Windows 10: How to move Program Files folders?

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  1.    05 Aug 2017 #1

    How to move Program Files folders?


    I have a question, please. I have a brand new computer, with an SSD and and HDD. I have already redirected all of the folders (Desktop, Documents, etc.,) to my HDD. My question is this: I want to install programs to both HDD and SSD, depending on the program. Do I need to also create folders labeled Program Files and Program Files (x86) on the HDD to be able install to the HDD? Or is it as simple as changing the drive letter in the manual install (e.g. change C:\Program Files (x86)\<program name> to D:\Program Files (x86)\<program name?) and it will automatically install to the HDD without my having to create the Program Files folders? Thank you in advance for the help.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  2. Posts : 31,054
    Triple boot - Win 10 Pro, Win 10 Pro Insider (2) - (and a sprinkling of VMs)
       05 Aug 2017 #2

    jdc1078 said: View Post
    I have a question, please. I have a brand new computer, with an SSD and and HDD. I have already redirected all of the folders (Desktop, Documents, etc.,) to my HDD. My question is this: I want to install programs to both HDD and SSD, depending on the program. Do I need to also create folders labeled Program Files and Program Files (x86) on the HDD to be able install to the HDD? Or is it as simple as changing the drive letter in the manual install (e.g. change C:\Program Files (x86)\<program name> to D:\Program Files (x86)\<program name?) and it will automatically install to the HDD without my having to create the Program Files folders? Thank you in advance for the help.
    @jdc1078

    This thread is about 90 days old, but may help. Give it a look. Post #7. TC

    How To Change Program Files Location In Windows 10 - Windows 10 Forums
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3.    05 Aug 2017 #3

    Thanks for the quick reply, but it seems that thread pertains to completely changing the install path to only one drive. I want to be able to install to both drives alternately, depending on the program. As it is now, my HDD is naked, except for the redirected folders I mentioned above. My default install is naturally C drive (SSD). If I wanted to install to my HDD, what is the exact process? Do I need to create a target location (e.g. Program Files/Program Files (x86)) in the HDD prior to attempting an install to the HDD? If I am not asking correctly, forgive me, and help me understand exactly what I need to ask. Sorry.

    Thanks.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  4. Posts : 31,054
    Triple boot - Win 10 Pro, Win 10 Pro Insider (2) - (and a sprinkling of VMs)
       05 Aug 2017 #4

    jdc1078 said: View Post
    Thanks for the quick reply, but it seems that thread pertains to completely changing the install path to only one drive. I want to be able to install to both drives alternately, depending on the program. As it is now, my HDD is naked, except for the redirected folders I mentioned above. My default install is naturally C drive (SSD). If I wanted to install to my HDD, what is the exact process? Do I need to create a target location (e.g. Program Files/Program Files (x86)) in the HDD prior to attempting an install to the HDD? If I am not asking correctly, forgive me, and help me understand exactly what I need to ask. Sorry.

    Thanks.
    The system cannot point to 2 different places at the same time. There are system environment variables used by Windows and user apps that direct the system where to find apps and data. You can't point to 2 at the same time. You can change it, but to 1 other place, not 2. Environment Variables - Rapid Environment Editor



    %PROGRAMFILES% C:\Program Files
    %PROGRAMFILES(X86)% C:\Program Files (x86) (only in 64-bit version)

      My ComputersSystem Spec

  5.    05 Aug 2017 #5

    So then there is no way to selectively install to either drive at will? That seems counter productive. I must be missing something.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    05 Aug 2017 #6

    Here is the rundown of what exactly is on my HDD===> Only folders labeled Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos that I created myself to redirect automatically. Are you saying there is no way to install to my HDD without permanently changing the default install path TO my HDD? Another for instance: I am an Estimator, and have a Takeoff program that would benefit from the SSD, which is the default install drive. I install, and it goes there. I also like to game, and would like to install games to the HDD to save space on the SSD. Please help me understand the process. Like I said, I know I must be missing something in the explanation, totally my fault. Thanks.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  7. Posts : 31,054
    Triple boot - Win 10 Pro, Win 10 Pro Insider (2) - (and a sprinkling of VMs)
       05 Aug 2017 #7

    jdc1078 said: View Post
    So then there is no way to selectively install to either drive at will? That seems counter productive. I must be missing something.
    I know you can selectively download things to different places, but I do not believe what you want to do is possible. Maybe someone else can find it. I've search thru MS sites, and others, and can't find that being done. Simple standalone apps can be put anywhere and still run, because they are independent and do not depend on the registry, that's why they are called "Portable" apps. But apps that must be installed to work properly use the registry, and the registry can only contain 1 value at a time for a system variable. I won't ask why you need to do this, I'm sure you have good reasons. But I'm afraid, to the best of my knowledge, it can't be done. Sorry.

    I see another member, @Mystere is looking at your ppost. Maybe he has more info.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  8.    05 Aug 2017 #8

    jdc1078 said: View Post
    So then there is no way to selectively install to either drive at will? That seems counter productive. I must be missing something.
    You don't have to install applications to Program Files. You can install them anywhere. Most installers will give you a choice of where to install, and you can point it to any directory you want.

    Some files may, by necessity, still be installed on C:\, but most files will go on whatever drive you choose when you install.

    Typically when you run the install, there will be an option for advanced installation, choose that, and it will usually let you choose the install location.

    Even UWP apps can be directed to be on different drives in settings. Go into settings, go to Apps, then click on a UWP App, like Weather or what not. Then you can choose "Move" and move it to another drive. This only works with UWP apps though.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    05 Aug 2017 #9

    So if a program install has a default path of "C:\Program Files (x86)\<program name>, then all I have to do is change it to D:\? The actual "Program Files (x86)" file path doesn't matter?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    05 Aug 2017 #10

    jdc1078 said: View Post
    So if a program install has a default path of "C:\Program Files (x86)\<program name>, then all I have to do is change it to D:\? The actual "Program Files (x86)" file path doesn't matter?
    Well, you wouldn't want to install it in the root of your D: drive, but yes.

    I'm confused by why you would think that if it asks you where to install, that it would install somewhere that you didn't tell it to?
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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