Change the default location of the user profiles in Windows 2003 Server

Goal is to define an alternate location for user profiles; move them from the C: drive to a different drive due to space allocation. I want to store the terminal server profiles on a different drive.

In the registry find:
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

ProfilesDirectory:C:\Documents and Settings

Change to:
ProfilesDirectory:X:\Documents and Settings

**Note** Existing Profiles will remain under C:\Documents And Settings; you'll need to move these profiles manually.

New users will have there profile created in the location you specified.

There is also an administrative template which enables you to set the default place teminal server profiles. You can find this template at following location in the group policy editor:
Computer Configuration\Administraive Templates\Windows Components\Terminal Services\Set Path for TS Roaming Prifiles.

Next is to move the existing profiles to the new path X:\Documents and Settings\

To rename (or move) the User Profile folder, you may use the following method. This method has been adopted from KB314843, but this page explains in detail how to rename an User account home directory.

**NOTE** Though you can move or rename the user profile folder, there may be some side effects after using this method. This is because of the reason that there may be some absolute path references (to the old user profile folder) in the registry added by third-party software. Therefore, there may be a loss of functionality in the respective applications.

Rename the User Profile folder using Windows Explorer

Logon to an admin account that is not the account being renamed.

Open the Documents and Settings folder, by typing this in Start, Run dialog:

%systemdrive%\Documents and Settings

The list of folders will be displayed. Select the corresponding folder of the user account that you want to rename.


%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\OldUsername


%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\NewUsername

Next step is to notify the system that the user profile path has changed.

Changing the ProfileImagePath value in the registry

ProfileImagePath registry value

The ProfileList registry key contains some sub-keys, which are nothing but the list of User Account Security Identifiers (SID). Each of the SID represents an Account. The key is located here:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ ProfileList

Identify the SID for your User account, and change the Profile path

To know the SID for your user account, you may use the script sidlist.vbs

Download the script and run it. (The User Account names and SIDs will be listed in a log file, and opened automatically.)

Note down the SID for your account.

Then, in the Registry Editor, select the correct SID that belongs to your user account.

In the right-pane, double-click the ProfileImagePath value and change the profile path. ( The ProfileImagePath stores the full path of the User account home folder. )


%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\OldUsername

becomes the following:

%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\NewUsername

Close Registry Editor, and restart Windows. See if you're able to logon to that user profile successfully. Additionally, to verify if the path has been changed successfully, type SET in the Command Prompt. In case you find any abnormal behavior when running an application, you may undo the above procedure.


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