How to Move the Location of User’s Folders in Windows

Moving the location of the user’s folders in Windows is easier than you think.

Most folks keep their Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures and Videos in the user’s folders. Unfortunately, these folders are by default located on the C drive, the same drive that contains the Windows operating system.

Storing these things together on the same drive is not a great idea for several reasons. Here are just two:

First, your personal data is very likely to be growing in size while Windows is not. In this era of multi megapixel digital photos, you are in real danger of filling up your C drive. This progressively degrades Windows performance. Sooner or later you’ll fill up the disk and have to make more space by deleting some of your personal files or get into the complex exercise of increasing the size of your primary disk partition.

Second, it complicates backup. Your personal data is changing all the time while the Windows operating system changes much less frequently. That means your personal data needs to be backed up more frequently than Windows. With both on the same drive, you’ll end up making very large drive images and having to create them more frequently as well.

Nope, leaving your personal data on the C drive is like storing your washing powder with your vegetables. Quite possible, but not a great idea.

If you have two or more partitions on your hard disk drive, or an SSD drive and a hard disk drive in your computer, it’s quite easy to move your data folders to another drive or partition that has enough space. Follow these steps (based on Windows 10):

  1. Right click Documents under This PC in File Explorer, and select Properties;
  2. Click the Location tab, select Move, and navigate to another drive or partition;
  3. Right click an empty space on the right panel of File Explorer, select New and Folder, enter Documents as the folder name.
  4. Click Select Folder and OK.
  5. Windows will then ask you whether you want to move your files to the new location; click Yes.

Repeat the same steps for Downloads, Music, Pictures and Videos, but name the folders respectively as Downloads, Music and so on in step 3.

Moving your folders may take some time. Once moved, though, you can access them normally from the desktop, Quick access or elsewhere.

In the process you’ll free up a lot of room on your C drive, which can be utilized by Windows in the most effective manner.

The ideal time to relocate the Documents folder and other system folders is when you have just bought a new computer and have yet to load your data or applications. It is something to bear in mind when you get your next device.

Tips


  1. Downloads:
    After moving the Downloads folder to another drive or partition, some browsers like Chrome and Edge will still default to downloading files to the C drive. You may need to go to the browser’s Settings, and change the default Downloads location to the new location.
  2. OneDrive:
    Relocating the OneDrive location differs from the steps described in this article. See How to Move Your OneDrive Folder to a New Location on Windows.

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