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How to Move Windows 7 Personal Folders Like My Documents to Another Drive | Gizmo’s Freeware Archive

Is your C:\ drive getting crowded? Would you like to move some things to another drive or partition to free up space? Maybe it’s one of the personal system folders like My DocumentsMy PicturesMy Videos or the Download folder that is taking up a lot of space. If you have another partition or hard drive, consider moving some system folders to a second volume. In fact, as Gizmo has detailed in his XP article at this link, moving folders like My Documents off the C:\ drive is a good idea for several reasons.

[Doakio Editor's Note: This article was restored from Gizmo's Freeware archives as a service to the freeware community. Gizmo's Freeware provided high-quality, volunteer freeware reviews for decades. They shut down in July of 2021.]

Because the locations of system folders are listed in the Windows Registry and sometimes hard-wired in programs, personal system folders cannot be moved by conventional methods nor can you use a standard shortcut file. Instead they are redirected using symbolic links. (See this article for an easy-to-understand explanation of how symbolic links work.) For redirecting personal system folders, Windows 7  has a built-in procedure. Here is how it works:

  1. Open the Start menu and click your user name to open the User folder
  2. Right-click the personal folder you want to redirect to another location.
  3. Select “Properties”
  4. Click the tab “Location”
  5. The dialog box shown below will open
  6. Click the button “Move”
  7. An Explorer dialog “Select a destination” will open
  8. Browse to the location where you want to redirect this folder. You can select another location on this computer, another drive attached to this computer, or another computer on the network
  9. Click the folder where you want to store the files (not the root of a drive)
  10. Click the button “Select Folder”
  11. Click “OK”
  12. In the dialog that appears, click “Yes” to move all the files to the new location.

Location tab in Properties Sheet of personal folder

List of personal system folders where this is applicable

Not all system folders can be redirected this way. On my system these system folders located under Users\{User name}\ had a tab “Location” in their properties sheet and could be redirected:

  • Contacts
  • Desktop
  • (My) Documents
  • Downloads
  • Favorites
  • Links
  • (My) Music
  • (My) Pictures
  • Saved Games
  • Searches
  • (My) Videos

If you wish to put folders back in their original location, use the button “Restore Default” shown in the graphic.

Warning: Moving subfolders by the method described here is fine but moving or redirecting the main Users folder itself can cause trouble with upgrades.

And there you have it. Now your C:\ drive can have some breathing room.

Microsoft reference Redirect a folder to a new location

Additional information An article with a more general method for moving folders using symbolic links is at this link.

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