There are many ways you can move user documents away from the main Windows Operating System partition. By moving the user profile files away from the OS partition you can isolate the files running by the system from the files created by you. We’ve covered various ways to move the user profiles to a different location another than the default C:\Users directory. The original method of involving Windows registry change, later we’ve shown you a more in-depth way of moving your user profiles into a different partition without the Windows registry hack. All of the above method would achieve the same goal, but each with its own flavour. There are caveats by using a registry hack, you will facing issues down the line, when Windows try to install new service pack or upgrade to a newer Windows release. Your Windows OS will be in an unstable state that could ultimately backfire.
Moving User Profiles Away From Default With Build-in Windows Tool
Apart from using Windows registry hack and Windows symbolic link pointer, you can actually update the default user profile directories individually to a specified location other than default C:\Users.
For example, lets take C:\Users\[accountname]\Downloads directory as an example. Right-click the Downloads directory under Properties > Location you can update the target to a new location. This new location could be another partition in the system, another hard drive or SSD. To do that, you can click “Find Target …” to select a new location of where the Downloads directory to be stored at.
Here as an example we’ve moved the Downloads directory from C:\Users\Jonathan\Downloads to D:\Users\Jon\Downloads
Confirm moving the folder, it will prompt for a pop-up to confirm this action. If your old location, in our case, C:\Users\Jonathan\Downloads contains files it will automatically move those files to the new location as well.
Now, just repeat this action to other User Profile directories that you wish to move. The advantage of this method is you can pick and choose which directory you want to move. And this is 100% Windows supported action. You will not run into any risk in the future by not able to upgrade to a new Service Pack or a new Windows release by not having a default User Profile location. Give it a try if you are setting up a new machine on a SSD + HDD combination setup.
Co-founder of Next of Windows and a cool geek 🙂
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Last updated: 03/20/2015