Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10  

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

    First, see this post for explanation for my longer than expected absence: Today [7]

    OK, some unanswered questions:

    Yocto Bq said:
    Kari, please help... About my problem, I have followed carefully, step by step, your Method One (i.e. Relocating Users folder during installation) and the Users folder was successfully created on my D: drive (my relocated drive, as in your example). However, it remained also at its initial location which is the C: drive and it contains the Administrator folder.
    When rebooting to Audit Mode (tutorial step 1: Install Windows 10), Windows Setup temporarily activates the built-in Administrator account, and creates a folder for it in C:\Users.

    When Sysprep is then run, and Users folder relocated, Windows Setup boots back to OOBE. User accounts are relocated, and the C:\Users\Administrator folder is now empty, because Sysprep again deactivated the built-in Administrator account.

    This is totally normal, and you can delete the whole C:\Users folder.

    itsenaf said:
    Any new ideas how to fix this issue? I tried so many things, hard to write it all down.
    Could it be something related to existing local accounts in the image?
    itsenaf said:
    I would like to let you know how I "fixed" my issue.
    I guess problem appears when a user is already configured before sysprep.

    Now I build the task sequence different and based on official windows iso.
    Doing all the customization within sequence. Moving user folder is before any customization.
    And then creating user etc.

    Good to know you got it fixed!

    edrandall said:
    Have spent the past week trying to solve this stuck-on-install/reboot issue with Method 2 on 20H2
    I remind you about the warning at the beginning of Method Two:

    Do not proceed before creating a system image!

    Sysprepping an existing installation with an OEM pre-installed Windows is risky. Manufacturers might have their own unattended answer files in place which ignore your custom unattended files. Anything can go wrong when sysprepping an existing installation, I do not recommend doing this.

    If you decide to try it and it fails and you post about it, I will remind you about this warning asking you to restore the system image you made before proceeding.

    Short: Relocating Users folder with Sysprep should only be done on new, clean installs! Trying this Method Two, relocating Users on an existing installation might force you to do a complete reinstall or restore your PC to factory state.

    That being said, just to be sure, I have today tested Method Two on both a physical and a virtual Windows 10 installation. Both succeeded without any whatsoever issues.

    Stefan F said:
    I'm asking myself if there is a way to set the default location of the special shell folders for new user accounts? I've done intensive search in the internet, but didn't found any hint, even at "Microsoft Answers".
    You have two options: clean install and Method One as in this tutorial to make all user profile folders you later create to be relocated, or manually move user folders one by one as told in this tutorial: Move Location of Documents Folder in Windows 10

    intimategems said:
    When I try to run %windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /oobe /reboot /unattend:d:\relocate.xml at the cmd prompt I get the following System Preparation message pop up:

    USAGE: sysprep.exe [/quiet] [/generalize] [/audit|/oobe] [/reboot|/shutdown|/quit\ [/unattend:<filename>] [/mode:<mode>]
    Only possible explanation is, that when you type the command, there's a typo. Next time you try it, please take a screenshot of the Command Prompt window showing your typed command and post it here, I will need to see how you typed the command.

    obieephyhm said:
    I'm unsure at this point if something has changed such that this thread is no longer viable -- at least as option 3 (upgrade) is concerned. Under Win7 I had moved my user profiles to my data HDD as part of 'SSD Best Practices' then, when forced to move up to Win10, I manually move them back according to the instructions in the tutorial for upgrading Win7-to-Win10. I left the copy intact on the data drive.
    Yes, both the method and tutorial are still viable and accurate, working perfectly

    obieephyhm said:
    Kari seems to be absent from this tutorial follow-on for personal health reasons so I don't wish to disturb her (having had the lifetime of personal health issues that I have had).
    It's he / him, not she / her

    obieephyhm said:
    In the end, I don't have a ton of profiles and all I want to do is minimize the writes/rewrites to the SSD and save the space because I have a large amount of data in several apps. I want the two primary profiles moved to my data HDD, I want any future profiles to be created there,
    Method One works perfectly on clean installs, tested today on both physical and virtual installations.

    obieephyhm said:
    Of course, it is possible that I misunderstood something in Kari's work from 2014 but, at this point, it seems better to move on without waiting for a reply from her.
    Again, it's he / him, not she / her.

    Relocating the whole Users folder has worked perfectly since Vista days. My first tutorial about this method was published over 10 years ago on our sister site, Seven Forums: User Profiles - Create and Move During Windows 7 Installation - Windows 7 Help Forums

    Only one thing has changed since that: since Windows 10 version 1511, you do not have to relocate users back to C: drive when upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 10. This from this very tutorial:

    Please notice that with the Build 10586 (TH2 version 1511) and later there has been no issues in upgrading even with relocated Users folder.

    If upgrading from Windows 7 with not only the Users folder but also the ProgramData folder relocated, you have to move ProgramData back to C: drive before upgrading as told below. Windows 10 does not support relocating Programdata, nor can you upgrade with relocated ProgramData. This is not necessary if the ProgramData folder is not relocated.

      My Computer

  2. Posts : 46
    Windows 10 23H2

    If I ever needed to clean install Windows 10 on Drive C I can do this tutorial and get the users back?

    I don't know exactly, but AppData folder will be stored on drive E as well, right?
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 46
    Windows 10 pro

    Okay, I'm back and still trying to figure a few things out (big surprise) . . . what I'm looking for is a simple tutorial that tells me how to change where Windows 10 pro defaults new users to -- I want to move it off the 'c' drive to my primary hdd data drive which is, in my case, H:. Before I get to setting up any other user accounts, I want to change the process and then I want to move my own profile to the same drive.

    When I search Tenforums, I find mostly stuff that talks about sysprep and doing it during the install. Which, of course, would have made sense had I thought about it but the process of working through my damaged DAW and finally having to replace a ton of hardware then having problems trying to salvage my old install -- I just created a new image on a usb drive and installed it yesterday. I'll just have to re-install a ton of software assuming I can get past the tricky parts.

    Anyway -- can you point me in the way I should go to find the info I need?
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 46
    Windows 10 pro

    apparently not.
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 33
    Windows 10 @ 64 bits

    Hi Kari, hello everyone, how are you?
    I need to redo the installation of Windows 10 from my home computer...
    I also downloaded the Windows 11 ISO for testing and unfortunately my HP Laserjet P1005 printer and my Microsoft Lifecam webcam didn't work - I'll have to wait a little longer to use Windows 11 in this case - let's see what Microsoft will tell us in the event of tomorrow, the 24th.
    Anyway, as I have a machine that I consider very good (seventh generation i7 processor running at 3.4 Ghz, 32 Gb of RAM and now I've put in a Samsung NVME SSD, the 980, I have an amazing performance, but my Windows 10 is not ok and even with repairs, it's time to reinstall
    .What I was thinking of doing:
    - In addition to the 500 GB Samsung NVME SSD, I have 2 more 250 GB Sata 6G SSD each (one Micron M550 and one Kingston SUV400).
    - I will install Windows 10 using the relocate method, where my USERS folder will go to the second hard drive - this is no secret to do, I do it constantly for my customers who have more than one disk in their computers.
    What I wanted to know is if there is any way to do this here in an automated way:
    - Windows 10 on 500 GB NVME SSD due to its performance;
    - Users folder on the second 250 GB SSD (SATA) ; together with it could be the IMAGES and DOCUMENTS folders;
    - On the other 250Gb (SATA) SSD, I would leave the DOWNLOADS folder and the ONEDRIVE sync folder...
    Would it be possible to segment the installation and configuration that way, automatically?
    Would you know how to inform me?
    Thank you all!
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 24
    Win10 21H2 Build 19044.1469

    Kari! A cask of Laphroaig tossed your way. Haven't been by since (with your help) I moved Windows 7 User Profiles to a D: drive.

    Anyway I copied/pasted into notepad for the 'relocate.xml' file. All the instructions worked fine, but "System Preparation Tool 3.14" stopped with the following pop-up message:
    "Windows could not parse or process unattend answer file [d:\relocate.xml|. The answer file is invalid. The error was detected at line 9 column 12 of the answer file.

    Mike in Denver

    - - - Updated - - -

    namitutonka said:
    Kari! A cask of Laphroaig tossed your way. Haven't been by since (with your help) I moved Windows 7 User Profiles to a D: drive.
    Using notepad with wordwrap probably caused this error: "Windows could not parse or process unattend answer file [d:\relocate.xml|. The answer file is invalid. The error was detected at line 9 column 12 of the answer file.
    The parsing error may have been caused by Windows notepad 'wordwrap'.

    I repasted Kari's xml code using notepad++ rather than notepad. Kari's installation procedure was all done offline.
    Everythig worked fine, and now I have D:\Users\ with the following three subfolders: defaultuser0, me, and Public. There is also a C:\Users\Administrator folder.

    Windows 10 Pro version 21H1 installed 7/14/2021. OS Build 19043.928. Windows Feature ExperiencePack 120.2212.551.0
    Still offline without updates pending driver installations, etc.
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 1
    Manjaro Linux, Windows 10

    Method 3: Moving a single user-folder after installation

    Hello all,
    I just registered here to give you a new working method in the case, that Method 2 does not work for you.
    I lately came to the situation, where I had to move back my user-folders of a system, which had been prepared via the good old sysprep method on installation a few years ago. Unfortunately, "Method 2" as shown in OP always ended up with a "spinning circle of death" after initializing the unattended installation via Audit-Mode.
    After a few days of trial and error, I am proud to present you...

    Method 3:
    This method allows to migrate single accounts, one after another to a different location.

    (*) Step 2 can be skipped, if you already have the "Administrator" account unlocked or if you do the steps on another Account with admin rights.

    1. Set the default location for new profiles
    • Press WIN+R, enter regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
    • Edit the ProfilesDirectory entry. The default is %SystemDrive%\Users

    2. Create a temporary migration account(*)
    • For the next steps, you need a migration account. Right click on the start menu and select "Computer Management"
    • Expand "Local Users and Groups"/"Users", right-click into the right pane and select "New user...".
    • Give that user any name you want. Here I used "Migrate". You also might want to deselect "User needs to change password..." and select "Password never expires".
    • Click create. Then right-click on that user, select "Settings" and navigate to the tab "Member of". Click on Add and anter "Administrators".

    3. Export the accounts in question with TransWiz
    • Logout from your current account and login to your migration account (here, we called it Migrate)
    • Download and install the program TransWiz. Then run it
    • Select "I want to transfer data to another computer"
    • Select the Account you want to export and hit next.
    • Select a location where to store the profile. Optionally, hit "Fast pack" to disable compression for the exported zip-file. Hit next and optionally set a password to protect the exported zipfile. The export now starts

    4. Delete the old account (Fixed)
    • Right-Click on the Start Menu open Settings and select Account. Then click on Family and other users.
    • Backup your old profile folder (just in case!)
    • Select the user you want to delete under Other users and click on Remove. THIS WILL COMPLETELY DELETE THE USER INCLUDING ALL DATA IN THE OLD PROFILE FOLDER.

    5. Import the accounts in question with TransWiz
    • Start TransWiz again. Now select "I have data I want to transfer to this Computer"
    • Select the previously exported file and hit next.
    • On "Enter the domain", select your Computers Name (should be autoselected)
    • On "Enter the user account name", give it the short-name of your previous account. Hit Next and answer with "Yes", when asked to create a new user account
    • Select the type of the account: Standard User, Administrator or Other. Hit next
    • Optionally: Set a full Username, Description, Password
    • Check "Password never expires" (even if the password is empty) and hit Next.
    • Now TransWiz should import the account to the location, which has been set in step 1.

    I hope, that I could help someone out, who had the same trouble as I had, when using Method 2 / Post-Install profile migration.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I fixed step 4. My previous statement on how to delete an account was not fully sufficient and had left remnants in the system, preventing a windows function upgrade.

    The reason why my previously stated method of deleting a user is not sufficient is the following.
    First things first: If there are multiple accounts of the same name (can e.g. happen in a domain environment), windows will add a suffix to the account's profile-folder to avoid nameclashes, like <USERNAME>.000, counting upwards.
    When you delete a user by the old method 4, the local user seem to have disappeared. However there are still remnants in the registry (like HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList and others) pointing to the old directory.
    When reimporting the backed-up profile, windows will import everything fine and and since the profile folder will now be in a completely different location, it will not add a suffix. However, somewhere in the system, there is still information about that this profile folder should have a suffix (since the previous account has not been fully wiped from the system).
    When upgrading the system, The Windows Upgrade Process will try to migrate the user-folder, sees, that it should have a suffix but also sees, that the user-folder has none. This causes the upgrade to fail with User profile suffix mismatch, 0x800707E7 - 0x3000D.
    If you already used my previous "Step 4", you can fix this by first deleting the offending registry key (see the link above). Unfortunately, this is not 100% sufficient. You will also need to delete the previously imported profile via the correct method of the "Fixed Step 4" and then reimport it.
      My Computer

  8. Posts : 4
    Windows 10

    Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10

    After reading through both your original tutorial and three or four of the most recent pages in this very long thread, I sincerely hope you are feeling well again. The world needs you!
    My brand-new laptop (Lenovo P15v Gen 2) arrived pre-loaded with Windows 10, of course; in fact its sysprep log files are dated 8-30-21 and it reached me on Sept. 16th. So far, the only programs I've added to it are Classic Shell, an antiviral, and Macrium Reflect, but there have been several Windows Updates.
    I have installed a second SSD, initialized as D:\, to which I would like to relocate the entire Users folder tree. Having already used Macrium to make a complete image of drive C:\, I'm trying to follow your Method 2. However, sysprep consistently fails. The following seem to be the key lines (among roughly two dozen in all) that get added to the log file:

    2021-09-27 22:50:16, Error SYSPRP Sysprep_Clean_Validate_Opk: Audit mode cannot be turned on if reserved storage is in use. An update or servicing operation may be using reserved storage.; hr = 0x800F0975
    2021-09-27 22:50:16, Error SYSPRP ActionPlatform::LaunchModule: Failure occurred while executing 'Sysprep_Clean_Validate_Opk' from C:\Windows\System32\spopk.dll; dwRet = 0x975
    2021-09-27 22:50:16, Error SYSPRP SysprepSession::Validate: Error in validating actions from C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\ActionFiles\Cleanup.xml; dwRet = 0x975
    2021-09-27 22:50:16, Error SYSPRP RunPlatformActions:Failed while validating Sysprep session actions; dwRet = 0x975
    2021-09-27 22:50:16, Error [0x0f0070] SYSPRP RunDlls:An error occurred while running registry sysprep DLLs, halting sysprep execution. dwRet = 0x975
    2021-09-27 22:50:16, Error [0x0f00d8] SYSPRP WinMain:Hit failure while pre-validate sysprep cleanup internal providers; hr = 0x80070975

    This is with 20H2, build 19042.906
    I've looked up "reserved storage" and although it sounds like a good idea, it certainly isn't needed right now on a 500G drive that's less than 15% full. However, attempts to disable "reserved storage" have also failed consistently, because some of it is allegedly still in use. Is there a workaround? Can 20H2 be persuaded to release that reserved storage? If so, how?

    Thank you!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Well, the "reserved storage" problem is solved. Turns out that Windows Update's monthly cumulative had failed, with the infamous Error 0x80070002, which in turn can be cured by finding this Windows folder: SoftwareDistribution\Downloads and deleting all of its contents. AFter doing that, Windows Update runs normally, i.e., to completion, and releases all of the Reserved Storage that had blocked DISM from disabling that function.

    Method Two failed - producing an OS that couldn't finish booting - but I had indeed used Macrium to make a full image of the entire drive C:, so now that Update has been properly completed, I'm about to go around again. My wife describes this behavior as "dogged," but hey, I'm retired....
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 179
    Windows 11 Pro

    Does these method's work for Windows 11?
      My Computer

  10. Posts : 4
    Windows 10

    I hope that question is directed to others such as Kari, because I'm only now reluctantly getting into Windows 10, and have absolutely no idea about Windows 11.
    Good luck,
      My Computer


Tutorial Categories

Move Users Folder Location in Windows 10 Tutorial Index Network & Sharing Instalation and Upgrade Browsers and Email General Tips Gaming Customization Apps and Features Virtualization BSOD System Security User Accounts Hardware and Drivers Updates and Activation Backup and Restore Performance and Maintenance Mixed Reality Phone

  Related Discussions
Our Sites
Site Links
About Us
Windows 10 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 10" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

© Designer Media Ltd
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:04.
Find Us

Windows 10 Forums