Many of us store a lot of stuff in our profiles....wouldn't be great if you didn't have to rebuild from scratch when you reformatted?
This guide will show you how to take a windows profile and move it off of the c:\\users area.
Your profile settings are set via a registry key and unique user id. For compatibility reasons, this is best done after a fresh format so that installed programs arn't looking in your C:\\ directory for it's paths....
This trick will work in ANY windows installation since Windows NT and has been proven to work by myself in XP, XPx64, Vista, Vista 64, Win 7 , Win 7 x64
Now step one is easy. The first time you install windows, load up into your installation and open regedit.
Navigate to this directory
HKLM / Software / Microsoft / Windows NT / CurrentVersion / ProfileList
You'll see several things in this directory but what should stand out is something that is longer then the rest.
Mine has the following folders
S-1-5-21-(A lot of numbers)
The final one is the one your looking for. If you have more than 1 user account you'll see several. Keep note of this folder.
Now you need to create a new user that has admin abilities to the system. Name it whatever you want, password if you want but we'll delete it once we're done
Now logoff and logon using the new admin you created.
Once your profile is created and your in windows navigate to the same directory up above and look for that long string of numbers. click on that folder and you'll be presented with several keys.
What your looking for here is ProfileImagePath
This should be set to C:\\Users\\UserName (vista and windows7)
Now you need to decide where you want your user profile stored. For mine, I stored it in the D:\\Users directory.
Go ahead and create the directory where you want it and change the key to reflect it.
My new key is
Now time for the finishing details. Open up the location of your OLD user directory. Namely the C:\\Users for vista/win 7 and make sure you can see hidden files/folders. This is done by hitting Alt, clicking on tools then folder options. Click on the view tab and click the radial button next to Show hidden files, folders and drives.
Now you should see a hidden directory in the C:\\users named Default.
Select both the user directory you modified and the default directory (Black Magix and Default for me) and press ctrl+c now you need to paste these directories into wherever you created your custom profiles. For me, these will go to the D:\\Users directory.
Once all files have been copied you can log off the admin account and restart the computer.
Once your back at the log on screen simply login to your user account and everything should be good. Delete the new admin account and feel free to remove the duplicate user directory in C:\\Users.
Why do this?
If you ever decide to reformat, all your user setting will be saved on a different drive meaning all you have to do is do the same trick above and you'll instantly have all your settings / application data / emails / etc.. back and in your control. If you reformat, you'll only lose your windows and anything installed on C:\