1. hi there, I have Read Your Steps towards Moving the Users Folder , And Whilst I can say that ,That May Work, I have an Easier Way.
    My Solution is Easy, And it Works, I have Tested it.
    First up Gain Admin Privilidges, the best way you can.??.
    Then go to my computer and set your mouse on Your Users Folder.
    Then Simply Right Click it and go to Properties.
    Then look for Change Location ( or words to that affect , and Browse to the location you would like ( if the folder name at that location does not exist, then make one ).
    Then Procede with the Move.
    All Done.

    • Hmm…I am not sure if this is going to work. To make a symoblink, the original folder needs to be copied and deleted. If you are logging in as a users the files in the user profile are locked and can’t be completely removed. That’s why you need to go into the repair mode with command prompt window in the first place.

  2. When working through your steps with the Enterprise edition, xcopy can’t copy the files because there appears to be nothing on the C: drive. Dir returns an empty drive as well. Suggestions?

  3. You should copy also the access rights otherwise all the sky drive apps stop working
    xcopy /k /x /s /h c:users d:users
    In my case c: drive was actually e: during the repair state. So I needed to change all references of c: to e:.
    Also it is much more cautios not to delete the c:users folder but rather rename it first.

  4. this method does not work with metro apps in win 8 release preview, build 8400. They won’t load, Windows reader gives a “remote Procedure Call” error. Weather App shows splash screen & immediately goes back to start menu. Using the xcopy /k /x /s /h c:users d:users command messes up wallpapers & other user data and all the metro apps are missing from the start menu.

  5. It didn’t work… after the final reboot and trying to logon it says “The user profile service service failed the sign-in” “The user profile cannot load”. I double checked that the SYMLINK was spelled correctly, and even I changed directory from d: to cd Users at the command prompt of repair mode, and eventhough it says d:Users, I new it was e:Users because the size of the hard disk… So, it was working the symlink… I’m gonna reinstall the o.s. and I will try the xcopy with the attributes and ownership/ACL settings (and instead of deleting the original folder, I will rename it) and I will post the results…


  6. I’m after a few attempts (12 times, I reinstalled Windows 8 :-)) Users folder correctly transferred. I used the command “xcopy /k /x /s /o /x c:users d:users”

    But I have a question: Is it also transfer the ProgramData folder on drive D:?
    This folder contains the settings and files required for the installed programs.

  7. Thought I’d throw in my experience….I tried this several times, but it failed with the
    “user profile service failed to login, user profile cannot be loaded” error. After several re-installs, I did a little more searching and discovered my problem. My C: when booting of the CD and going to a CMD prompt was actually the system reserved partition, so my “C:” (SSD)was D: and my D: (Regular Drive) was E:

    After copying the d:users to e:users, (using robocopy /mir /xj D:Users E:Users), I created the link with the following…
    mklink /d d:Users d:Users. After rebooting, what was E: in the repair console goes back to D:.

    Rebooted and it’s working fine. Thanks for the tip!

    • I think I’m running into the same, however I’m a little confused by your post are you linking d: to d: ???

      mine is mapped x: (Reserved) d:(ssd) e:(hdd)

      so after doing the whole robo copy D: to E:, rmdir D: mklink

      is it D: to E:?

  8. Moving the user directory using robocopy and junction points causes problems the CD/DVD drive mapping i.e. the drive is not found under systems settings and IE metro app fails to work as well as Windows Defender.

    Moving the Program Files location using the same methods breaks the ability to install .NET 3.5 and probably other Microsoft updates..

    If anybody has any suggestions I would be glad to hear them.

    • Any suggestions on this? Creating the symbolic link for the Program Files folder Works until Windows needs to install updates, then it fails installing some updates like the .Net framework. Also, when I created the link for the Program Files folder, the Internet Explorer App stopped working (all other apps continued to work). I’d like to at least move the Apps to my SD card drive as I’m using a Tablet and the apps consumers a lot of space in the SSD drive.

  9. While I would have preferred to see a Microsoft supported method, this one works well. It took me a few minutes to realize my C was moved to E in the recovery command console. I have a second drive that was assigned a letter (D), and I guess the OS decided to move C to E when the system recovery drive was in the picture. I just changed the xcopy and mklink commands to reflect what was in the console environment, and the OS picked it up when it moved my boot drive back to its regular drive designation.

  10. Solved :). Problem: win8 does not ‘believe’ the mklink connection in some cases, hence we cannot log back to the user. But everything is fine otherwise, win8 just needs convincing that the users folder is actually at the right location :). Follow everything as written above. Take care of the location of drives/directories. I used xcopy /k /s /x /o /h d:Users c:Users. Mklink /d d:Users d:Users. Definitely do a rename d:Users UsersOld so you can go back if something goes wrong. Restart, you cannot login, dreaded ‘no users’.
    Dont despair, no need to reinstall.

    We will go to Safe mode and correct the registry. Shift+click on Restart, you get into the recovery screen. Select Troubleshoot, select Advanced options, Startup settings, click Restart and upon Restart you will get the standard Windows Safe mode option. Select it and after a short wait you are in safe mode, win8 complaining about missing desktop, just click ok.
    Now to regedit: windows key+R, type regedit, enter.
    I followed http://www.eightforums.com/user-accounts-family-safety/6084-any-fixes-user-profile-cant-loaded-windows-8-a.html from this point onward – here is a short summary as well:
    Go to hklmsoftwaremicrosoftwindows ntcurrentversionprofilelist, double click on profilelist.
    You are going to see a couple of directories in ProfileList and at least one or two are really long ones (s-1-5-21 for me, maybe different for you: if its a clean install and you have only one account it was the same on two different computers: check that in the .bak dir the ProfileImagePath points to C:Useryourname). Just switch the currently active to the retained .bak: right click & rename the one without the .bak to .tmp, remove the .bak extension from the one that has .bak (making it active) and rename the .tmp to .bak.
    Now look at State key, it should show a non-0 number in the active profile you have just copied back. Double click, set it back to 0.
    Ok, we have convinced win8 that this is a good profile. Close Regedit.
    Shutdown & Restart from the Safe Mode (top right corner with mouse, Settings, Power, Restart).
    Voila, all Metro apps back, login works like a charm. Hope it works for you as well, tested on two comps. And thanks for all including Kent and Brink for the detailed info, I just connected the two pieces.
    (Note: you can try this and if it doesn’t work, you can go back to the original C:users. If for some reason the process doesn’t work for you, just rmdir the symlink on C: restarting from your win8 installation, and rename / copy back your user dir to the C: drive. You still have to go through this safe mode idiocy to convince Win8 that the user dir is back on C:, but I have done it several times and it always works (2 diff computers).)

  11. I did it and it worked fine, but now i have a different problem, when i try to use my video or photo apps from metro, it crashes and i get an error message saying that the remote procedure call failed. I can still access the files asking it to open with windows media player or with other picture and video softwares, and they open up fine, its just from metro that i can`t seem to open it. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to solve it ?

    • I have the same issue too and I expect many more people will too. Seems crazy that Metro apps will all crash as soon as you move a profile to a second drive. I can’t believe that this did not come up in testing.

  12. I was able to do this without issue in Release Preview and Consumer Preview but I just picked up a retail copy of Professional and installed the 64bit version but get an “incorrect function” when running mklink /d x:Users d:Users and can confirm “X” is in fact my system drive and “D” is in fact my secondary drive with the newly copied “Users” content…had to reinstall too because after deleting the original folder the refresh and restore options would fail without any verbal reason. Anyone else get this to work on a retail (full install) copy of Win8 Pro?

  13. I did the registry edit in Win7 when I got my ssd this summer. Windows is on c: my user files are on my d: disk and big programs are on p:. Now I can not do an upgrade install of Win8, whenI go to install I only get the option to keep nothing. Will the symlink work under Win7? My plan would be to revert the registry change, boot the Win7 install disc, do the symlink, reboot into 7 then install 8. I’m not against doing a clean install, but since I just did one when I installed the ssd, I’d prefer not to. I really wish MS would have considered this as more people are moving to SSD’s and keeping data off of the SSD just make sense.

  14. Thank you for this article, but I have failed to complete the process. When I boot to command prompt my system is on x: and I have no idea why. So I do the copy from x to d and then the rd on x. When I try to create the link from x :users d:users I get a message stating the device does not support simlinks….so I mklink c:Users d:Users hoping that will do the job.

    When I log into windows proper d:Users only a Public folder exists and c:Users contain all the folders….I know this is user error but I can’t figure it out.

  15. I found the problem to be windows own symlink. they seem to have sym linked the application data folder that they added this round. I ran this guide to the tee and ran into issues. I ended up doing this guide but adding the /B modifier to xcopy. this copies the symbolic links aka… makes sure the things aren’t broken. now I have copied JUST MY PROFILE not the user file and my metro works and everything looks good

  16. Hey people, great guide. It worked great for me until i decided to plug another sata HDD. At this point, everytime i try to start windows i get the same error: Can’t log user profile. I’ve tried everything i could, but nothing. First, i tried just unplugging the new hdd, but that didn’t solve the issue. Then i tried erasing the F:users (in my case, F always appears as it was C, which is, actually, a partition of the sdd drive). I have even tried erasing both “users” folders (the one with all content and the one that works as a shortcut ) and after copying the backup back to the HDD users folder and making the link again i was under the impression that it would work, but nothing again. I’m no expert, but it seems pretty clear to me that this is a drive addressing issue. I could reinstall windows 8 again, it would be no problem, but i would like to learn how to solve this issue in case it happens again when the machine is being used for work. Hope somebody can help me with that. Thanks very much.

  17. the /S switch in XCOPY excludes empty directories, you want /E for empty directories. Also, MAJOR NOTE: if you don’t use the switch /B and there are any SymLinks pointing to other directories you may copy unnecessary files which may cause further errors with applications when files are being written to one place but not the original SymLinks target.

    I had one in the All Users profile which had a symlink to the C:/ProgramData folder, which then inevitably looped back on itself, causing a loop of creating the directory “Application Data” inside of itself recursively until the path was too long for XCOPY to handle (About 20 Directories deep)

    Long story short, you want to Copy the Symbolic Link itself versus the target of the link.

  18. As of 11-19-12 and some hair pulling.
    1 – Downloaded windows 8 and burned iso to dvd
    2 – installed clean copy of win8
    3 – IMPORTANT: during initial setup.. create a temp account with a LOCAL USER. not the windows account you wish to use.
    3 – restart -> booting from CD -> Repair -> Troubleshoot -> Advanced -> Prompt
    4 – Note: in Repair mode your drive letters might be different then what they will be when you launch windows… which is the source of a lot of confusion. So double check the contents of the drive letters before doing step 5. (example ‘C:> dir’ will show you whats on the C drive)
    5 – In repair mode, C: is my ssd with windows on it (which is normal).. but D: is apparently my hdd drive (which is normally P: when I boot windows). So I copy C to D with C:>xcopy /s /k /o /h /B c:Users d:Users
    6 – Hit “D” when prompted during copy
    7 – Delete user directory on C with c:>rd /s c:Users
    8 – Create Link with c:>mklink /d c:Users p:Users (NOTE I USED P, because when I boot windows… my drive is P not D)
    9 – type exit then startup windows 8. Your metro app should not work for your dummy account… but if you did the symbolic linking correctly your user folder should be located on your other drive.
    10 – create a new user in the user accounts of the control panels with your windows email..etc.
    11 – be sure to make your new account an ADMIN.
    12 – restart and login as the new account
    13 – delete temp account
    14 – metro apps work

  19. I tried this command

    c:>xcopy /e /k /o /h c:users d:users

    but when prompted, type “d” for directory to go on . don’t go ! I typed D but keep me asking .

    Please help me

  20. Here’s my experience… I bought Win 8 Pro 64-bit. I did a clean install with a twist. After installing all the windows files the computer does a reboot and then asks you to start personalizing it.

    The first screen asks you to choose a color and computer name. When I got to this screen I rebooted my computer and followed the instructions in this blog with one difference. I added a “/b” to the xcopy command. This allowed the system to copy the “All Users” symlink which also included the program data symlink. Here’s the command I used:

    E: = my windows installation, on my Samsung SSD
    D: = my storage hard drive, WD Caviar Green

    E:>xcopy /E /K /O /H /B E:Users D:Users

    All the other commands are exactly the same as described in this post (Great post, BTW and thank you!). After I deleted the Users folder on the windows partition and created the symlink i typed Exit to exit the command prompt and rebooted the computer. After the reboot I was back at the screen asking me to choose a color and computer name. Then I finished personalization part of the setup as normal. Everything works great, including the Apps, which were giving me installation errors before I did it this way. Good luck to all!

    Oh, a shout out to Microsoft… could you please make this an option during setup so we don’t have to hack your shiny new Windows 8 OS… and get made fun of by our Mac zombie friends! Most computers using an SSD will need to have this done to them.

  21. Had to add the /b switch with xcopy to copy the symbolic links with 8 PRO N. Can also use for ProgramData as well. Just a heads up guys.

  22. i used “robocopy /xj C:Users D:Users” to avoid conflicting junction points like …ApplicationDataApplicationDataApplicationDataApplicationData……. and then used “mklink J”.

    Now everything’s running fine except Metro Apps which wont show after their splash screen,, they’re running but i cant switch to them…. sometimes got error “remote procedure call failed.

    I have now changed the permissions as told here and also followed everything on the superuser post http://superuser.com/questions/432859/metro-apps-crash-on-startup-driver-or-permissions-issue and also tried registry,, but still have the problem

  23. I completed this and tried to also relocate my program file location… took me a couple tries… in the end though it worked!

    Bad news is my activation code was removed and I wasn’t able to activate windows again :-/

  24. I’m having trouble with the APPs Music, Video, Photos … they do not recognize their media libraries.

    In APP People search not working to find the contacts …

    If you have any suggestions on how to resolve would be grateful.

  25. Works perfectly. Just remember as soon as you get to the command prompt, figure out what drives you have using the ‘wmic logicaldisk get name’ command, and then from the list figure out what drive letter corresponds to what hard drive. You can do this by typing ‘f:’ for drive ‘f’, and then ‘dir’. A list of directories will show up and your hard drive name will show up too.

  26. I get access denied when I try to use Xcopy within the advance options>command prompt after booting up from the Window 8 DVD. Is this ran with elevated permissions? If not how do you run the command prompt this way with admin rights?

  27. It worked perfectly for me, too. But I observe the following problem: It’s not
    possible for me to activate indexing for c:users.
    Obviously, die indexing options dialog doesn’t recognize symbolic
    links/junctions. I do not want to do indexing on the destination
    directory, because I want all applications to believe that my
    files are still on c:users (that’s the idea of a symbolic link). Do
    you also have a workaround for this?

    Thanks, Hans.

  28. i have followed your instruction to the letter (so to speak your D was my G) but it did the opposite; the symbolic link ended up in my G rather than the C (containing the os)…

  29. Works okay with a few exceptions. 1) I can’t search anything using the search bar in file explorer. 2) Metro apps can’t find files in my profiles. For instance, the Photo App in metro sees no photos in my Picture Library.

    Really for me, #2 doesn’t matter as much as #1. I need to be able to search my documents in my profile. I can work around it by creating a Shortcut to my documents instead of using the default icon that’s already on my desktop. But a real fix would be ideal for a stock Windows experience.

  30. ****DISCLAIMER****
    If you run into bigger problems following my advice I sorry but I cannot help you.

    I followed the directions to a tea and it failed. I got the error “The User Profile Service service failed the sign-in. User profile cannot be loaded.” on the login screen. Luckily, I was able to do a system restore. Here is what I did to be able to login again :):

    Restart your PC, and as windows is loading up, restart it in the middle of the process. The next time windows start up, it will detect that it didn’t start correctly, and it will give you an option to start system restore. Choose that option. If you don’t know what system restore does, you may want to ready about what it is before you do this.

    After I did this, I waited about 5 minutes, and finally the login screen came up. I entered my password, and I was able to login! If this does not work for you, please keep in mind that your system restore settings may be different than mine were and/or your system may not have created an restore point at the correct time.

    If you still want to configure the user profile to a different drive without the registry hack, there is a better way to do it. Simply do a google search for the article “windows 8 enable the hidden administrator account”. Once that account is enabled, log off all other accounts, and log into that Administrator account. Once you get logged in to that account, determine if the system created a default user profile for the current login session. If it did, this is what you want. This means that the C:Users file is either in a different location or is gone all together. If you have determined that you are not logged in with a default profile, move the users directory from C:Users to C:UsersTemp. ONLY DO THIS LOGGED IN WITH THE HIDDEN ADMINISTRATOR ACCOUNT. Once that is done, log off of the Administrator account and log back in. The default profile account should be loaded for you. A black desktop background should load for the default profile instead of a normal desktop. If you have a users folder that you want to use, copy it to the location you want it in and create the link to it using the mklink /j option. The link needs to be C:Users. The reason to load the Administrator account to the default profile is so that you can freely copy the Users directory to any location without Windows giving you an error saying that a file is in use in that directory and it cannot be copied.

  31. Its incredible that Microsoft gave us such a lousy product. The simple things that we used to do in the earlier versions which are critical are so complex. I will definitely recommend that companies don’t move into windows 8 if they can help it. I have so much problems with even shutting down the system…..we have to make our own shortcuts to shut down the system in easily! Imagine that.
    I guess i’m frustrated because I have so much difficulty now to change the login profile….

  32. I have the problem,no user profile. In the registry In the registry there is no entry in the profile list with along string following S-1-5-x. so I can’t logon. Can you help?

  33. Just a note: This change did cause a problem with installing Windows Media Center. It would fail with an unknown error because the installer did not like the symlink. A windows level 2 support adjusted the registry entry to point directly to the drive it was located. Did the install and then reverted the registry changes back.

  34. Thank you for this wonderful information! It took a day to finally get a full copy to work! Great information!!!

  35. It worked or me, but a few weeks later after a system restore, windows stop working, like some system files on the users folder were missing or corrupted or something…

  36. Does not work with Windows 8.1 Pro, tried 3 times. When the changes are made and the pc rebooted the logon fails (permission problem). Made exactly the steps with xcopy and robocopy, permissions are ok. The symlink still exists when I boot with repari options and open the command prompt. Also when I open the user folder on c:usersusername I can sell all the folders.

    Any ideas what can cause this problem?

    best regards,


  37. i dont know about a metro crash error but im getting this error after having created my symlinks: C:Windowssystem32systemprofileDesktop refers to a location that is unavailable. It could be on a hard drive on this
    computer, or on a network. Check to make sure that the disk is properly inserted, or that you are connected to the internet or your network, and then try again. If it still cannot be located, the information might have been moved to a
    different location.

    i have no idea how to fix=/
    btw im running windows 7 ultimate 64bit, ive moed user, program files and program files (x86), the latter folders are working and the user symlink does in fact open the proper location but i still get this error every time i open up the files

    should note that the symlinks were made in logon because they were not working properly from recovery

  38. i have do this and every thing works the apps didn’t crashed but the windows explorer dissapeared !!! and downloads file there is no directory for it , and the desktop files have disappeared to


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