I recently purchased an external HDD that I’m intending to use as a file server. My question is how to move the Documents and Settings folder from my two Windows XP machines onto this network drive without causing Windows to break beyond repair. Thanks.
You should be able to move the “target” of your “My Documents” folder on each machine. “My Documents” is actually a redirection that is done within the Windows Explorer shell, and is easy to reassign on the face of it. I have not tried this on a network drive, so there are no guarantees. I have successfully reassigned My Documents to what is (to me) a more accessible directory on my hard drive. Here’s what you can do:
1) Set up your network and your network drive. Make sure that it is assigned a particular letter for each machine. (Assign permanent drive letters under Control Panel –> Administrative Tools –> Computer Management –> Disk Management. This should work for network drives as well. Someone correct me if I’m wrong; again, I haven’t done this before.
2) On your computers, open Windows Explorer. From My Computer, right-click on My Documents and select properties. The first thing that pops up is a “target folder location” screen. Select “move” and pick the desired folder on your networked drive (i.e., computer 1′s documents, computer 2′s documents, etc.). You may have to physically copy everything over, but then it will be on the networked drive and everything should work smoothly. That is, in the future, Windows will go to the target location whenever you look in “My Documents”
It is possible that you can even do #2 without bothering with #1. You may wish to try. If so, make sure you assign a specific name/letter to your network drive that is somewhere down the line (H or so) so that Windows won’t get confused if you are using USB drives or flash cards on occasion.
As always, back up first.
Also, here are two useful articles to read too: