How to Move the My Documents Folder

Moving the "My Documents" folder to another drive or partition in Windows XP is easier than you think (Not applicable to Vista)
 

Most folks use the My Documents folder to keep all their personal data. Unfortunately, this folder is by default located on the C: drive, the same drive that contains the Windows operating system.

Storing these two 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 progessively 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 and problem- fraught 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. Similar comments apply to disk defragmentation. Mixing your personal data with Windows increases the need for defragging and results in a slower defrag.

Nope, leaving your My Documents folder on the C: drive is like storing your washing powder with your vegetables. Quite possible, but not a great idea.

Now, many folks have only a single partition of their hard drive; that is, their only hard drive is their C: drive. These folks can't move their My Documents folder. They could of course re-partition their drive but that's a complex issue I'm not going to address here.

If you do have two or more partitions on your hard drive, or if you have more than one hard drive, it's quite easy to move your My Documents folder to another drive or partition.

You will, however, need enough free space on the second drive/partition to accommodate all your documents. To find out, go to My Computer and click on View/Details and make a note of the free space available on each partition or drive. Make sure you don't get confused by your CD drive. You can't move your My Documents folder there!

While still in My Computer, right-click on My Documents and select Properties. After a few seconds you should see the folder size shown. If two figures are shown with one in brackets, note the larger figure. That's the amount of disk space you will need.

Now make a decision which drive you'd like to move the My Documents folder to. Make sure there is enough disk space. Let's say you selected the D: drive.

Click on the Start button and then right-click on My Documents and select Properties. If there's no My Documents in your start menu then right click on the My Documents icon on your desktop instead.

When you've clicked on properties, select "Move" and then navigate to your D: drive. Select the drive letter and then click "Make New Folder." Enter "My Documents" as the folder name and hit Enter and then OK. Windows will then ask you whether you want to move your documents; click Yes.

Moving your documents make take some time. Once moved, though, you can access them normally from the "My Documents" icon on the desktop or elsewhere.

In the process you'll free up a lot of room on your C: drive. Defrag the drive so it can be utilized by Windows in the most effective manner.

For more information you can consult this Microsoft document: http://support.microsoft.com/?id=310147

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

Gizmo

Share this
4.17143
Average: 4.2 (210 votes)
Your rating: None

Comments

by Shev (not verified) on 30. November 2012 - 16:39  (103127)

Followed your instructions and it worked great with no problems. As I researched how to do this I saw many very complexed way to do this,cut and paste,changing user name ect. Glad I found this site, adding it to my favorites. Thanks for taking the time to help others.

by gruff on 27. November 2012 - 14:07  (102974)

Another (and perhaps easier) solution I used was to install a second physical hard drive and rather than moving the My Documents (or any other My folder) to the second hard drive, just ignore it and set up various folders the way you want them on the second hard drive. This leaves your root drive (C:\) alone so the only thing you have on it is your Operating system. In XP there is a learning function that will eventually learn that you don't use your My ... folders and everything will open on your second drive.

by Hasdrubal on 15. November 2012 - 23:51  (102387)

Thank-you Gizmo, for that article. I run Win7-64 and am going through the steps right now (it's moving 20Gb or so - half an hour).
Also, I looked at the link you gave at the end of the article, which is a bit confusing for me since the page detected my OS and said the article doesn't deal with my version of Windows and referred me to the Win7 "Solutions" page, where I couldn't find a similar article, though that could be my bad Searching skills.
I ended up tiptoeing through the steps of that page you linked us to:
http://support.microsoft.com/?id=310147
Good article!

by virginia reynolds (not verified) on 14. September 2012 - 18:02  (99267)

when i click on documents it don't do anything and i can't find my documents,

by Bruce Laycraft (not verified) on 16. October 2011 - 17:51  (81536)

Slightly different problem. I keep all my files in "All Mine" (a folder I created on the Desktop). The reason? The My Documents folder will be inaccessible if you have to removed the hard drive and try and access the folder from another computer!

Recently (after a Windows XP update, I guess), my "All Mine" folder became a part of My Documents and I can't seem to separate it from that folder. I don't want anything in the My Documents folder because of possible future problems with the hard drive.

How do I make my All Mine files folder visible on the Desktop without having it automatically slotted into My Documents?

Bruce

by Mike M. (not verified) on 1. October 2011 - 3:10  (80669)

I moved My Documents to D drive, but windows keeps making a new one on C drive and saves things there instead of the folder on D drive. Am I missing something? Thanks.

by MyDocs Fix (not verified) on 9. March 2012 - 4:30  (90116)

Go to Microsoft Support for the title, How to Change the Default Location of the My Documents Folder. Easy and it worked for me.

by Corek (not verified) on 26. May 2011 - 10:11  (72702)

Thanks, Giri, for your help but editing registry keys is not for an amateur unless they wish to lock themselves out of the machine.

"After googling extensively I have found a simple way of doing this by editing registry key..."

by warpcore (not verified) on 27. April 2011 - 4:19  (70998)

Thanks for the info, it will help

by bAnonymous (not verified) on 5. April 2011 - 17:10  (69532)

I rate this article as a 1 not because it isn't well written, it is - really - in the upper percentages. No misspelled words, well laid (out). A not bad piece of writing. Just one thing. It is not about how to move the "My Documents Folder." If it had been entitled "Why Move the My Documents Folder" it would've been a 4 star article.

by FreedieMac (not verified) on 22. May 2011 - 18:11  (72501)

Actually he did tell you how to move the file. He just told you why as well.

by Bev (not verified) on 25. January 2011 - 4:27  (65150)

When you do this, would it help the computor go faster? I am rather a Dummy with computors but I see that my partner has thousands of pictures and goodness knows what on his C drive, so was just wondering if this causes a slow down of a computor. Thankyou.

by guest (not verified) on 25. December 2010 - 1:07  (63209)

Thanks that was very helpful!

by Alain Quarré (not verified) on 30. November 2010 - 9:35  (61814)

For move all user's folders befor creation
use script!

Read this:
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/117308-user-folders-moving-user-folders-modular-script.html#post1008268

[edit]
Links to non English language websites are not permitted as we are unable to validate the content.

by JeffD (not verified) on 22. September 2010 - 20:41  (58280)

I'm trying to push out this as a change to several users using the registry key, but it keeps reverting back to the default location. The registry entry is:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders]
"Personal"="J:\\"

Anyone know of a better way to do this? Is this a know issue?
Thanks.

by JoshB (not verified) on 28. December 2011 - 0:51  (86100)

I know this is kind of old, but for others who come across this, it should be User Shell Folders not Shell Folders.

by Bobbie (not verified) on 26. August 2010 - 14:06  (56758)

Since so many people seem to be having trouble with this, there is a less-intrusive method I've been using since Win 95 and on every PC since. It's manual, but can be automated using several available freeware backup programs. Warning: I'm using XP, so I can't verify how any of this might be altered by Vista or 7, although I can't imagine that it won't work the same way.

(1) Backup the contents of your My Documents folder to optical media, just in case. There is nothing dangerous in this, but this is always a good first step.

(2) Create a new folder on your new storage drive. Mine is called "My Documents Archives".

(3) Create a shortcut to this folder in My Documents.

(4) Select the folders and files you want to move to the new location. Drag and drop them on the shortcut icon USING THE RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON. This will cause a context menu to appear and you can choose to move the items rather than copy them. If you are worried about file corruption, you can copy the items and delete the originals after you have verified the copies, but I've never had a problem with corruption. If your hardware is somewhat limited and you are moving several gigabytes of information, you might want to move or copy the files in smaller groups one at a time.

(5) Once the My Documents folder has been "slimmed down", defrag your Windows drive.

(6) Every Saturday morning over coffee, I sort the contents of My Documents by date modified. Anything over a week old gets moved to the new location.

Many of my applications create subfolders in My Documents where they store files and settings. Right or wrong, some of these will be thwarted by moving the actual My Documents folder because they use lazy or incorrect methods of locating the folder. My method leaves the most recent items in place, but keeps the size of the data relatively small by moving older stuff to another drive. Don't want to do have to move this yourself every week? There are backup applications here on the site that will do it for you, on a timer, based on any criteria (such as last modified date).

Frankly, if you've got a lot of any sort of files (especially photos) clogging your drives that you aren't actually accessing regularly, you should be backing them up on optical media. Simply moving them off your Windows drive isn't going to help you if one or both drives fail.

by issa on 19. August 2010 - 14:32  (56355)

this should be known by the general public...thanks!

by Giri (not verified) on 13. July 2010 - 14:22  (54200)

After googling extensively I have found a simple way of doing this by editing registry key...

http://www.windows-commandline.com/2009/07/change-my-documents-location-from.html

by non-techie (not verified) on 13. July 2010 - 6:44  (54187)

Thanks for the write up saved me a real headache.

by Anonymous on 15. June 2010 - 6:31  (52145)

1. Can this method using the Move button to move the folder My Documents be used also for the folder My Music and the others in my profile?
2. The file location appears in a text box on the Properties dialogue tab. If I change that text, does the file get moved? What is that box intended for?
Thanks for your assistance?

by Anonymous on 20. May 2010 - 1:32  (49969)

that's interesting but what about the Temp data and Application data - i have CCleaner setup to clean these and what happens if i move the My Documents folder?

also, this only moves "my" documents but what about the "all users"??
i'd like to be able to move all of this stuff to a separate partition but i'm not sure its practical...

(thanks Gizmo and Rhiannon and all the editors for your hard work on this site...)

by Anonymous on 30. March 2010 - 16:36  (46514)

Thanks for the lesson, it sounded to easy. When "My Documents Properties' page appears there is only one box. It says target and it has the location of the existing location. That location no longer exists as the computer is not connected to the server any longer. I can't type over the location I can't delete it, there is no buttons other than the one that says target.

What am I doing wrong?

by Anonymous on 2. March 2010 - 14:40  (44870)

It's so easy when you know how! Thanks for a great solution. Tom

by Anonymous on 23. November 2009 - 0:32  (37136)

Changing Folder Path
I've relocated My Documents & created Desktop & Start Menu short cuts. I'd also like to have the My Documents file path point to the new location. I want to do this so that when I open "Explore All Users" the My Documents folder ,displayed in my account, points to the new location rather than the default location.
I've searched the Net for an answer, but haven't had any luck. Can somebody help please?
Thanks,
Clive

by Anonymous on 28. August 2009 - 11:29  (31722)

Ok Gentel Dudes, what will happen to "My Recent Documents" ?? how are we going to guide it to the new "My Douments" folder location ??

by Anonymous on 16. November 2009 - 12:36  (36723)

This is really helpful...but I cannot perform right now. I hope I get this info again later. Thanks!

by Anonymous on 20. October 2009 - 14:53  (35054)

It stops part way. It doesn't like the fact that the Desktop file is being used. How do I get around this?
regards
Graham3D

by Anonymous on 16. August 2009 - 13:04  (27211)

My documents I use "owner" (Windows XP)
but I see other "my Document" folders such as shared,admin, etc.
Here is what I found.
Evrything I save it is put in 2 diferant "My Document" folders"..

Which one is preferred and to only use ONE?
When ever I save I have to go to the other a delete it..
to save space...

by Anonymous on 23. July 2009 - 16:00  (25648)

Check out this useful tool: Folder Redirector utility

Gizmos Needs You

Gizmo's Freeware is Recruiting

 We are looking for people with skills or interest in the following areas:
 -  Mobile Platform App Reviews for Android and iOS
 -  Windows, Mac and Linux software reviews       Interested? Click here