If you have an old computer or a new computer with a small SSD drive as your primary, you may need to periodically move data from the default Windows user folders to a second hard drive or even an external drive to save space.
The default folders I’m talking about are Downloads, Documents, Videos, Music, etc. By default, all of these folders are located in the same partition as your system partition, usually C. The path is usually C: Users username folder name.
If you need extra space on the main partition for apps or something else, it’s easy to move these default folders to a new location. The nice thing is that you can only move one or all of them as needed. So if your Videos folder is the only big folder taking up space, you can move it and leave the rest of the folders alone.
I also recommend moving your data folders to a different drive (specifically a second hard drive, not just a different partition on the same drive) if you can, as they will be safe in the event of a system drive failure or Windows becomes corrupted and inaccessible.
Change the location of the user folder in Windows
The procedure below is pretty much the same for Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, etc. Etc. There are several features in Windows that have not changed for decades, and the user’s folder location is one of them.
First, open Windows Explorer and navigate to the directory that contains all the system folders. In Windows 8 and Windows 10, you simply click “This PC” and you will see everything.
On Windows 7, you will have to manually navigate to your user folder directory by going to C: Users username. By default, Windows 7 displays Libraries in the left pane, which are more like virtual folders containing the contents of multiple folders. You can also change the location of the libraries, which I will explain below.
Now just right click on the folder you want to move and select Properties.
Click the Location tab and click the Move button. You should also see the current path to the folder in question.
The Find Target button does nothing more than load the path specified in the text box. So if you close the explorer window behind the folder properties dialog and click Find Target, it will just bring up the explorer window in the parent folder of the last folder in the path (in my case, the parent document folder).
When you click Move, a dialog box appears where you can select a new destination folder as shown above. After you select a folder and click OK or Apply in the properties dialog, it will ask if you want to move all files or not.
It is always recommended to move all files to a new location. When you click Yes, Windows will start moving files to the new location. This may take some time, depending on the amount of data in the folder.
That’s all! At this point, the folder will be accessible through programs as usual, but the data will be saved in a new location, not in the default location. For example, if you change the location of the Downloads folder, your browsers will automatically download files to that folder, which will now be redirected to the new location.
I do not recommend changing the new location to an external USB drive or network drive, as they sometimes disconnect and start causing strange problems in Windows. It is best to only do this if your system has an additional drive that is always connected. Enjoy!