I changed the default install path (x64) and now some of Windows' pre-installed programs point to the wrong location.

My title says it all, really, but here's everything I did to get to this point in case any little detail helps.

I built a new computer and decided to take the plunge and upgrade to Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit. I had been running 32-bit for a long time, but I upgraded everything, including upping it to 8GB of RAM (it was only afterward that I realized that 32-bit systems max out at 4GB).

My rig is set up with an SSD split into two partitions as my main drive. My boot partition (C) is 80GB to cover any and all possibilities, and then I have a ~150GB partition for installing programs (D). It's a force of habit, as I have never liked installing programs onto my boot partition unless they absolutely require it.

I installed Windows, then installed all of my MB and graphics drivers, then I switched the default path over. Again, that might not be important, but every piece of minutia is getting jotted down here.

Anyway, I changed all the proper registry values, using both regular regedit and the secondary regedit (%systemroot%\syswow64\regedit)

First it was Run: regedit, and I went to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version where I changed ProgramFilesDir and ProgramFilesDir (x86). These values were C:\Program Files and C:\Program Files (x86) and I changed them to D:\apps and D:\apps (x86). Lastly, I exited out of regedit.

Then it was Run:%systemroot%\syswow64\regedit, which dumped me back at that same spot (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version). I noticed that this version of ProgramFilesDir and ProgramFilesDir (x86) both said C:\Program Files (x86). I was unsure what to do here, so I made them both D:\apps (x86), even though this guide I saw said to "do the exact same thing you did in the other one." Then I closed out and restarted my computer.

Now, Photo Viewer (this is a big one, and doesn't seem to like me switching over), Internet Explorer (standard, not 64), Sidebar, Windows DVD Maker, and Windows Media Player all point to the wrong location. There could be more, but those are the only ones I noticed in my Start Menu that no longer displayed icons/I can't open pics with Photo Viewer. Every other program works fine, and even these "broken" ones work once I manually tell them to go to a different path. IE actually listed "D:\apps (x86)\..." as it's location, but the other Windows utilities all said "%Program Files%\..." or "%Program Files (x86)%\..."

I didn't have these problems on my old computer when I switched the install path to D:\apps, but I did have it on this computer when I originally installed 32-bit (my SSD took a week longer than expected to get here, and I was impatient), and again on this computer with 64-bit. My old computer was upgraded from XP to Win 7, though, so it did that sort of stuff for me and I don't know how to get the same results with a fresh install of Windows 7.

Any help is appreciated, as I want to keep two partitions on this SSD, and running into constant errors is a bit annoying. Thanks.

Edit: Does nobody know this? I asked this question a week ago and it's still unanswered
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  1. Can nobody answer this question? I asked it a week ago, and I was honestly not expecting it to be so difficult. Is it just physically impossible to change the default install path without screwing up tons of other stuff? I am EXTREMELY against installing anything onto my boot partition that is not absolutely required to be there.
  2. Every program gives you a chance to install it on your desired location ! AFAIK this is the easiest solution instead of messing with the registry values.

    Did you backup your registry before making any changes ? If so, restore the registry, hopefully it will resolve the issue. Else you have to revert everything to its original state.

    Or backup your important stuffs, format and fresh install OS. Good luck.
  3. Yes. I am extremely against all these registry hacks and junction point things to try to force everything to be elsewhere.
    It only leads to problems.

    Install something, and choose where you want it to go.
  4. Thanks for the answers, guys. I guess I was just spoiled by switching from XP to 7, when the system carried over all of my preferences and made D:\apps my default install path again without even asking. I'm discovering there are quite a few tweaks that the "upgrade to windows 7" feature carried over that are impossible to mimic using a clean install of windows 7. Oh well, I'm just being crotchety that I had to change the way I do things after 13 years of XP.

    I know MOST programs let you choose where to install, but there are plenty that don't. Chrome and Adobe Reader both go to your default path automatically, for instance. I can't name the others off the top of my head, but there are a few that insist on being installed in the default path.
  5. I don't know about Chrome, cause I don't use it, but I always install Adobe Reader on my H:\ drive under "Program Files".

    Download the installer (Adobe) from Filehippo.com or similar reputable sites, you will get the chance to install the application on your desired location. You maybe downloading it directly from Adobe.com, so you are out of option. Good luck.
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