Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Windows Profile Location

This is another one of my favorite techniques when setting up a new system.  What I generally like to do is take the existing hard drive and re-partition it into 2 drives.  I do this using the excellent freeware GParted  I generally do an even split, but it doesn't have to be, just giving the second partition as much space as possible to store user data.  I then name the second partition something like Storage.  For sake of instructions, lets just say it is assigned the drive letter D

One that is done, before logging in as the systems user, I edit the registry as follows:
(This is for Win 7 system, but an XP system is very similar)

  • On the D:\ create a new folder Users
  • Using regedit, navigate to:
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
  • Edit Profiles Directory from %SystemDrive%\Users to D:\Users
  • Log Out of the system
  • Login as a new user
This allows the new user to have their information stored on the 2nd partition so that when you want to reinstall everything you can without worrying about losing all your data.

From that same registry key, you can also edit the profile locations of the existing users of the system such that if you already logged in as a user, you can easily change it from the default location.  You will just have to look at the subkeys of ProfileList that display GUIDs instead of names and find the one with the appropriate path.