Returning the Users folder of Windows 10 the original location with Sysprep – Problems and Solutions

When SSDs have emerged, they were still too expensive, and only low capacity models were reasonably accessible. Therewith, only the installation of Windows and programs was enough to take the entire space of a 128GB SSD, or even 256GB, depending on the amount and size of installed programs.

One solution that I adopted at the time was to move the folder \Users Windows to another partition, on an HDD, soon during installation. This is something that Windows 10 natively supports, with a tool called sysprep, or System Preparation Tool, that comes with the system. However this is a somewhat hidden alternative. I always followed the tutorial do Kari to do this, and everything worked out.

But now SSDs are becoming more accessible, and an SSD of 512 GB or even 1 TB are already becoming reasonable options. With that I stopped using the \Users on a separate partition.

On my PC, I migrated a SSD from 256 GB for an SSD of 1 TB, passing all data from one to the other. kept the \Users on the HDD and decided that I would switch it to the SSD only when I had to reinstall the system.

Reinstalling the system was somewhat trivial in older Windows, eventually something broke irremediably and a clean installation of the system was inevitable. But over time it became less and less frequent, and today I still have the same installation that I did in 2016 or 2017.

So, I decided to migrate the \Users back to the other Windows folders 10, because it was becoming the bottleneck of my system.

This change was simple, and involves steps similar to the one that moved the \Users to another partition initially. The tutorial do Kari it covers that too, but I think it's important for me to note my observations here.

To do the process I created a new account with administrator privileges, call Dummy, just to do the process. I then created the file relocate.xml Next:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
<settings pass="oobeSystem">
<component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="" xmlns:xsi="">

Then, I logged into the Dummy account and ran the following commands:

net stop wmpnetworksvc
%windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /oobe /reboot /unattend:and:\relocate.xml

And that's just it, after that the process is all automatic, but here's a big alert: the whole process took more than 24 hours! It was a few hours while the sysprep did a “cleaning plugins” ou something, I do not remember exactly. After that Windows restarts and stays hours and hours on the loading screen of the operating system, just with the little dots that form a spinning and spinning circle, without any indication of the progress of the process. But the LED on the case was indicating HDD / SSD activity all the time, so I waited patiently.

Everything indicates that in that time he is copying the files from the HDD to the SSD, so the more files there are, more will take. My folder \Users has 417 GB, mirrored by 746.886 files and 86.872 pastas. It's too much, what should be the reason for the delay.

No final, Windows restarts again and then you need to create a new account (Dummy2) just to go through the process of finalizing the installation of Windows. Once the process is complete, we can log back in with our main account and delete the two accounts created in the process..

It's a lengthy process, but it's worth, because the vast majority of programs continue to function normally after the change. It is better 24 hours of the computer working alone than 24 hours or more to reinstall and configure everything again.

But, there are some exceptions to programs that stopped working correctly after the change, and needed intervention. This is usually because they are linking to the %appdata% through the real way, instead of using the shortcut.

In my case, the problematic programs were these:

  • Genie Timeline Pro: The program lost all settings and the registry, but it was enough to uninstall it and reinstall it again that it went back to work.
  • Duplicati: It is also looking for the backup database in the old location. In this case I chose to just copy them back there and leave it using the same HDD.
  • WinEdt: In this case, I just needed to replace the registration code and readjust some options.
  • MiKTeX: He got some shortcuts that were a bit silly, so I chose to delete your entire folder and install it again. MiKTeX stays in the folder %appdata%.
  • Anaconda: Similar to MiKTeX, Anaconda also installs everything in% appdata%, and gets broken links after the change. I also chose to reinstall it.
  • Syncback Pro: Missed the appointments made in the Windows Task Manager. They still stay there, but they don't work. Apaguei os agendamentos e os refiz.

É possível que outros programas também tenham quebrado com a mudança do \Users de lugar. Não abri todos os programas que uso para ter certeza, mas dentre os mais usados os afetados foram esses aí que listei. Se aparecer mais algum eu atualizo este artigo.

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