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Changing the Profile Path on Windows 8

    Question

  • I've got an SSD that I use for the system drive and HDDs installed for data.

    This setup worked fine with Win 7. I changed the registry values for Default, ProfilesDirectory, and Public to the location I wanted on the HDD and all was well.

    This is not working for me in Win8. At first, I thought it was but then I noticed that right clicking on the lower left corner didn't bring up the context menu it's supposed to display. I tested this under multiple profiles and the only time it worked properly was when the profile was on the system drive.

    Is there something more that I should know about putting user profiles on another drive with Windows 8? This may seem minor but that context menu has become important to me.


    • Edited by hysonm Thursday, August 16, 2012 3:16 PM
    Thursday, August 16, 2012 3:02 PM

Answers

  • As in Windows 7, change the paths in Windows 8 is not recommended. May cause further issues, for example, when installing several updates.

    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”

    Friday, August 17, 2012 7:17 AM

All replies

  • I haven't tried that. I need to read up on it but from what I see it doesn't look like that will be a way that I can implement for multiple users on a single machine without some manual interaction. If I implement symbolic links on the default profile, will that automatically make unique links for each user when they first log in to the system?
    Thursday, August 16, 2012 5:38 PM
  • I haven't tried that. I need to read up on it but from what I see it doesn't look like that will be a way that I can implement for multiple users on a single machine without some manual interaction. If I implement symbolic links on the default profile, will that automatically make unique links for each user when they first log in to the system?

    Think bigger, you only need to symlink the users directory, not each profile.    It's tricky, cause you need to do it from another OS, but google for "Windows 7 Users Redirection Symlink" and maybe the old method will work on Windows 8
    Thursday, August 16, 2012 5:45 PM
  • This might be repeating information you already know, but what about just moving the user folders themselves?

    If you right-click the non-hidden folders in your profile directory, then click the Location tab, you can specify an alternate path. A little tedious, but it works fine.  Beyond that, you can change your TEMP directories in the environment variables (I did both system and user temp directories to HDD) and that is that much less on your system drive.

    I know it isn't perfect, plenty still gets thrown into the AppData folder that I didn't want going into there,  but it was way less of the hassle than using a symlink was for my Win7 install that Win8 replaced.  I also have not installed a ton of software yet, but my AppData folder is at a comfortable 350mb right now.

    It also has to be done on a by-account basis, so if you are doing it for a multi-user system, then it becomes an even bigger pain.

    You could also look into the unattended install documentation, that is another way that might work to set the profile directory during install.  Might be a bigger headache, but should be more likely to work without painful errors.
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff699026(v=WS.10).aspx

    • Edited by Ahren P Friday, August 17, 2012 12:23 AM Forgot URL
    Friday, August 17, 2012 12:22 AM
  • As in Windows 7, change the paths in Windows 8 is not recommended. May cause further issues, for example, when installing several updates.

    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”

    Friday, August 17, 2012 7:17 AM
  • I have tried the same registry hack.  I changed the public and default profile directories to the D: drive, which is a 1TB HDD, but I left the default profile in C:\Users (I had some very awful problems when I tried to move the default profile path previously).  I got Windows to respect the new path and create profile directories for new users in the new path, but I have run into a number of stability issues with the system.  The strange this is that this didn't seems to be a problem in W8RP; I was able to hack the registry, and it was fine.  In RTM, I can't, for example, run Skype or debug an application in Visual Studio.  I have not yet been able to find the root cause, but this could be a big problem.
    Tuesday, August 21, 2012 1:15 PM
  • As in Windows 7, change the paths in Windows 8 is not recommended. May cause further issues, for example, when installing several updates.

    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”

    ^this.

    What you are supposed to do is to use libraries instead.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012 5:15 PM
    1. Libraries don't cover everything in the user profile directory, particularly the Downloads and AppData directories.  These files can be huge, and if you are using a SSD, you have to redirect the Downloads directory in order to save room on your system disk.
    2. In order to put the public libraries on a mass storage disk without hacking the registry, you need to either junction the default Public directory or change the default user profile so that the default profile's libraries point to the mass storage volume.
    3. You have to re-junction the "My Documents" folder in the user profile directory to the new mass storage location for apps that have not been updated to support libraries.
    4. Even once you do all of this, you have to update the permissions on the mass storage directories manually so that users can't see each others' data.

    In short, it is an incredibly manual process to isolate user data from the system partition when you can't set the default profile path.  Not that hacking the registry is so great itself, but it is a much shorter process than all of the above, and I'm not even sure the above steps will permit clean upgrades and easier back-up as opposed to changing the default profile path setting.


    • Edited by InLocoAbsentia Tuesday, August 21, 2012 6:19 PM AppData gets pretty big, too.
    Tuesday, August 21, 2012 6:10 PM
  • Fair point but unless you are installing Windows on a 32/64GB SSD you have more than enough space to store all the datas & apps on C: and put your personal files such as pictures & video on another disk.
    Tuesday, August 21, 2012 7:09 PM
  • is therw not a limit of read write cylce on ssd so that to prolong its life, won't be worthwhile to keep user data that changes frequently away from ssd?

    Saturday, July 27, 2013 9:30 PM