changing 'Documents & Settings' to default to D drive instead of C

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by spider_darth, Mar 16, 2007.

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  1. spider_darth

    spider_darth Registered Member

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    I've read a few of the comments in this forum. And.. many or rather almost all recommends having C drive as system (program + os) and D drive for data.

    But.. may I know how to move the my docs folder to default to D Drive instead of the usual C Drive? I know that by right clicking on my docs and lick in properties, you can change the target folder. However, here, I'm only moving the my docs folder.. is there anyway to move the whole 'Documents and Settings' of all users to default to D Drive? so.. favorites and everything will also be moved too.
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    spider_darth,

    No, not the whole folder. This will help you.

    http://www.windowsbbs.com/showthread.php?t=49222
     
  3. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Spider_darth,
    In theory the freeware "nLite" allows you to move the entire folder "Documents and Settings" to another partition by creating a customized "Windows Installation CD".

    I've done some pre-tests and they were very promising.

    After re-installing my computer with such a CD :
    - the entire folder "Documents and Settings" was gone on my system partition [C:] and was moved to my data partition [D:]
    - the registry was adjusted automatically for all registries, containing the folder "Documents and Settings.
    - I installed "MS Office 2000" and all DEFAULT folders for saving documents were adjusted automatically.

    Unfortunately, I had no time to install other softwares, because I needed my old setup back.
    So it's worth to try it this way, you only need the courage to do it.
    You can always re-install your computer with the original CD and separate system and data in another way.

    You only have to change ONE setting in nLite to do this and you only have to do it ONE time, because it is stored on your new customized "Windows Installation CD" and there is no difference with the original CD.
    http://www.nliteos.com/
    "nLite v1.3 Final" does alot more than that, but you can use it only for that purpose.

    Personally, I'm preparing this on paper, because nLite has pages of settings for patching Windows, removing components, tweaking, ...
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2007
  4. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    i might use nlite just for moving the whole documents and settings folder and dont know why microsoft doesnt let you
    lodore
     
  5. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    M$ didn't design Windows to make the separation of system and data easy, that's for sure.
    Also other software companies design softwares, that make a separation difficult or even impossible.
    The recent softwares are in general better, they provide default folders, that can be changed, including the partition letter.

    Our computer department considers this as a basic rule and always separates personal data (documents, databases, ...) from software files, when they develop a new application for PC.
    You just don't mix software files and personal files, that is always a big mistake.
    Even software objects, that contain user-input need to be separated from software files.
    This is just a matter of design, but not every software company follows this rule.
     
  6. kennyboy

    kennyboy Registered Member

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    Erik, as you probably know, I am experimenting with nLite to do this at the moment. Yes it does work, but Windows (or nLite) seems to have a problem with Drive Letters. My Data is E (which is where I want the folder) but nLite changes the Data drive letter to D and gives E drive letter to a different partition and puts the Documents/Settings folder there which is not where I want it. It becomes a bit of a guessing game in the end, but I dont know why it does this. Very interesting excercise though.
     
  7. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I have two harddisks C (system) and D (data) and it worked.
    But don't give up, because it might be your misunderstanding.
    Did Windows the partitioning ? It's not the first time that Windows changes the partition letter, when partition letters aren't in alphabetical order (I mean missing letters can cause this), especially during the installation of Windows.

    What is most interesting for me to know, is how each software reacts on this separation.
    Softwares like Firefox and Thunderbird are very interesting. I expect that the profiles are moved automatically to the data partition, but I don't know for sure.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2007
  8. kennyboy

    kennyboy Registered Member

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    Always run my comp with 3 partitions. System, Data, and Work Partition (basically for playing about)

    I am still trying to get the Docs/Settings folder in the RIGHT partition, but I will get it in the end. Just a pain having to keep making a new ISO and re-burn it just to see where nLite puts it.
    I am also very interested to see how the different software reacts. Originally doing it to save anchoring my Opera Profile in FDR, but it is becoming more than that now. Will keep you posted.
    Its just finding time that is the problem.
     
  9. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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  10. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    nLite is the most easy way and it remembers everything on your new CD.
    I don't like all these tricks, workarounds and changing registries, nLite does it all in a natural way, at least that's what I assume.

    Just finding time ? I ALWAYS have that problem. I have so many things to do and no time. I'm glad you are at least trying this. So good luck with it.
    One day, I will do it myself, because this is too important to me.

    Keep in mind, you only have to change ONE setting in nLite : changing C into E on the screen where you can change the folder "C:\Documents and Settings" into "E:\Documents and Settings" and that requires only ONE burning. All the rest is upto Windows.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2007
  11. DVD+R

    DVD+R Registered Member

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    Yes there is just follow these instructions: :)

    Right click on the My Documents folder on the desktop,and click properties

    in the Window that opens the Address Bar should read C:\My Documents and Settings

    Change only the C:\ to D:\ and click Apply, a popup will ask you if you want to change location from C:\ to D:\ Click Yes

    Another Popup might say the Folder does not exist do you want to create it, Click Yes

    Bingo! You're Done :cool:
     
  12. FirePost

    FirePost Registered Member

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    Hello spider_darth,
    One of the Microsoft Powertoys is TweakUi. I suggest a look at that. It allows one to change the default directories easily.

    Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP
     
  13. St.Timmy

    St.Timmy Registered Member

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  14. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    St.Timmy, Firepost, DVD+R

    These solutions only move the my documents folder, not the entire "documents and settings" folder as requested by the original poster.
     
  15. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    That's right. FolderMover developped by HDS (RollbackRx) is also such a tool, but it doesn't move the entire folder "Documents and Settings" either.
     
  16. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,
    I see no reason to do this.
    If OS is installed on C - then Docs and Settings should be with it.
    If programs are installed on C - same.
    No reason to separate programs from OS since programs rely on registry.
    Significantly complicates backup / imaging procedures.
    One should avoid default folders for saving their data anyhow.
    Mrk
     
  17. charincol

    charincol Registered Member

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    I agree. Anything that writes to the registry or Documents and Settings folders during install stays on C to keep it all "packaged" together when I do image backups.

    I have My Documents folder on a separate partition along with my Firefox profile and most other standalone apps. This allows me to boot into my gaming XP install on partition D (I dual boot between two XP OS's, one for regular tasks, and one that has just enough Windows left intact after nLite to play games) and only have a shortcut to Firefox on C. Any Bookmark additions or other changes in Firefox stay even if I restore both C and D partitions because those changes happen in my profile which is on partition F. My 4 drives are split into 9 partitions total.
     
  18. kennyboy

    kennyboy Registered Member

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    Short of finding a similar option in Opera that you have in Firefox to move the profile, there is a very good reason for doing this when using FDR. It saves having to anchor certain files when changing snapshots.
     
  19. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Mrkvonic and Charincol,
    That doesn't scare me. I need a better explanation, than just "Don't do it." and most people disapprove things, they never did themselves or are afraid of changes. That's a classical one. I see this all the time in my line of work.

    This is an experiment and if it doesn't work, you only have to restore an old image and you are back in business as nothing happened. That is one of the reasons why you need an Image Backup software.
    It's no worse than streamlining and tweaking Windows to the very bone. :)
     
  20. charincol

    charincol Registered Member

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    It doesn't have anything to do with "you just shouldn't do it". I've broken the hell out of Windows XP in more ways than you can imagine. I just don't fix it anymore. That's what images are for. I'll reimage over something very small that screws up like folders not staying where I want them because something messed up a registry setting. And the Windows registry can be very tempermental. I have no problem deleting hundreds of registry entries at a time as long as I know what they're for. But, sometimes the registry just doesn't want to cooperate even when you know what you're doing.

    I just haven't found any benefit from moving the whole Documents and Settings folder and there is the possibility of corrupting user registry settings that are contained in it.

    For example, you install a program and it has a messy install that locks windows up due to registry corruption. So you go back to an image a week ago that you know was working fine. But the user registry settings aren't contained in it because your Documents and Settings folder is on another drive. What guarantee's you don't have corrupted user registry settings? Now if your Documents and Settings are on C, then you know for sure your user registry settings will work because they were working a week ago.

    There is a huge benefit from redirecting just the My Documents folder to somewhere else.
     
  21. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I'm still not convinced.
    nLite creates a new "WinXPproSP2 Installation CD", where you told Windows to put the folder "Documents and Settings" on partition "D".
    After the installation Windows knows that the folder "Documents and Settings" is on partition "D", just like it knows that this folder is on partition "C" when you install with the original CD.
    All registries containing this folder are also adjusted after the installation.
    So Windows will do its job as always, including user registry settings.
    That is my ASSUMPTION of course and that's why we have to test this in practice over a long period.
    An user that streamlines his Windows has also the ASSUMPTION that it will work without problems.

    A software with a messy install is always possible, even when you install Windows normally.
    All my troubles in 2006 were caused by such softwares and one time, I couldn't even get to Windows.
    But that's not a problem when you are a FirstDefense-ISR user.
    I reboot in my rollback snapshot, refresh my work snapshot and I'm back.
    This is a problem that has nothing to do with putting this folder in another partition. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2007
  22. Ice_Czar

    Ice_Czar Registered Member

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    while TweakUI is useful, its not exactly comprehensive
    certainly use it and or registry tweaks for the simple stuff,
    however if you want to mess with other shell objects or create new ones
    Shell Object Editor (freeware)
    forum

    you also need to determine what all your applications are doing with data as well, many will want to write to %systemroot% (C):\Program Files\their directory some of what gets written you probably want to allow and backup with your OS restore (small logs, operation parameters) but they also sometimes want to store data, generally you can point those to dedicated directories on your data partition\drive

    another useful trick in the event you can't redirect programs that want to write data to their install directory is to redirect it yourself by mounting an NTFS volume as a folder (the application subdirectory they are trying to write to)
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307889
    (more accurately mount a directory on a different partition\drive, as a folder in the %systemroot% partition\directory\subdirectory, or any other partition for that matter, kind of a DIY JBOD)

    speaking of logs, if your running a very tight OS + programs partition, you really do need to be on top of log creep, ideally having them overwrite at a certain size or making sure to manually review and delete them

    as far as complication goes, you do need to keep track of your drive mapping and shell object topology
    however, your imaged "restore" is already pointing to those locations. If you start adding drives though and the drive letter assignment dynamically change your in trouble, so you need to understand how that works
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drive_letter_assignment and take control of manual assignments
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307844

    you can "force" your data partitions far down the letter assignments (say drive\partitions K L M N) leaving plenty of room for "dynamic" assignments from flash drives, USB externals, virtual drives, extra "temporary" internals, intermittently mapped arrays ect. that might drop in and out and displace the shell object NTFS mounted folders letter pointers.

    however in the event it all goes nose down in the kitty litter (the original OS and the restore), you better have notes to where all that data is located, so you can do a fresh reinstall and point it to the data again (better safe than sorry, as unlikely as loosing both is)

    You will need to experiment and likely break some stuff before you settle on what works for you
    keep in mind while your doing this, the advantages to be gained by concurrent read\writes.
    Meaning both which channel (IDE is sequential for 2 devices on the same channel while each device on SATA is its own channel) as well as Zone Bit Recording when formulating a partitioning strategy for your particular physical configuration of drives and application use pattern.

    The objective is to try to determine where the "average" position of a given HDD's arm with be "most" of the time. Containing data within a partition limits the amount of arc the arm must move on a seek, getting you better access time. Some stuff is rarely if ever accessed, other stuff like P2P files concurrent downloads are constantly being written, but as a huge fragmented mess that you want to relocate as a contiguous file after they are done, ect.

    There are advantages to simplicity, but the lowest common denominator is never the optimum solution. Advanced storage strategies and performance tuning presupposes a certain amount of familiarity as well as how to get yourself out of a sticky wicket :p Pilot error being the primary cause of data loss.

    Good Luck ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2007
  23. spider_darth

    spider_darth Registered Member

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    actually.. is it really necessary to transfer the whole 'docs and settings' folder over to another partition? what's the advantage of doing so?

    i mean, if i were to move my data, music, photos, videos and favorites over to another partition, is it sufficient? what will i lose if i were to re-format the partition with 'docs and settings' folder when i've already transferred out all my data, music, photos, videos and favorites? in other words, what exactly is in 'docs and settings' which is valuable to me and that i must retain? will my programs cease to function when the remaining files in 'docs and settings' is lost?

    please advise.
     
  24. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Nowadays there is no real need to use seperate partitions from a reliability point of view. The main reason I still do it is for performance, but I my home/doc and settings folder to a seperate physical drive.
    It is easy to restore my OS if it dies. It made thinngs very simple when I changed to Linux.
    I think it stems back to pre Windows NT era for me, which Win 9x was flakey and so was the file system, seperating the data into a different partition improved reliability. There was also issues with dos (and early versions of Linux) - the boot partition had to be contained within the first 1024 cylinder.
     
  25. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    You don't have to do this, it's just a personal decision.
    After all most users have only one harddisk, one partition C with everything on it.

    My folder "Documents and Settings" is still on my system partition with all its subfolders, but I don't use it, it's empty.

    I created my own folders on a second harddisk and I store all my personal data there.
    Whatever happens to my system partition, it won't affect my data partition.
    So I can do what I want on my system partition without losing any data and that gives me a very reassuring feeling.
    I don't care about my system partition, but I do care about my data partition, that's my hard work.

    It also simplifies my backup/restore : system partition or data partition or both and I need only one backup software.
     
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