Move the Public Folder in Windows Vista

By Lowell Heddings on February 17th, 2007

The Public folder in Windows Vista is used for sharing folders and files with people on the same computer or the same network. The normal location for the public folder is C:\Users\Public, but this isn’t necessarily the best location for it, especially if you don’t have enough space on your C: drive. With some registry editing, we can move the location of the folder.

Important Note: This change should not be done lightly, as a number of readers have encountered issues with this tweak. You’ll want to carefully check file permissions and make sure you have a backup before even attempting this.

If you click the Public link on the Favorite Links, you’ll see the list of folders. You can copy them to a new location.

For the sake of this example, we’re going to move the C:\Users\Public folder to D:\Public. First copy all the folders inside of the current Public folder into the new D:\Public folder.

Update – Important

You should turn on the option to show hidden files and folders in order to make sure you copy all the folders. There are hidden Public Desktop and Favorites folders that need to be copied as well. (thanks to steve in the comments for this)

Now we’ll open up the registry editor by typing regedit into the start menu search box.

Browse down to this key:

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

You should see a key called Public. Double-click it to open it and change it to D:\Public, or whatever location you want to move the public folder to.

Reboot, and your public folder will now be moved. You should be able to remove the old public folder if you want to. (Make sure you verify the location of the new public folder before you do)

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 02/17/07
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