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Industry IT Water-Cooler for Power-Users:
Windows 7: Data Where You Want It
Posted 12 years ago on 1/17/2010
Take Away:

As with XP and Vista, Windows 7 creates a handful of folders intended to hold your various documents, music, videos, etc.

By default, these folders are placed on the machine's C: drive.

Depending on your ideas of where such data belongs, you may want these folders located somewhere other than the C: drive; I certainly did.

This is about how to do that.

 A blog topic from Wes's Blog


Although recent versions of Windows create some important data folders, you might want them located someplace other than the default, which is the C: drive.

I do, and here's why:

The files on your hard drive can be classified into many different categories, but two categories are of high interest to me because of disaster recovery scenarios.

One group of file tyes can be recovered via a simple restore.  These are digital images, music files, video files, word processor documents, spreadsheets, databases, program source files, etc.

The other group can't be recovered via a simple file restore. Files in this group must either be reinstalled, or recovered from a "snapshot." These include the operating system itself, most installed programs, device drivers, etc.

I like to keep these two types physically seperate because the backup and restore methods are different.  I want the first type go onto my D: dive and the second group  on my C: drive.

So, before even installing Windows 7, I searched the Internet for ways to relocate the C:\Users folder to my D: drive.  I found quite a bit of information about how to do this during setup.  Unfortunately, all the relevant articles seem to have been written about one of the Windows 7 beta releases, and none of them worked with the official Windows 7 production release.

But there's good news. Once Windows 7 is fully installed, you can "move" many of these file folders to a location other than the default.  It's easy to do, too.

In Windows Explorer, pick a folder you'd like to move.  Right-click on the folder, select Properties, and see if the Properties dialog includes a "Location" tab.  If it does, you can move it.  If it doesn't have a "Location" tab, it's probably because Microsoft has good reasons to keep it on C:.  Move on to other folders.

Here's a screen-shot of a candidate folder's Properties dialog:

[screen-shot here]

Click on the Location tab, then click the "Move" button. A folder-selection dialog will appear.  In it, you can select your D: drive, create a new destination folder, then click OK.  When you close the Properties dialog, Windows 7 prompts you about moving everything, and you definitely want to say "Yes."

When you do that,  your candidate folder:

  • Contents are copied to the new location,
  • Appropriate registry entries are made such that programs that need those folders can find the new one, and
  • The original folder is removed from Drive C:

Windows 7 has a couple of features that make this task child's play.

If you've configured Windows Explorer to always show an address bar, the folder structure of your C: drive is easy to see.

When specifying a destination folder in the "save"dialog, the "New Folder" button makes it simple to create a similar folder structure as the original.

With this work done, I can configure my backup/restore software to work with D: exclusively, and use other software (like Acronis DriveImage) to create snapshots of C:

More Info

Blog:  Windows 7 Trials and Triumphs
Blog:  Windows 7, Delphi 7 and Political Correctness

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Blog Contributed By Wes Peterson:

Wes Peterson is a Senior Programmer Analyst with Prestwood IT Solutions where he develops custom Windows software and custom websites using .Net and Delphi. When Wes is not coding for clients, he participates in this online community. Prior to his 10-year love-affair with Delphi, he worked with several other tools and databases. Currently he specializes in VS.Net using C# and VB.Net. To Wes, the .NET revolution is as exciting as the birth of Delphi.

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