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Thread: Redirect folders from boot SSD

  1. #1

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    Redirect folders from boot SSD

    It is hard to avoid having Windows installed to an SSD these days, and some might ask why you might want to.

    But ignoring that, there is little question that conventional hard drives and even slower SSDs can be a lot cheaper storage per byte. I don't think many will argue that cramming them less full and making fewer accesses can prolong the life of SSDs.

    So it can make good sense to relocate a lot of the users' files off to a secondary drive. Windows tends to "point" a lot of things to the user profile like documents, music, and video to even downloads and more.


    There doesn't seem to be a graceful way to wave a magic wand. The process seems to require a little planning, some preparation (creating folders on the drive to be relocated to), and some care. Post-Win7 we have a few more things to deal with than described here:

    How To Redirect Windows User Profile Data to a Different Location

    For example in Win 10 & 11 we have Settings|System|Storage then "Change where new content is saved" which seems to be a separate beast but maybe should be the first step you take. See the video below to see how this step creates a folder structure for the user account you do it for.


    So are people doing this? Or do you just try to ignore it all and "Trust The Force" hoping things never blow up in your face? Maybe you buy a new PC and add everything from dirt every couple of years anyway so you don't care?

    If you tried this did you get yourself in trouble? I see lots of cries for help after the fact posted to various forums when I search for information. It sounds like you can easily make a mess.

  2. #2

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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    One tutorial video for Windows 10 but aimed at gamers. You can probably ignore most of it from where he starts making gaming folders.


  3. #3
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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    Clonezilla and then movies and such on a HDD.
    Yes I have do it recently on my W7 PC. The process is relatively simple and you end up with x5 times the speed.

    If you buy a new PC, as painful as it might seem. It's better to start from scratch.
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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    I'm talking about a new PC, or one completely freshly installed, a blank slate.

    The idea is to move user profile folders off the boot SSD to save space on it and prolong its life. You'd want to "move" them "officially" i.e. have the Known Folder ID/CSIDL values point to the new locations on the secondary drive.

    But I am getting the idea very quickly that most users (even those who imagine themselves "programmers") just break the rules willy-nilly and let the chips fall where they may.

  5. #5
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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    OK that falls into a more technical category that I can't say I have a lot of experience with it.
    Prolonging SSD life it's not really an issue now (it was in the past of course) an I wonder how much people store on their profiles. But you would have to hack registry redirect folders, as you've said and that gives me goosebumps. I had to restore broken user profiles and it was a nightmare.
    I think this is as far as my knowledge gets on this matter.
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    Software Carpenter dee-u's Avatar
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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    For the common folders of a profile like Documents, Download, Music, etc, is it not easy just by right clicking them and changing the Location? I only do this when Drive C lacks some space.
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  7. #7

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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    Some of the special folders in a user profile can only have their location changed to an existing folder, so you have to create the folder first.

    Note that each user has his own set of these folders, so the folder structure needs to reflect that. "Change where new content is saved" accepts a drive (letter) and then creates a relocated profile folder for the user who ran it. You can create the additional folders within that (er, those, since there is one for each user).

    Then there is the issue of having the special folder mappings changed. The "location change" takes care of much of that.


    You do have at least two user accounts right? One in the Administrators group for doing development and system maintenance and one normal one for everyday use. Oh, and the third one: the built in special Administrator account you have to enable.

  8. #8
    Administrator Steve R Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    Don't forget the part about wanting to use the SSD because it's so darn fast

    Decades ago, we used to carve out a gig of ram and create a "RamDrive." We'd direct out Temp Internet Files to it for faster surfing.
    Wi-fi went down for five minutes, so I had to talk to my family....They seem like nice people.

  9. #9

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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    Well this process still leaves a lot of files including the system files on the boot SSD.

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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    Here's another measure you can take to reduce clutter and wear on a boot SSD:

    How to Move Windows’ Temporary Folders to Another Drive

  11. #11
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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    Can I ask if this a theoretical discussion or practical?
    Meaning, are you actually going to implement this in a real situation?
    If so then I think you will start using the articles and suggestions until you get stuck. In that case you can report back and someone may be able to help (and you wiiilll get stuuuckkk).
    If it's a theoretical discussion, my head acked just by reading the solutions.

    In a real life scenario you ask the user to back up the files of put it in a network drive (we have a,what it's calleedd, mmmm, can't recall. The big drive closet with 50 disks storage inside) that you take the main daily backup (also may need to expand the available user disk space) and you take the chainsaw...Use it on the old PC...Install the new with the basic tools (office,mail exchange profiles,any accounting or other using software etc)and tell him to copy the files back.
    I would agree that for a piece of mind U can do an automated procedure as will discuss but the odds are it might work for one user, fail for another, bring other issues for another etc.

    Ah btw restricting space is a VERY important aspect. We had situations before that people would store gigs and gigs of music and movies in the network drive.
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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    I had assumed that people have been using SSD boot drives for a long time now. Then I assumed at least a few of them have taken steps to avoid burning them out or filling them up by redirecting folders.

    But clearly the latter assumption isn't true.

    I guess they just trundle along like any Joe End User until it all dies, then they buy a new PC.

    That explains a lot, including many of the bizarro world questions we get about skinning and implementing very strange user interface behaviors.

  13. #13
    King of sapila
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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    With newer drives it is more likely for any other part or component to fail before the drive fails (talking about domestic usage not servers).
    So this is not really an issue on burning the SSD drives. I understand the need for people to keep sensitive data to an HDD (most probably if it won't fail the first 6 months it will not fail at all. Have a HDD from 15 years back still working fine) and I should also add the need to keep at least 2 copies of sensitive data but other than that I can't agree with SSD going bad soon. Of course if an SSD goes bad it will probably not "warn" you, it will just CALPAWWW! The wild mystery of semiconductor. Also SSD is memory. They should have called it MSF (memory state fake) . Yes I hate SSD's also, got a problem with that?!
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  14. #14

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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    Quote Originally Posted by sapator View Post
    With newer drives it is more likely for any other part or component to fail before the drive fails (talking about domestic usage not servers).
    That's a myth. SSD reliability has only increased marginally in the last decade. Commonly sold consumer grade SSDs are even more fragile than those intended for use in server hardware.

    As I suspected, people are ignoring this and just keep on buying newer and larger SSDs over time. Gullible consumerism seems to be working.

  15. #15
    Administrator Steve R Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    Have you GOOGLED this and seen that 5 to 10 years is the number Everyone is saying? (for common/average users)

    Maybe we should talk about Meds that help with paranoia

  16. #16

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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    Now that's a hoot!

    Like a small child pulling her blanket up over her face yelling "Ghosts aren't real!" in defense of a position she doesn't actually believe in.

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    Re: Redirect folders from boot SSD

    You can do this programmatically too; see IKnownFolderManager::Redirect, IKnownFolder::SetPath, and SHSetKnownFolderPath (this one can set it for other other users if you create a token for them).

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