I don't think that you have been missing something for the past 9 years. = LOL
Tell the truth I am rusty on Win XP.
But my point of showing how to move the PERSONAL USER FOLDERS, is so that people can create a partition or use a secondary INTERNAL drive to save all their personal information.
In the event that users get a Viral infection or some type of corruption on the C partition, it's 99 percent sure that after the error is fixed if possible, they still have access to their personal files.
As most of the time, viral infections or othewise affect mostly the C partition where the OS resides.
What you refer here to is " Application Data " if you refering to the folders which are created by applicatiions when they are installed, keep in mind that most of them automatically presumed to be install on the C Drive.
Hence the Application Data folders contain files for the application such as DLL's, and other that the applications uses. Hence unless you do a complete backup of the C drive, you CAN'T move the Application Data Folders because, the main program expects those folders to be on the C drive.
As an example, installing MS Word, creates a folder under C:\Programs and another under C:\ProgramData under Win Vista and 7.
The second only contains, Dll's and other files Word needs, however, where you save your personal documents still a choice for anyone to make, the default would be - Documents.
Even it has already been re-directed.
I don't know if I am missing something when you state Application Data Folders.
But another example would be Outlook, or Windows Live Mail clients on the pc, you CAN re-direct the contents to another partition or internal drive.
Once you move them from the C drive and you open Outlook or Windows Live Mail, it will give you an error message as it can't find them directly on the C drive.
You close the applications and when you open them again, you will get the errors.
Outlook, prompts you, and give you a small windows explorer so that you can point to the right folder and path. Windows Live mail, you have to go into settings / Maintenance / and point the program to the new destination.
In the case of Outlook or Windows Live Mail, that data is all your email and calendar settings, so in this case we can apply the name Application Data even though it can be moved. Not every program is the same.
Application Data - Used by the application only.
Application Data - Information you save to folders within the application and is it allow by the application to be moved.