User Folder - Move Location drive replacement Solved

  1. Posts : 7
    Windows 10 Professional
       06 Oct 2016 #1

    User Folder - Move Location drive replacement

    I used the tutorial to move my user folders to a spare, second drive in my laptop. Now I'm thinking about changing it from a spinner to an SSD and I'm wondering what steps I should be considering, before I make that swap, to preserve my user folders and migrate it to a second drive.

    Could someone describe the process to replace that drive or point me to a guide? What's tripping me up is if I don't move it back to C: what will windows do when I remove the drive that contains the user folders, and put in the new one upon first boot.

    Thanks for any direction everyone!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    07 Oct 2016 #2

    Hi, the safest path to avoid complication would be to move your folders back to your SSD. Your laptop supports SSD + HDD, so you're replacing the HDD with a SSD.

    If you want to get best performance you will need to set your second SSD to use AHCI rather than IDE.

    If you didn't want to move your folders, you could use disk imaging and the disk imaging software's boot medium to boot your PC, and hence move data /partitions from your HDD to your new SSD.

    Best practice recommended here is to use disk imaging routinely anyway, so ideally you already have a full set of disk images.

    If not, read on:
    Creating disk images lets you restore Windows and all your disks and partitions to a previous working state, quickly and probably without technical help.

    You can recover from:
    - a failed disk drive (restore to a new one)
    - ransomware (which encrypts your disk)
    - user error
    - unrecoverable problems from failed updates to problem programs
    - unbootable PC (hardware faults aside)

    Images also act as a full backup- you can extract files too.

    You can even use images to help you move more easily and quickly to a new PC.

    Imaging can even help you sleep at night knowing you have a second chance.

    Many here recommend Macrium Reflect (free) as a good robust solution and more reliable than some others. It’s
    - more feature rich
    - more flexible
    - more reliable
    than Windows Backup and Restore system images.

    It's well supported with videos, help and a responsive forum.

    There are other such programs, free/commercial, some with simpler interfaces, but Macrium R is one of the most robust and reliable.

    How long does it take?
    SSD+ USB3 - maybe 15 mins for the first system image, less thereafter
    HDD + USB2 - maybe 40-50 mins
    That’s with little personal data, few programs installed.
    - of course, depends how much you have on C:
    (You can and should image all your partitions and disks)

    Once you've created your first image, keep it updated with e.g. differential imaging- which images just changes from the first image, more quickly, and creates a smaller image file.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3. Posts : 7
    Windows 10 Professional
    Thread Starter
       07 Oct 2016 #3

    Excellent post and thanks for the direction. Great starting point!!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    08 Jan 2018 #4

    In case anyone is contemplating this, *and* is using a disk-imaging program such as FSSDev's Casper to clone the drive to a bigger one. (So far on the Internet, it's just me!), just know that Casper assigns a drive-letter to the clone-target drive, which Windows remembers even after you disconnect it. Then when you swap it in later, expecting it to magically appear at the same drive letter as the drive you replaced, you find yourself sadly mistaken, and Windows can't load your profile! :-O This is what I did (am not claiming it is the best way):

    • boot to recovery-mode / startup-options / whatever-it-is-called-today
    • get a recovery command prompt
    • run regedit, and:
      • select the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE node
      • using File > Load ..., load the 'SYSTEM' hive from \Windows\system32\control\ **from your main 'system' disk, and NOT the RAM disk that's providing the Windows shell you're using right now** (it may not be mapped to where you think! this 'shell' of windows doesn't refer to your previous drive mappings at all)
      • let it be 'mounted' under some temporary node that doesn't screw up with the usual contents of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (eg. "zztemp")
      • under that node, locate the MountedDevices node
      • manipulate the mapping-associations, such that that the binary data identifying your newer/bigger drive now becomes associated with the letter you normally use for your user-profiles drive. (There are a number of strategies for this ... so as not to throw useful data away, I *rename* the value names: A -> TMP, B -> A, then TMP -> B, effectively swapping the mappings without any tedious/error-prone retyping of the binary values ... while still respecting that you can't have to values named the same under the same key/node).

    • exit regedit
    • exit cmd
    • cause the system to be restarted

    Now, it might not be fine sailing right away. You might get a temporary profile loaded for some obscure reason. It suggests you log out and back in again, and that indeed is what you should do. It'll be good on the next login.

    NB. If you do get issued a temporary profile, don't freak out that your 'Documents' and 'Pictures' explorer-shortcuts appear to be empty - they are pointing at directories in the TEMPORARY profile! (examine the value of %userprofile% environment var if you are curious) ... check the directories in your actual user directory on the drive, the files are still there! Phew!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5. Ztruker's Avatar
    Posts : 7,037
    Windows 10 Pro X64 1809 17763.134
       09 Jan 2018 #5

    Solution for the future. Use Macrium Reflect Free for this.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  6. Layback Bear's Avatar
    Posts : 994
    Windows 7/64 Professional
       09 Jan 2018 #6

    This might be helpful to you.
    Rename you partitions, so what ever drive letter a programs gives it you will know what it is by the name.


    Click image for larger version. 

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      My ComputersSystem Spec


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