Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10  

  1. Posts : 26
    Windows 10 Pro

    This worked fine for me after a clean W10 Pro install, but there was one strange issue: my D: drive (where I moved the user dir to) became completely inaccessible due to a lack of NTFS permissions. It was an easy fix (I just added "[LocalHostname]\Users" back in) but still I'm wondering what I did wrong to get there.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 17,661
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Arkai said:
    Hmm, I did that last time some two years ago or so... lets see if my dusty old cogs can turn...
    I'm guessing all this in safe mode or an cmd shell started as admin?
    Your answer file is OK, that's exactly how to put ProgramData back to C: drive. Also your commands are correct, first stop the possibly running WMP Network Sharing Service, then run the Sysprep.

    Safe mode is a No No . You can do this from normally from an elevated command prompt. However, I prefer to boot to Audit Mode first and run the Sysprep from there, simply because in Audit Mode your user account is "free", it is not used and there will be no "under the hood" active pointers to any files on ProgramData.

    To reboot Windows to Audit Mode, the command is:
    %windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /audit /reboot

    RaviR said:
    First thing; I created a USB install media to do my clean install. I read that I need to use the ISO instead? So just download the iso,mount it and it will work when the computer restarts?

    Second; Do I need to create a folder on the destination drive for the Users folder to go into?

    And third; When the installation procedure starts back up, just create a local account to log in and then when I restart again I can use my MS account? Would my data/settings/personalization still remain?
    1. Install Windows normally by booting the PC with the USB install media you created. When in Audit Mode desktop and creating the Answer File, mount the ISO and use the install.wim in it in your answer file as the CPI Source.
    2. No, the destination drive, the drive where you will relocate the USers folder to should be empty. The system will create the Users folder on it.
    3. When you clean install Windows 10 there's no reason to use a so called "dummy" local account first. When you arrive to OOBE phase and the dialog to create the initial user after you have sysprepped, simply use your MS Account.

      The dummy user is practical and only needed for instance when you first install Windows 7 or 8.1 simply in order to be able to upgrade to 10 which you want to sysprep. In that case you first install let's say Windows 7 and use a dummy user to set it up, upgrade to 10 and enter the Audit Mode from the settings screen as told in this tutorial, customize and relocate the Users folder for example, then sysprep and finalize the installation with your real user account, and finally when on desktop delete the dummy account.

      My Computer

  3. Posts : 17,661
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Hi Keldian, welcome to the Ten Forums.

    Keldian said:
    This worked fine for me after a clean W10 Pro install, but there was one strange issue: my D: drive (where I moved the user dir to) became completely inaccessible due to a lack of NTFS permissions. It was an easy fix—I just added "[LocalHostname]\Users" back in—but still I'm wondering what I did wrong to get there.
    No idea, I've never seen behavior like that. Zip following four files and attach the Zip archive to a post here, I could check the logs and see if there are any obvious errors or reasons for this:

    Zip these files, all can be found in C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\Panther folder:
    • diagerr.xml
    • diagwrn.xml
    • setupact.log
    • setuperr.log

      My Computer

  4. Posts : 26
    Windows 10 Pro

    There you go:

    I should point out that I had the network disconnected during the whole setup process (to make sure W10 doesn't pull its stupid auto-updating at any point before I have a chance to disable it) and since I forgot to prepare the answer file in advance, I had to read it from my smartphone and type it in manually , which resulted in typos and 3 failed Sysprep attempts before the successful one. Still, the process failed instantly every time, so I didn't think that could cause issues, but I suppose it could have.
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 17,661
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    OK, those logs reveal nothing but a successful sysprep run. No errors.

    Total mystery. As I mentioned I have never encountered an error like that. Bing and Google reveal nothing usable. Keeping the PC disconnected from the network cannot be the cause; if nothing it only helps to customize Windows if the network is only connected when in Audit Mode after the installation is done.
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 26
    Windows 10 Pro

    All right, thanks for looking into it anyway, and thanks for the welcoming.

    BTW, this definitely seems to be the proper way to relocate folders. I used to use junctions and while that worked on W7, it seems to break more and more stuff as we progress through Windows releases. So, fantastic job.
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 17
    Windows 10

    Thank you for this Kari for this procedure. I have been struggling with this d:\Users upgrade issue for a week now and I have no joy. I have tried upgrading several times. I am running Windows-7 and have D:\Users. From what I have experienced, the upgrade gets stuck at 91% no matter if I try the network upgrade, or media upgrade if I have a Junction from C:\Users to d:\Users. Only way I can upgrade is to create a C:\Users.

    I have attempted this procedure and other procedures several times. After each attempt I restore my C and D drives back to Windows-7 so I can truly start from scratch and go back if I need to.

    First, I tried using a Junction for C:\Users to the existing D:\Users immediately following the first successful upgrade and that seemed to work - well almost! Started the upgrade with Windows-7 with C:\Users and upgraded. After first boot to 10, I got into command prompt from boot and robocopy the C:\Users over the existing D:\Users. Then I created a Junction point c:\users ==> D:\Users. Rebooted and the system came up and looked normal. Let it sit for a while and then the PC went crazy. From what I can tell Windows 10 removed the junction all by itself and created a new c:\users without reboot. Desktop went crazy. After reboot, I went back in and created the Junction but after reboot the start menu would not work.

    I restored the disks back to Windows 7 and again created c:\users. Did the Windows 10 upgrade. I tried the procedure a few times and some times I get an infinite reboot. I assume I have something wrong in the XML file. I am wondering if I may have the wrong drive letters for the source media. My DVD is "O" under windows but when in command mode the drive letters get all different. Is the XML file supposed to use the drive letters for the media from when WIndows is up or Command mode?

    This is the XML file I try to use:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
    <settings pass="oobeSystem">
    <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="" xmlns:xsi="">
    <cpi:offlineImage cpi:source="wim:O:\sources\install.wim#Windows 10 Pro" xmlns:cpi="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:cpi" />
    O is my DVD drive letter under Windows. I am not sure what it is when I am in Command Mode if that is what it uses. I have WIndows-7 Ultimate and I assume after upgrade I get Pro. I am running X64.

    So for some of us, it does not appear coming from Windows-7 Ultimate that the MS upgrade will work if your Users directory is not on C
      My Computer

  8. Posts : 17,661
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    hi Flame red, welcome to the Ten Forums.

    First, use of junctions together with a relocated Users folder is not a good idea. Never.

    As I have mentioned earlier in this thread, my tries upgrading from Windows 8.1 to 10 with relocated Users folder have succeeded every time but upgrades from Windows 7 have failed about half of the time. Other users have posted about upgrade success also from Windows 7 but still, my recommendation is to sysprep the Users back to C: before the upgrade, then after the Windows 10 upgrade sysprep it back to another drive.

    I do normally not use junctions but I have done a few tests like this:
    • Install Windows 7 and some software sysprepping Users to E:
    • Create a couple of user accounts, install some software
    • Create a junction C:\Users > E:\Users
    • Upgrade to Windows 10
    • Upgrade fails every time

    At the moment, before more extensive testing, my recommendation for those upgrading from Windows 7 is to move the USers (and ProgramData if relocated) back to C: drive with sysprep, upgrade to 10, and finally sysprep Users to another drive.

      My Computer

  9. Posts : 6
    win 10

    Does this method of moving user folder to another partition work on windows 10 latest version?
    If yes, what are the instructions for doing so?
    thanks to Kari
      My Computer

  10. Posts : 26
    Windows 10 Pro

    Yes, and the instructions are the same.
      My Computer


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