(Originally published on the Seven Forums)
There are several methods to move user profiles to another disk or partition after you have installed Windows 7. The easiest way is to use Audit Mode and System Preparation Tool, both built-in Windows 7 features, to permanently move the location of the folder Users.
When Windows 7 is installed, 5 or 6 system folders are created depending on chosen bit-version:
- PerfLogs (Performance Logs), where Windows stores performance and reliability logs
- Program Files, where applications and software are installed. Windows x86 (32-bit) stores all applications here, Windows x64 (64-bit) only native 64-bit applications
- Program Files (x86), only in Windows x64. All non-x64 applications are stored here
- Windows, which contains core operating system files and drivers
- ProgramData, where some applications store application and user specific settings and configuration files
- Users. This is the “home” of all user folders. When a new user account is created and this new user logs in first time, Windows creates a set of user specific folders (Users\New_User\)
Microsoft does not recommend moving Program Files and Windows folders. For your system stability, leave them to their default location. However, moving both Users and ProgramData folders is not only practical, it can save a lot of space on system disk. Pictures, mp3’s videos, documents and so on, a user folder with its subfolders can be tens, sometimes hundreds of gigabytes.
For instance, using this laptop of mine as an example, the total size of Users folder with its subfolders is at the moment about 240 GB. The size of ProgramData folder is at the moment almost 18 GB. I simply could not have these folders stored in my system C: drive, there’s not enough space.
When installing Windows 7, I always use Audit Mode to relocate Users and ProgramData, leaving C: drive only for Windows and applications.
Download the full tutorial (PDF, 1.22 MB)
(SkyDrive has had some serious connection problems lately. If the above download link does not work, you can read and download the tutorial here.)
This tutorial shows how to use Audit Mode during a fresh, clean install. If you have already installed Windows 7, you must first boot to Audit Mode. This can be done by running Command Prompt as an administrator (right click Command Prompt, select run as administrator), type this to Command Prompt and hit Enter:
%windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /audit /reboot
This causes Windows to boot in Audit Mode. You can then continue from beginning of page 4 of the tutorial.