Moving iCloud from C

I use an iPhone and an iPad, and subscribe to 200 GB of iCloud storage which I also sync to my Windows 10 computer using the iCloud sync software. This means that the files I store to iCloud from my two Apple devices are also available on my PC.

The problem is that Apple’s iCloud software only stores these files on the C drive, which on my computer is already crammed to the brim with Windows, programs and games. I simply don’t have room for all my stuff on there! Which is why I’ve moved all my documents, photos and other files to the other hard drives. I definitely need to move the iCloud folder, too.

The bad news is that there’s no way to do this from the iCloud control panel, which is something that I consider an oversight or gross neglect on Apple’s part. The good news is that there are other ways around it. The downside again is that it’s a little technical, but don’t let that scare you from asking a friend.

Disclaimer: This guide is provided with the only guarantee being that it worked for me on my computer using the steps described below. Proceed at your own risk. There is always the chance that something could go wrong. To protect yourself against data loss, make a backup before doing anything that might harm your files. I’ll assume no responsibility for any mistakes on your part, or damages or loss of data thereof, or even whether this works at all on your computer.

Step one: Disable iCloud Drive

Open the iCloud control panel, and disable iCloud Drive by first removing the check mark next to iCloud Drive, and then press Apply.

This has the additional bonus of removing all the files in the iCloud storage folder on your computer, but don’t worry, they will remain in available your iCloud account, and they will be automatically downloaded after you’ve completed all the steps.

Note: Make sure that the original iCloudDrive folder is deleted, too. If it’s still there, delete it yourself.

Step two: Create a new folder on another drive

You will need to create a new folder on a different drive, preferably one that will have room for all the files that will be synced with iCloud. I’ll use the D drive in this example, and create a folder that I call “iCloudDrive”, making the path for the new folder “D:\iCloudDrive”. Your drive letters may be different, so use what you have.

Note: If you get an error message such as “Cannot create a file when that file already exists”, you may need to delete the original iCloudDrive manually.

Step three: Make a link from old to new

First we need to open the command line window as Administrator. To do this, open the Start Menu, type “CMD”, right-click on “Command Prompt”, and select “Run as administrator”, then click “Yes” to allow this program to make changes to your computer.

You now have a new window with a black background, and a few bits of text. This is the command window. We won’t bother with what’s written there, because it’s not important to what we’re going to do.

IMPORTANT: For the next step, make sure to use your own Windows username where it says “USERNAME”, and your own target folder path where I’ve put “D:\iCloudDrive”.

In the command window, type the following line, and press Enter.

MKLINK /J "C:\Users\USERNAME\iCloudDrive" "D:\iCloudDrive"

In response it will say something like

Junction created for C:\Users\USERNAME\iCloudDrive <<===>> D:\iCloudDrive

You can then close the window.

Step four: Re-enable iCloud Drive

Open the iCloud control panel, and enable iCloud Drive by putting a check mark next to it and press Apply. As soon as you’ve done this, it will begin downloading all your iCloud Drive files to the new folder. Be aware that this may take a while, depending on how many megabytes of files you have, and how fast your internet connection is.

And that should be it! Happy iClouding! 🙂


Addendum

There has been some feedback about the iCloudDrive icon still being visible in the user folder on the C drive. If all went according to plan, then this is simply a shortcut icon for the junction made with the MKLINK command, and can be ignored.


19 thoughts on “Moving iCloud from C

Add yours

  1. Hi, I have tried following these instructions based on your command paths and using my user name, however I get this response: Cannot create a file when that file already exists.

  2. Hi, and thanks for your feedback 🙂

    I’ve checked around a little, and found that one possible reason for this error may be that iCloud didn’t automatically remove the original “iCloud Drive” folder when you disabled it, and that you’ll have to delete it yourself. From what I remember, it did delete it by itself on my computer, but conditions may vary (for example, if the folder was in use by another program at the time), and I noticed that others have run into the same error. I’ll see about updating this in the description, just in case.

    Hopefully this should help with your problem.

  3. Excellent. Just make sure the previous folder that iCloud had on your C: drive is gone before you create the link. Works great! Thank you.

  4. Hi I have followed the above and have a duplicate folder in D drive but its also remaining in the C drive.. any way to completely delete from C drive?

    1. Hi Suki! As some have mentioned, there will be an icon for the iCloudDrive folder on the C drive, but this is just a shortcut for the junction you made with the MKLINK command. Cheers 🙂

  5. I followed the directions – I think – and while there is an icloud drive on me drive D – as I wanted – there is also a duplicate icloud drive in in C – which I did not.

    Any ideas?

    1. Hi John! If all went according to plan, then what you see is the shortcut icon for the junction you made with the MKLINK command, and you may notice a “shortcut arrow”. This is normal. Cheers 🙂

  6. Hello, I have tried this several times now and haven’t been successful getting it to work… every time I run it, iCloud Drive downloads to my C drive (a 256GB SSD), filling it up, it creates the same directory on my D drive (a 512GB MicroSD), but doesn’t take any space… I’m trying to get iCloud Drive to download to the D drive,. Both drives are formatted the same. I have also tried reversing the drive changes, entering the D drive location first to see if that worked.

    The result for me is, iCloud Drive downloads to my C drive every time, filling it up, it makes what looks like a copy to the D drive, but taking up no disk space.

    1. Hi Keith! Sorry to hear it’s not working, and I’m not sure why that is so. Of course, this is only a workaround, not an actual fix, which means there may be situations where it doesn’t work as expected. For all I know, your Windows setup might be such a situation. A actual, proper solution would be for Apple to add the option to change the storage folder within the iCloud Drive settings, in which case we wouldn’t have to bother with this sort of thing in the first place. I do hope you’ll find a way to make it work for you.

  7. Hi, thanks for the article. I followed your guide. Yes, I could see iCloud Drive folder in the C: drive, and it is a shortcut, but when i open it, I could see all my files from iCloud and checked the location, it is pointing to the C:\users\username\iCloudDrive. If this folder is a shortcut, shouldn’t the location for all the files pointing to the new location? Just wanna be sure iCloud Drive not taking up space on my C: drive.

    1. Hi Huntellar. This is correct. The folder icon is indeed a shortcut. It points at your selected drive, but it makes the system think it is pointing at C:

      If you feel you need to check to make sure, try to copy a bit of data into the folder (a few hundred megabytes should be enough to see the numbers change), and see if it takes up more space on C:, or on the drive which you chose.

  8. Hi, Thanks for the helpful instructions.

    I’m curious to know which version of iCloud Drive you are running?

    I am having a lot of trouble getting this working with the latest version of iCloud downloaded via the Microsoft Store. (Version 10.9.3)

    I have correctly set up and verified the Symbolic Link is working, however my iCloud files will not download to the folder. The iCloud status gets stuck indefinitely at the ‘Initializing’ status but nothing happens. I tried restarting and reinstalling but no success.

    HOWEVER, the only way I was able to get this working was to use an old version of iCloud Drive (version 7.18) which i found on the apple website. It worked immediately (however version 7.18 lacks a bunch of features that the current version has)

    Would be very interested to find out if this is a problem inherent in the newest version of the software.

    Cheers

    1. Hi Jacob! I’m on version 7.18, which came with an installation of iTunes a few years ago, and has simply been updating since then. This said, I have noticed similar problems with iCloud folder sync, in that files either take ages to sync, or they don’t sync at all (i.e. I find some that have synced, and some are missing that haven’t). I have a separate blog post about that, but I’ve since kind of retired the problem and decided that it doesn’t want to get fixed.

      That other post: https://inshadowz.wordpress.com/2020/01/04/if-icloud-drive-gets-stuck/

  9. Hi, I’ve used these instructions but after re-enabling iDrive I get a new iDrive folder. The link (junction) I’ve just created is renamed to “iCloud Drive-Archive”, although I’ve set it to read-only. Even if I change the location in the registry, the tools doesn’t care about and creates simply a new one, leaving a lot of waste in the registry. This is really annoying!

      1. I really don’t have an idea about that. I’ve tried it multiple times, each with same result. I have only an AntiVirus software and Acronis TrueImage running. Don’t know if one of them do such weird things…

      2. Some antivirus software may have protection against changes to files and folders, among other things to protect against cryptomalware, and some backup software may do the same for their own reasons. That said, I don’t know if either of those may be the culprit.

    1. Did you install iCloud Drive via the Microsoft Store? I am seeing similar behavior with that version…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: