Moving the users folder on Windows to another drive or partition
I’ve seen this on several site, and I also have this written down on pieces of paper all over my office, both at home and at work, so I figure it’s about time I get it somewhere more digital where I always know where I have it, as well as share this knowledge with other people who come by.
For this example I assume that Windows is installed on the C-drive, and you want to move the users folder to the D-drive.
To make sure you’re not touching files that are in use, boot from the Windows installation disc (or USB) and start a command prompt. The instructions here are for Windows 7, but they’re not very different from Windows 8.x:
First you need to copy all the files in the existing users folder to the new folder. You can do this using the following command:
robocopy /copyall /mir /xj C:\Users D:\Users
Double check that your files have actually been copied before progressing!
Then you delete the original users folder:
rmdir /S /Q C:\Users
Finally you create a symbolic link with the same name as the old users folder and point it to the new users folder:
mklink /J C:\Users D:\Users
Windows will now see the same folder as before, but there is an “invisible” redirect on the folder so that everything that is saved in C:\Users is in actuality saved on D:\Users.
Windows 10 isn’t too happy about the Users folder being a symbolic link. Certain Windows Updates will refuse to install. After figuring out it was the symbolic link causing the Windows Updates to fail I have removed the symbolic link and have moved the subfolders (Pictures / Videos / Music / etc.) the old fashioned way.
One thing I had to make sure was that I could delete the symbolic link without deleting the contents of the folder it was pointing to. I booted to a command prompt and just typed the following:
This will delete the symbolic link without touching the folder it points to.
I then used the robocopy command in reverse to move the Users folder back to the C-drive.
After having done this I could finally get all the Windows Updates to install correctly.