Is it possible to move your entire program files folder to a seperate volume?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by BlackScarletLove, Apr 12, 2009.

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  1. BlackScarletLove

    BlackScarletLove Registered Member

    Jul 12, 2007
    my C drive is only an 80G and right now 60G of it is full of apps. I rather like these apps and I don't want to uninstall them. Is it possible to actually move the whole folder to my terabyte and just fix the shortcut paths as needed, or is it more complicated than that?
  2. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

    May 1, 2007
    I do it on xp all the time. You just have update the shortcuts to point to the new location of the exe files.

    I wouldn't move the antivirus/firewall program folders, but you shouldn't have any problems with the rest of the programs.
  3. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Jun 29, 2007
    Nebraska, USA
    Whoa! That is incorrect for "installed" programs and will surely cause your programs to break!

    Changing the shortcut target locations does NOTHING to the Registry entries for that program. If you tried to move Microsoft Office, for example, there are dozens of entries in the Registry that would need to be changed. Editing the shortcut does not do it! Office would be broken.

    Jonyjoe is right about about your security applications, but not necessarily for the reason implied. The obvious difficulty is you can't move programs that are running or files that are open. But more importantly, security applications set their roots deep into the Windows kernel, and Registry. Simply moving their folders, if you could, would surely break them, if not corrupt the harddrive and break Windows too. Not good. So your 3rd party security programs would do best if uninstalled, then reinstalled on new drive.

    So again, for all your major programs that use an installer program during the install process, changing the shortcut will not work. Yes, it is more complicated than that, as a simple search with Google quickly shows.

    You do have several options to you can try for your non-security programs that were "installed" in Windows:
    1. Search the registry for the 100s of entries for all programs and manually edit each individually - obviously, not the recommended process

    2. Use one of the many programs designed for such purpose. Application Mover is often recommended, but I have no personal experience with it - perhaps someone else reading has.

    3. Rather than just move, copy to D drive then rename the C drive folder. Then see if your program works from D. If so, delete the C drive folder. If it does not work, you will need to determine why, and the fix for that program. In the case of major (well written) programs, such as Microsoft Office, they often will find the folder, note the disparities in the Registry, then offer to "repair" the installation for you - keeping all your settings and customizations, but using the new location. This means you will have to select the Custom install option in order to prevent your programs from being installed somewhere under c:\program files\.

    If it does not offer to repair, I would abort the process and do a complete uninstall first, then reinstall to the new location using the CD or downloaded file. ​

    Regardless the method you choose, backup anything you do not want to lose, and round up all your installation disks and license keys to have on hand - just in case something goes wrong.

    For the record, (1) I think it wise to separate the operating system from other stuff. I always install Windows and hardware drivers on C drive, and my other stuff on other drives. (2) If me, I would take this chore as an opportunity to redo/reorganize the way you set up your folders. By that I mean I would inventory what I have on C and determine if I really need to keep it. If so, I would uninstall from C and reinstall the latest version on D. And instead of everything now going under a single folder on D, I would categorize my programs by type: Security, Utilities, Multimedia, Work, School, etc.

    BTW, you can simply tell Windows to use a new My Documents location. Right click on My Documents > Properties > Move. You may have to create your documents folder (you can choose the name) on the new drive first, I forget. Then copy your documents files over - verify there, then delete from source.
  4. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

    Apr 10, 2005
    It is safer to leave things as is, and create extra "Program Files" directories on other drives. You can the directory anything you wanna.

    In this case, when you install an app, ordinarily, you would need to choose a "Custom" install to tell the app where to install.

    Indeed, on my multiboot system, I have apps installed that are shared by ALL the OS using the same "Program Files" Directory, e.g., Firefox, Thunderbird, Free download Manager. If you do decide to share such directories, you have to install in EACH OS to the same directory every time you have an update, so choose carefuly the programs you wish to share on a multiboot system

    In addition, I moved things such as My Documents, Favorites, Recent, Cookies to a larger drive, and these are shared by ALL the OS.
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