Can Win7 install new programs on a separate hdd or ssd by DEFAULT?

After reading Tom's recent article on Kingston's budget SSD "boot drive" (,8932.html) makes me want to know even more so how the hell to get Windows7 to install programs on a separate drive other than the drive the OS is installed in. While most novice end users will have no problem manually changing the installation location for new programs, it would still be welcome to be able to change the default location.

I originally thought that making certain changes in the registry would have done this for me, I made changes to the following:

I located the following registry values in: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

I then located the registry labeled "ProgramFilesDir(x86)", "ProgramW6432Dir" and "ProgramFilesDir".

"ProgramW6432Dir" and "ProgramFilesDir" values make Windows7 install files in "C: Program Files" but "ProgramFilesDir(x86)" value makes Windows7 install files in "C: Program Files (x86)".

So, ALL I DID, was change the drive letter from "C" to "D". I created the same named folders in the new drive so Windows could find said folders and plop any new installed programs there. EASY ENOUGH RIGHT!?

Well not so much, things start to get weird after the change, for one thing, shortcuts in the start menu will no longer work as Windows7 will look for some of the ALREADY INSTALLED programs in the new drive instead of the original drive the OS was installed in. And i'm talking about programs that were installed with windows like, defrag, MediaPlyer, DVD Burner, etc.

Should be an easy fix right? Just change the "target file location" in the properties for each shortcut that isn't working. Unfortunately, some programs don't have a simple "D: Program Files\name of program" directory in their respective properties folder, INSTEAD they have "%Program Files%\name of program" so changing it wont work.

I dont think I'm the only one here that hase their OS on a separate drive, either on a raptor or RAID0 or on an SSD and keeps EVERYTHING else on other drives and/or partitions.

Does anyone know a solution to this problem?
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  1. *BUMP*

    I'm rather surprised there are no other members on the TH forum that would like to accomplish this.

    Is it truly impossible to have Windows 7 install programs at another location other than "C:" by default? Or is it that no one here knows the registry well enough to change it? :(
  2. No it is not possible to have ALL or even most programs install by default to another drive.

    Almost no companies program their setups to be installed by Windows OS alone, in which case they wouldn't have a setup just may be a batch file or something like that because A) Microsoft is not going to waste $$ programing setups for each software, and B) It isn't Microsoft's problem.. Usually they program their setup (installation exe) to do installations by it self using some Window's services such as Window's copy file, Window's Installation Wizard, etc.

    So to answer your question each company has the option to either use the default name HDD (setup contains this information not Windows OS) in most computers (C:) or (not common in free/cheap software) to have a small code check which hard drive has the Window's installation folder/automatically select that hard drive for installation.. Most installations allow for custom folder installations, however not every setup will have this in which case you can copy/paste the folders to your new hard drive since you should be fine (all dll's and other files will still be in the system32 folder if needed, or in the installation folder itself).
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