Jesus 'n Jim
A PC and somewhat Mac oriented site with Software and Repair Info and How-To's on Using Computers

My Documents to a different disk/folder

 

This appears to be the recommended method, but moving the subdirs under My Documents doesn't really work. windows doesn't like it for some reason, even though they are registry entries and .INI files. not moving them doesn't really work either, because it breaks the move process.

Advice: So if you have huge amounts of MP3 files or pictures or video, store them on a separate large drive. Learn how. My Documents is not always the best place for stuff.

The plan is to move all of the system folders under My Documents out from undfer My Documents first, and then we can move My Documents. The move will probably not work exactly as planned. I have tried it and some files refuse to move. I think they are hidden or system files or something. But here are the instructions nonetheless.

1. Move My Music (currently under My Documents)

  1. Windows-logo-key E to bring up Windows Explorer, or do Start|All Programs|Accessories|Windows Explorer
  2. make sure the Folders button is depressed on the toolbar up top on the Windows Explorer.
  3. Tools|Options|View. turn on Display full path in the address bar, Show hidden files and folders. turn off Hide protected operating system files (recommended). click OK.
  4. do 1-3 a second time. (you may not need to do #3 a second time)
  5. point one at C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\My Documents\My Music\ (we'll call this A) .OR on A, browse to My Documents on the left side. and click the + to expand My Documents, and then click on My Music inside My Documents on the left side pane.
  6. point the other at C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\ (we'll call this B) by starting with My Computer|C:|Documents and Settings|.... you will know <username> from A's address bar. if the address bar doesn't show, View|Toolbar|Address bar. make sure it shows on A and B. click on the folder <username>.
  7. resize and move A and B so they are side-by-side, so you can drag files between them easily.
  8. on B, right-click on a blank area and pick New|Folder and New Folder should be highlighted, waiting for a name. type My Music and hit enter. The folder should now have the new name. If you make a mistake and do some other typing first, hit the F2 key to edit the name and then type My Music and hit enter.
  9. double-click on the folder icon of the My Music you just created. this will make the right side pane of B that folder, which is where we want to move the files.
  10. move the files from A to B by clicking on 1 file in the right side pane of A, doing control-A or Edit|Select All, and then dragging them across. it will be very helpful at this point to have Unlocker to help you unlock files. you will have to be persistent, and you may be to repeat this step multiple times.
  11. do Start|Run regedit and hit enter.
  12. browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders
  13. double-click on My Music.
  14. remove \My Documents out of the text. It should read something like C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\My Music for example, C:\Documents and Settings\Jim\My Musicand then hit enter.
  15. minimize regedit (don't close it).

2. Move My Pictures (currently under My Documents)

  1. we already have the Windows Explorers from section 1 #1-3,8-9.
  2. on A, click on My Pictures.
  3. on B, click on <username>
  4. on B, right-click on a blank area and pick New|Folder and New Folder should be highlighted, waiting for a name. type My Pictures and hit enter. The folder should now have the new name. If you make a mistake and do some other typing first, hit the F2 key to edit the name and then type My Pictures and hit enter.
  5. double-click on the folder icon of the My Pictures you just created. this will make the right side pane of B that folder, which is where we want to move the files.
  6. move the files from A to B by clicking on 1 file in the right side pane of A, doing control-A or Edit|Select All, and then dragging them across. it will be very helpful at this point to have Unlocker to help you unlock files. you will have to be persistent, and you may be to repeat this step multiple times.
  7. restore regedit by clicking on the taskbar (it's on the bottom of the screen) item with the title regedit to the regedit window comes back up.
  8. double-click on My Pictures.
  9. remove \My Documents out of the text. It should read something like C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\My Pictures for example, C:\Documents and Settings\Jim\My Pictures and then hit enter.
  10. minimize regedit (don't close it).

3. Move My Videos (currently under My Documents)

  1. we already have the Windows Explorers from section 1 #1-3,8-9.
  2. on A, click on My Videos.
  3. on B, click on <username>
  4. on B, right-click on a blank area and pick New|Folder and New Folder should be highlighted, waiting for a name. type My Videos and hit enter. The folder should now have the new name. If you make a mistake and do some other typing first, hit the F2 key to edit the name and then type My Videos and hit enter.
  5. double-click on the folder icon of the My Videos you just created. this will make the right side pane of B that folder, which is where we want to move the files.
  6. move the files from A to B by clicking on 1 file in the right side pane of A, doing control-A or Edit|Select All, and then dragging them across. it will be very helpful at this point to have Unlocker to help you unlock files. you will have to be persistent, and you may be to repeat this step multiple times.
  7. restore regedit by clicking on the taskbar (it's on the bottom of the screen) item with the title regedit to the regedit window comes back up.
  8. double-click on My Videos.
  9. remove \My Documents out of the text. It should read something like C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\My Videos for example, C:\Documents and Settings\Jim\My Videos and then hit enter.
  10. minimize regedit (don't close it).

3. Move My Data Sources (currently under My Documents)

  1. this folder does not lend itself well to moving: there is no registry entry for it that I have found.
  2. close regedit.

4. Move My Documents

  1. with B, create a new folder in the location and name you wanted for My Documents (differnet drive?).
  2. with A, right click on My Documents, select Properties.
  3. Under Target Folder Location, click on Move.
  4. Select the new folder you created and then click on OK twice.

This will immediately change where My Documents is located. It will ask you if you want to move all of your documents over. If you say No, it will leave your old documents behind. If you wish, this can be a sort of backup, albeit it will be old revisions as of the move date! The old folder will be removed if it is empty when the process is all through (but will not be removed if there are files left over).

It is quite easy for the move process (section 4) to be broken in the middle by a stubborn file - the new folder location will stick anyway.

The original location in 2000/XP: C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\My Documents\
The original Location in Vista: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\

Same applies to My pictures, My video I think...

The best move method would be to bring up a CMD shell and xcopy /e /c /g /r /k "C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\My documents\*.*" "F:\docs\" or wherever you are copying to.

last step is to reboot.

relevant registry keys:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\DocFolderPaths
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders