Windows 7 is a great operating system so far, and it’s new User Folders have some nice features to help you organize your data. But one little problem I’ve had is that it has hard locked the user folder (previously known as Documents & Settings) location to the system drive, which if your like me you like to keep your data off the system drive so you can quickly reload your OS whenever you want and not worry about loosing your data. Microsoft officially allows you to specify the path using a big mess of tools to create installation images, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Below is what I did to change the location of the User folder and all of it’s contents. It has a few side effects.

1. You may not be able to upgrade to another version of Windows. Which if your like me you always want to do a fresh install anyway.
2. Microsoft does not support moved system folders (even using the above mentioned method using their own tools), so don’t call them with related issues. It’s seems to be working great here though. This is recommended to be done right after a fresh installation. As you will have to delete your first administrator account (install account). Proceed at your own risk.

1. Install Windows as normal.
2. Once windows is installed, locate the registry key

Code:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

3. Revise the ProfilesDirectory value to the path you desire. I have chosen D:\Users.
4. Now all NEW user accounts will be created at this location.
5. Reboot your system for the changes to take effect. DO NOT try to just end task on Explorer and start a new shell in any of these reboots.
6. Once rebooted, create a new Administrator account, I’ll call mine CptKemo. This will be a temporary account so you can call it what ever.
7. Log Off and log into your temporary account (CptKemo). Delete your original administrator account created from the install (Mine was called Josh)and reboot.
8. Log back into your temporary account (CptKemo), and create a new Final, administrator account, I’ll call this one Josh once again. Log off and log into your new account (Josh). Delete your temporary account (CptKemo).
9. You should now see your account folder at your specified location ready to transfer all your files to. Make a image of your harddrive once you have your apps installed and you will be all set for quick OS reloads.

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