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How can I move system folders?

On Windows XP Professional

     
7:32 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My boss (read "wife") is running Windows XP Professional on her PC. Woke up this morning to a message warning about insufficient disk space, and looking at the C: drive, there remained a rather small 180Kb (yes, kilobytes!) of space. Windows and other programs are installed on a 3Gb C: drive, and I recently installed a second hard drive with 80Gb - so, there is space to spare.

What I need to do is move the whole "Documents and Settings" system folder from C: to D:. I know TweakUI can do this, but it's use is only supported on English-language versions of Windows (and this one's in French).

Does anyone know an easy way of doing this? Also, is it possible to switch any other folders over to the second hard drive easily?

7:36 pm on Sept 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Have you run Disk Cleanup lately? There may be some nuggets that can be deleted. I would also suggest making your default installation directory D:\Program Files, or just get a bigger drive.
9:50 pm on Sept 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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encyclo, you can make a Docs/Settings folder on D:, then move everything into it. EXCEPT you will have problems actually even copying the system files themselves (this CAN be done from a C: prompt, but it's NOT SIMPLE).

Suggestion: you will likely find that the My Documents folder is the major culprit. Start by making a My Docs folder on D:, move all your wife's stuff into it, then see where you are. Also run "clean up" as suggested above. However, once clean up has finished, check to see if you need to MANUALLY delete stuff from the windows/temporary internet files folder - even using "delete files" from Contro Panel/Internet Options sometimes doesn't get it all.

Also double check the windows/temp folder, as it sometimes retains hidden setup files which are needless. As an aside, before you start cleaning up and moving etc., make sure you've UNHIDDEN all the files - it's hard to tell what you're doing if you're copy n pasting and you don't know which files are hidden - especially if you get the error that tells you such n such is in use etc.

As a last "helper", ask your wife what programs she doesn't use - bound to be some. Uninstall them. And finally, if there are some pretty large data files that she doesn't really use but doesn't want to archive to disk, use winzip or whatever to compress them for "storage".

11:54 pm on Sept 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've already cleared out all the temporary internet files, emptied the trash, all the usual stuff - that increased the available space to 12Mb. The My Documents folder is already on D: but I've not yet moved any program files. I've already uninstalled everything not used - before I bought the second hard disk, everything had to fit in that 3Gb.

I'm tempted to try TweakUI anyway, because I can't believe it will break things as much as all that, even if some of the dialog boxes will be in English. I know TweakUI can do what I want easily and automatically. If I move the Documents and Settings folder, then all the emails and other stuff associated with the profile will go onto the larger drive.

I think I know what filled up the C: drive - I accepted the downloading of SP2. The auto-update mechanism says it still needs to be downloaded, but I suspect that it is there in some incomplete form on the drive. If I could find that and delete it, then I reckon the space issue will be helped out enormously. After that, I'm going to have to uninstall all the programs and reinstall them on D: instead, but that's a hassle and very time-consuming.

The most frustrating aspect is how Windows seems to accumulate a ton of junk after being installed. I know that many recommend wiping and reinstalling everything regularly, but the system is still working well, so why the hassle? I just can't imagine how XP plus a cut-down Office XP, plus Mozilla 1.7 plus the GIMP has filled up 3Gb of disk space. Other than those programs, there's basically nothing installed.

5:21 am on Sept 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Is it possible for you simply to increase the size of the partition that XP is on? Something like PartitionMagic will do this quite easily. Then you don't have to bother reinstalling things. 3GB sounds awful small for an XP install.
7:17 am on Sept 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Document etc can be bad, but I find it's the stupid Program Files one that hurt - so my second partition is for them. I manually go through (run->)regedit, search for "ProgramFilesDir" (not as data), and change the path from "C:\Program Files" to "D:" (note no trailing \)

I tend to do this on all machines I install immediately after install, then run Norton WinDoctor to fix any discrepancies.

In fact, it's a good idea to run WinDoctor (or equivilent) after doing any moves like that anyway.

Another thing that can be taking up a lot of space, and you can do something about is the pagefile - move it to the new drive, and that'll free up some more drive space (and from the size of drives, the new one should be faster, so you might see some performance increase too)...

Robin

I really ought to learn to spellcheck before posting ;-)

9:21 am on Sept 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm running French version of 'doze ..all that tweak does in English it does in French ...long time ago I downloaded the "support for English language pack for IE "from Microsoft..it meant that I got instant "franglais" all over this machine in all programs and help files etc ..you name it ..kind of cute :) ..but it didn't cause any conflicts ..
1:41 pm on Sept 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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bill, I can't expand the first partition because there are two separate physical hard drives. Ideally, I would remove the 3Gb drive completely and just use the 80Gb drive (which still has 76Gb of space left), but the machine's BIOS is too old and won't recognize a drive larger than 38Gb. Windows recognizes it just fine, but I can only use it as a slave.

Until two months ago, everything was squeezed into the 3Gb drive - including Windows, all the programs and all the documents.

<added>OK, it looks as if I have a virus - svchost.exe is running about 50 times, and the whole machine is grinding to a halt with 100% CPU use. This is why I hate running Windows...</added>

10:36 pm on Sept 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Oh jeez encyclo.... just had one of those on a work machine just before I retired (NOT MY MACHINE - I don't GET virii!), I finally just brought the sucker home and redid it from square one....

I'd suggest you get your wife's data off somehow, then just reformat. Might want to look for a flash upgrade for the bios while you're at it.... IBM has one for my '97 ThinkPad....

 

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