Moving Plex Media Server to a Different User Account

By default, when you install Plex Media Server it is installed under the administrator account. This means all the data associated with the installation of Plex is stored under the administrator account. This also means that the Plex Media Server will only start when the administrator account is logged into the machine.

If the administrator account is the only account that you use on your system, then you won't need to change the Plex Media Server install to a different user. However, if you wish to move the install to a different user, then this page will explain how you can accomplish this.

Moving Plex Media Server to a Different User Account

Moving the Plex Media Server data

There are two places where Plex stores its data: in a folder under the user account's local application data and in the registry for the current user. Moving that data is not hard to do.

Use the steps outlined below to move the Plex Media Server data.

  1. Log in as the account that contains the Plex data you would like to move. If you just install Plex, or haven't moved the data before, then you should log in as an administrator
  2. In Windows Explorer (Windows Key+E), enter the following in the address bar at the top: %LOCALAPPDATA%.
  3. Copy the "Plex Media Server" folder to a shared folder, such as Public Documents or the "C:\ProgramData" folder. This will make a copy of the Plex data directory into another folder that all accounts on your system will have access to read.
  4. Next, open a run prompt (Windows Key+R) and type regedit.exe and then press ENTER to open the registry editor.
  5. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Plex, Inc. and then right-click the Plex, Inc. key name and select Export from the popup menu.
  6. Select the same location you copy the folders to in step 3, and give the file a name and click the Save button. This will save the Plex registry settings to a file that you can then import on the other account.

    At this point, you may also want to remove the registry key that causes Plex to launch at startup for this account. The section titled Stopping Plex Media Server from starting up will outline how to stop Plex from launching from this account. You can even copy that startup value and then move that to the other account, as well.

  7. Log out of the current user account and then log into the account you would like to use with Plex.
  8. Open Windows Explorer (Windows Key+E) and then navigate to the folder containing the Plex Media Server folder from step 3.
  9. Right-click the registry file you created in step 6, and then select the Merge option from the popup menu. This will apply the Plex settings into the registry for this account.
  10. Next, copy the Plex Media Server folder.
  11. Enter %LOCALAPPDATA% in the address bar at the top, and then paste the Plex Media Server folder. This will move the Plex data in the folder into the current account.
  12. Run Plex to see if Plex starts up without any issues, and any settings you had saved previously are still set properly. If something isn't right, you can always repeat the steps above to ensure all settings were copied correctly.

Once you Plex Media Server is running under a different account, you have two options to have it start automatically:

  1. You can copy the startup registry key from the original account that was running Plex and then merge it into the registry of the new user account. The key information is outlined under the Stopping Plex Media Server from starting up below.
  2. A better option is to install Plex Media Server as a Windows service, so you don't even have to log in to have Plex running. I recommend this option myself, but you can use whichever option works for you.

At this point you should now have Plex Media Server moved to the new user account, and one of the two methods to have Plex startup without having to do so manually (unless you wish to start Plex manually). The next section will go over preventing Plex from starting up when you log into the previous user account.

Stopping Plex Media Server from starting up

While you are logged into the machine with the administrator account, you can also prevent Plex Media Server from automatically starting everytime you log into the administrator account.

To do this, use the following steps:

  1. From the list on the left, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run and then click the Plex Media Server value on the right side.
  2. Once the value is highlighted, press the DELETE key to remove the value from the list. This will prevent Plex Media Server from starting when the administrative user is logged in. This will happen each time Plex Media Server is updated. The Plex Media Server startup in the Windows registry