Controlling the Global User Directory

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The Global User Directory was brought to Windows in 3.5-2381 and release 4.0. Now, like Linux and OSX before it, Windows builds have a central location where saves, settings, screenshots, themes, etc are kept. All builds will have the same settings and saves, and updating from one revision to another will be much easier.

Of course a change like this is going to require some adjustment for users. Fortunately, the Global User Directory system has a large selection of controls to adapt to a variety of user needs.

Windows[edit]

Moving Saves and Settings from Older Versions[edit]

Moving saves and settings from an older version of Dolphin to 4.0-era builds is easy. The default location of the Global User Directory is %userprofile%\My Documents\Dolphin Emulator\. To use your old game saves, copy over the \GC\ and \Wii\ folders which are under the old build's \User\ folder to the directory currently specified by Global User Directory. For your settings, copy over the \Config\ folder.

  • As a speed up you can even copy all of the content from your old \User\ folder to the Dolphin Emulator folder if you like, though the \GameConfig\ folder will be ignored.

Choose the Location of the Global User Directory[edit]

  • Open the registry. Simply type "regedit" in the search bar of the Start Menu and hit enter.
  • Expand HKEY_CURRENT_USER.
  • Right click Software and select New > Key. Name the key Dolphin Emulator.
  • Right click the new Dolphin Emulator key, and select New > String Value. Name the value UserConfigPath.
  • Double click the "UserConfigPath" value and an Edit String dialog appears. Under "Value Data", enter the path to the custom User directory. Make sure that you include "User" in it, since it will assume whatever path it is directed to is the User folder. If you point it to the Desktop for example, you will have a very messy situation.

Disable the Global User Directory for a Specific Build with "portable.txt"[edit]

To make a build use a local user directory, create a text file named "portable" next to the executable files of the build. With the extension it should be named "portable.txt". Dolphin will check if that file exists in the same directory, then it will not use the global user directory, instead it will create and use the local user directory in the same directory.

Restore the Old Behavior with "LocalUserConfig" registry key[edit]

If you just want nothing to do with this whole Global User Directory thing and want Dolphin to use an local user directory in the same place as its executable files as it used to, then you can disable the Global User Directory system entirely with a registry key. The key is global so it is a one time change.

When done editing the Windows Registry, and before launching Dolphin, be sure to move your \User\ folder along with Dolphin executable files (or check if it's placed correctly) if you want to still use it. Otherwise, Dolphin will create a new one in there instead.

Manual Registry Editing[edit]

  • Open the registry. Simply type "regedit" in the search bar of the Start Menu and hit enter.
  • Expand HKEY_CURRENT_USER.
  • Right click Software and select New > Key. Name the key Dolphin Emulator.
  • Right click the new Dolphin Emulator key, and select New > String Value. Name the value LocalUserConfig.
  • Double click the "LocalUserConfig" value and an Edit String dialog appears. Under "Value Data", type the number 1.

Automatic Process with .REG Files[edit]

These registry keys can be created and removed with .reg files to make the process easier.

To create the LocalUserConfig registry key, open notepad, paste the following in it and save it as a .reg file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Dolphin Emulator]
"LocalUserConfig"="1"

To remove the LocalUserConfig registry key and revert back to the Global User Directory system, open notepad, paste the following in it and save it as a .reg file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Dolphin Emulator]
"LocalUserConfig"=-

Simply run the first key when you want to use a Local User Directory and run the second key to remove the Local User config and return to the Global User Directory system.

Use a Shortcut to Use a Specific User Directory for a Specific Build[edit]

A shortcut can be customized to tell a specific build to use a specific user directory. This also overrides the portable.txt file.

  • Create a shortcut to the Dolphin build you want to use.
  • Open the shortcut's properties and edit the target field. After the path to dolphin, add an argument -u (case sensitive) then add the desired path to user folder. As such example:
Dolphin.exe -u "%userprofile%\Documents\Dolphin Emulator 2"

Anytime you want that build to use the specified user directory, just run the custom shortcut. If you launch Dolphin without the custom shortcut it will use the Global User Directory or portable.txt, as normal.

Linux and OSX[edit]

Linux and OSX have always used a Global User Directory. However, with the Global User Directory changes in 4.0 one can choose a custom directory with the command:

/path/to/dolphin/build/dolphin-emu -u /path/to/user/directory