out: either repeat my process with the junctions, or mount the drives as the named folders (assuming that's persistent across reboots? I've never actually used that method). Neither of these drives need to be present for Windows installation,

Users is more tricky. I don't know how I'd create the junction/mount the drive before running the Windows installation (which should obviously no longer redirect the Users folder to a different drive letter). Can anyone suggest the best way to do this?

My first guess is that I could connect and format all the drives, then use the repair options on the install media to get to a command prompt and create the junction there, but I'm thinking that the Windows installation process might not leave it untouched. Also, the drive letters are usually different at that point to what they'll eventually be.

I also assume that there's no way to mount a drive as a folder until you actually have Windows running, so that's clearly not going to help before installation has taken place.

Does anyone have some tips on how to get this working, assuming it's possible? Thanks in advance.