Want to tweak the location of your Windows user folders? Here’s how!
A fresh installation of Windows produces various different user folders that are meant to hold things like files downloaded from the internet and organize content like music and photographs. However, you might want to customize things to your own liking.
Whether you’re looking to move these folders to an external drive, or just place them in a different location on your PC, it’s not difficult to change things up. That being said, it’s worth taking stock of how you perform this procedure, as certain methods can have some seriously undesirable effects.
Why You Shouldn’t Move Your Entire User Folder
Before we get started, here’s a warning: don’t move your entire user folder!
While there is a way to do so, it requires users to implement a deployment tool known as Sysprep. Microsoft states with no room for misunderstanding that this process should only be carried out in a test environment. Do it on your primary PC, and you’re liable to lose data, if not access to your system.
Fortunately, there’s an alternative. It’s relatively easy to move user folders like Downloads and Documents without running the risks associated with transferring the entire user folder itself. This way, you can relocate files that might take up a lot of space on another drive, without the potential for disaster.
Method 1: Relocating User Folders
First, open up File Explorer and navigate to the user folder that you want to move. Right-click it and select Properties.
Head to the Location tab.
Click Move and choose the new location for your folder, then click OK to make the change take effect. Repeat this process for all of the individual folders that you want to move.
It’s important to realize that if you choose an existing folder, you’ll simply reassign that as the folder you’re making changes to. It’s better to create a new folder entirely if you want to start afresh.
This method makes the transition quick and easy. The location of your user folders will even be updated automatically in the Quick Access bar.
Method 2: Replacing User Folders
Moving user folders using this Microsoft-approved method shouldn’t cause any problems. However, if you’re really feeling cautious, you might want to consider replacing your user folders outright.
This technique doesn’t actually change the location of your existing user folders. Instead, you’ll simply use new ones. Since you’re not tinkering with the folders that Windows 10 expects to find in a certain place, there’s no way it might interfere with the operating system.
The first step is simply to head to the location you want to place your user folders in using File Explorer, then create a new folder, naming it whatever you like. What happens next will depend on what kind of folder you’re looking to create.
If it’s a new Downloads folder, you’ll need to open your web browser and select a new destination for content you retrieve from the internet.
In Microsoft Edge, click the Settings and more button, navigate to Advanced settings, and click View advanced settings.
In the Downloads section, you’ll find a field where you can specify the folder where you want files to end up.
Google Chrome is very similar. Click the Customize and control Google Chrome button, then click Settings.
The Downloads field is toward the bottom of the menu, in the Advanced section.
If it’s another type of folder, like Music or Pictures, you’ll want to specify the type of content that’s going to be in it.
A thorough guide to moving the Windows 10 user folder from C: to a different partition. Right-click it in File Explorer, then select Properties and open the Customize tab.
Depending on whether you’re storing documents, images, music files, or videos, making this tweak will ensure that the folder is properly optimized.
The final step is to add your new user folders to the Quick Access menu. This is as simple as dragging and dropping the icon, but don’t forget to delete the link that’s no longer useful.
Be Careful What You Change
Moving the Windows user folder may seem like a relatively innocuous change, but it can easily cause some major problems. Whenever you tinker with settings related to the foundations of your operating system, there’s a possibility that you might cause some real damage.
Microsoft makes tools like Sysprep for professionals to use in very specific situations. While expert users can employ them to great effect, there’s a thin line between getting the results that you want and breaking something important, especially if you’re just following someone else’s instructions.
Sometimes, it’s best to be a little cautious. This is especially true when it comes to the Windows install process or manipulating system files.
Do you have a tip on how to get the best results when moving your user folders? Or are you having trouble with the method explained in this article?