Another disk for the Windows 7 user’s documents

       415 words, 2 minutes

I had to install an HP HDX18 laptop for a friend. It ships with Vista and two internal disks. The challenge was to get rid of Vista, install Windows 7 on it, keep system and programs on the first disk and user’s documents on the other disk.

I found a really nice tutorial on some Win7 forum that explains how to do it. This will just sums up the directions to achieve it but one really should read the whole document.

Run the installation as usual: Boot the installation media, I used a USB stick. Erase both disks and create the partition from the installation wizard (using “Advanced Options”) and let the files be copied.

When the wizard reaches the “Choose a user name for your account and name your computer to distinguish it on the network” step, stop. Then issue a Ctrl-Shift-F3. This will reboot the computer in the “Audit Mode”.

The machine will reboot and log in as the Administrator. If the wired and/or wireless interface are known by the system, you’ll be prompted to connect to the network. I did connect the machine onto the wired network and didn’t configure WiFi at this step. When you’re prompted to “Select a location for the ‘Network’ network”, just do so. Then, on the “Create a Homegroup” (or “Join a Homegroup”) dialog box, simply click “Cancel”.

The “System Preparation Tool” is launched. Lets close it clicking the “Cancel” button.

Start the “Notepad” or the “Wordpad” and fill-it with the XML definition:

  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  <unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
  	<settings pass="oobeSystem">
  		<component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="amd64"
  publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="" xmlns:xsi="">
  	<cpi:offlineImage cpi:source="wim:F:/sources/install.wim#Windows 7 HOMEPREMIUM" xmlns:cpi="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:cpi" />

I kept the “ProfilesDirectory” and “ProgramData” values as is but changed the “offlineImage” to deal with the USB drive. Save the file locally, I used “D:\relocate.xml” so that I can use it later on to reinstall the OS…

Then, start a “Command Prompt” and launch a “sysprep” process:

C:\Users\Administrator> cd \Windows\System32\Sysprep
C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep> sysprep.exe /audit /reboot /unattend:D:\relocate.xml

The sysprep window will pop up and reboot the computer. Once rebooted, the “System Preparation Tool” pops up once again (you’re still in “Audit Mode”). Select the “Enter System Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE)” option in the “Select Cleanup Action” drop-down list, “Reboot” as the “Shutdown Options” and click “OK”.

Finish the installation “as usual”, creating the user, … When done, you’ll get a Windows instance with the user’s data on the second disk.

Source: Relocate User folders during Windows 7 installation