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Moving Program Files?

Last response: in Windows Vista
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July 11, 2008 6:35:37 PM

So what im trying to do is have the default program file changed to my E program folder because i want to serperate apps from my os partition and some programs i can not tell it where to install. the problem is that then all the programs that vista puts in c during install wont work right. my question is how can i have all the programs in C work but have the default program folder in E. or is it possible to move everything from c to e and have that work aswell. when i though about it i dont tink it would work but that how i would love to do it and thought id ask. im not very experienced with regedit but i figure im going to have to set it up in there so f somehow could tell me how to do id really appreciate it.

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July 11, 2008 7:53:06 PM

the usual solution is: create a partition on the desired spindle, mount it in some arbitrary place (drive letter or folder), copy the files from c:\program files (preferably using backup software so that file dates, attributes, etc. are retained exactly), empty the c:\program files folder once the copy is verified to be correct, then change the mount point of the new partition so that it gets mounted at c:\program files. if you're using vista x64, also do the same for c:\program files (x86).

however, this might be a good time to reinstall and correct your original error, reinstalling your apps to e:\program files (or e:\program files (x86)) and let those things that insist on installing to c:\ do so; be sure to make the boot partition large enough to accommodate those apps. i do that myself, my vx64 ultimate boot partition is 50G with 14.5G free right now. i do, however, install some programs to c: intentionally if they are critical apps that i might need to recover from problems (e.g., 7-zip, antivirus apps, backup software, etc)

given that (apparently) your CD/DVD drive is D:, i also recommend changing its drive letter (i use R: (for "ROM", "RW", or whatever mnemonic you want to call ti), S:, T:, U:, V: and W: for my optical drives); that way, when you add hard drives in the future, the optical drive won't be in the middle of the drive letter sequence. you can also change occurrences of D: to the new optical drive letter in the registry so that the "original install" location will switch to the optical drive's new location.
July 11, 2008 9:29:55 PM

I have my C partition set at 25gig. i want it as small as possible which is why i dont want anything installed there. my optical drives are already s and t and my swap file is d. i have E set as a 150gig parttion for apps. currently i have nothing installed and all thats in program files is the default windows installed stuff. so there is no programs i would need to reinstall. i like the sound of ur first solution im just curious if i will need to fix registry files and short cuts with that?
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July 12, 2008 3:21:07 PM

well, if you insist that NO software be installed on the boot partition, then the first method is the only way... and it still won't guarantee that some extraneous stuff will end up on c: (such as the installation cache), so still allow some extra room on c:

you won't have to change anything (registry, shortcuts etc) because the old path, c:\program files, will still be the path after the switch.

just work carefully, doublecheck your work at each step, and always have a way to backtrack. (e.g., instead of deleting \program files before you switch the mount points, rename it and create a new empty \program files folder with the same ownership & ACLs as the original one, or at the very least retain the backup till you're completely done & tested).

i'm also tempted to say that if you weren't already familiar with how to do this, i question whether you should do it without someone looking over your shoulder.

finally, i assume that your d: (swap) is a separate spindle (preferably on a separate controller)... if it isn't at least the former, you're not accomplishing anything except moving your swap to a slower area of your spindle.
Anonymous
July 13, 2008 11:15:48 AM

Are you installing programs in E:\Program Files because you think you wouldn't have to reinstall them if you reinstall Windows? If so, you're wasting you time.

Grumpy
August 6, 2009 11:37:42 AM

i have a RAMDISK (Virtual Drive as part of RAM memory)of about 3 GB, after a clean installation of windows 7 64bit, i moved TEMP/TMP to my RAMDISK, then i moved both IE8 and firefox's cache folder to the same, i also changed the default installation directory in the bios to be my RAMDISK and got all the programs copied as well.

The pc was like a jet!! really, for few hours :heink:  , after few restarts, i got some errors that the "b:\Program Files" is not accessible...DUH!!

*i made sure the RAMDISK was being saved to an image file automatically on restart.
* i also did the same steps on my eee pc, it is still flying without errors.

What did i do wrong with the 64 bit OS?
December 5, 2009 6:54:10 AM

Quote:
Are you installing programs in E:\Program Files because you think you wouldn't have to reinstall them if you reinstall Windows? If so, you're wasting you time.

Grumpy


@ Grumpy,

1. Can you please elaborate further on this point? I believe many people are having the same thoughts.

2. Any recommendations ?
Anonymous
December 5, 2009 10:56:58 AM

It's simple. No matter where the Program Files folder is located, if you reinstall Windows, you'll need to reinstall all your programs as well. Most installations create a folder under Program Files as well as registry entries and can also place files/folder in the Windows or Windows/System32 folders.
December 5, 2009 1:56:05 PM

@ Grumpy,

Thanks for explanation.

So the operating system is unlike a taxi driver. If a taxi driver is injured or tired, one can just put in a fresh driver who will still know where the gears and brakes are located. Unless of course, the first driver has heavily customized the taxi that nobody knows how to drive it. The first driver should be told not to do this.

This is getting very complicated. :lol:  Thanks for the insight.
May 2, 2010 11:06:03 PM

I have a theory that I would much like to get proven by some people with expertise.

Win2K/XP/Vista/7 keeps it's main reference at:
HLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ProgramFilesDir

Thing is that lots of files there would be locked by Windows itself.

Therefor, I thought, you could do it like this.

#1) Change the registry value to desired path.
#2) Boot from an old MSDOS/FreeDOS boot floppy disk, and there simply rename Program Files.
#3) Reboot as usual. Voila(?)

Would this work?

Of course I'd be replacing registry values for CommonFilesDir aswell, since that is most commonly a subdirectory of \Program Files\.

Comments, thoughts, ideas..? :) 
Anonymous
May 3, 2010 11:25:34 AM

Why?
!