Moving Windows subfolders

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  1. Karanza's Avatar
    Posts : 32
    Windows 10
       #1

    Moving Windows subfolders


    I know this might be a silly question to ask from someone who's new in computers and is still learning about the bells and whistles of a PC and how it works, so please forgive me :)

    1. Is it possible to move anything inside the "Windows" folder (like system 32, system sub folders, or the windows folder itself) onto the desktop and would Windows 10 allow me to do something like that.

    2. I've heard that Windows 10 along with older versions of windows have something called a "Trusted Installer" which is some sort of security that Microsoft implemented. Would that stop me from moving that particular system folder onto the desktop and say that I need permissions or "administrative" privileges to perform that sort of activity?

    if you can provide me with some information about Trusted Installer as well as other questions I've asked, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    Just a disclaimer: I do not condemn this sort of activity nor am I encouraging anybody else to do it. Like I've mentioned earlier, I'm new to the IT field and willing to learn and seek additional information about computers and how the operating system works.
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  2. Samuria's Avatar
    Posts : 6,032
    windows 10
       #2

    Welcome to the forum. All windows folders are controlled by system so it wont let you move the folder its there to stop anyone or malware messing up windows. If you did move it nothing would work. The installer is there as the name says to install software
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  3. Karanza's Avatar
    Posts : 32
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Samuria said:
    Welcome to the forum. All windows folders are controlled by system so it wont let you move the folder its there to stop anyone or malware messing up windows. If you did move it nothing would work. The installer is there as the name says to install software
    I'm a little confused with what you're saying, even if it won't let me move that folder even though I did move it, why would it not work when its controlled by system which will not allow me to do so?

    Can you clarify for me please? I want to make sure that I'm on the same page.
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  4. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 10,493
    Win10 Pro Versions 2004 and 2009/20H2, Win10 Pro IP_Dev, Win10 Home 1909
       #4

    Windows has a 'feature' called the Registry. It's 5 text files called Hives and what Windows uses to know how to run itself and Windows-based programs and third-party programs intended to run within Windows. Move one of those files or make errors in editing settings and you WILL kill Windows necessitating a reinstall.
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  5. Posts : 32
    Windows 10 Home x64
       #5

    1. there are some folders in the Windows folder that you can move, or delete at will. There are many folders with many different purposes. There is no one correct answer. Some folders, like System32, are critical to both the OS functioning, and for security, and you won't be able to do much if anything with them. Other folders you could perhaps move or delete, and the system would just re-create them. Other files/folders will be in use by the OS and thus locked, preventing any user from making changes to them.

    2. TrustedInstaller is essentially a very high level user account built into the OS. It has the highest, or near-highest security privileges.

    Keep in mind that even Admin privileges will not allow you to change, move, or delete certain files and folders. There are security levels that go beyond Admin, such as 'SYSTEM' and TrustedInstaller. With certain tools it is possible to gain SYSTEM privileges.

    Of course you can circumvent most if not all of these hurdles by simply booting a linux OS and wreck anything you want in Windows, but then the OS would of course cease to function.
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  6. Karanza's Avatar
    Posts : 32
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #6

    ziffel said:
    1. there are some folders in the Windows folder that you can move, or delete at will. There are many folders with many different purposes. There is no one correct answer. Some folders, like System32, are critical to both the OS functioning, and for security, and you won't be able to do much if anything with them. Other folders you could perhaps move or delete, and the system would just re-create them. Other files/folders will be in use by the OS and thus locked, preventing any user from making changes to them.

    2. TrustedInstaller is essentially a very high level user account built into the OS. It has the highest, or near-highest security privileges.

    Keep in mind that even Admin privileges will not allow you to change, move, or delete certain files and folders. There are security levels that go beyond Admin, such as 'SYSTEM' and TrustedInstaller. With certain tools it is possible to gain SYSTEM privileges.

    Of course you can circumvent most if not all of these hurdles by simply booting a linux OS and wreck anything you want in Windows, but then the OS would of course cease to function.
    So just for clarity, certain folders that are used by the OS are locked preventing me from either moving, deleting, or modifying them and If i wanted to do something like that (which I won't nor will) it woud rather be impossible and I would need a linux OS to do what you've said earlier.

    Please, correct me if I'm wrong
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  7. Posts : 1,211
    Windows 10 Pro
       #7

    When Windows is operating it expects files and folders to be in specific locations. This occurs during the boot process, application startup, and at other times. If a file or folder is not found in the expected location it will not look elsewhere. The Windows or other software will simply fail. There are some cases where folders can be moved but you need to follow specific procedures so Windows knows where they are. This is primarily for user folders but a rare few for system folders. Most system folders cannot be moved at all.

    Trusted Installer is a means of protecting Windows files from unauthorized modification. It will protect against moving system folders. If the move is forced with a Linux OS Windows will fail.

    Edit: It isn't just Trusted Installer that prevents moving of system folders and files. Files that are in use, and there are a great many of these, are protected by a file locking mechanism that dates back to at least 16 bit Windows days. These files cannot be modified or moved no matter what account you might be using.
    Last edited by LMiller7; 10 Nov 2018 at 10:34.
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  8. Karanza's Avatar
    Posts : 32
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #8

    LMiller7 said:
    When Windows is operating it expects files and folders to be in specific locations. This occurs during the boot process, application startup, and at other times. If a file or folder is not found in the expected location it will not look elsewhere. The Windows or other software will simply fail. There are some cases where folders can be moved but you need to follow specific procedures so Windows knows where they are. This is primarily for user folders but a rare few for system folders. Most system folders cannot be moved at all.

    Trusted Installer is a means of protecting Windows files from unauthorized modification. It will protect against moving system folders. If the move is forced with a Linux OS Windows will fail.

    Edit: It isn't just Trusted Installer that prevents moving of system folders and files. Files that are in use, and there are a great many of these, are protected by a file locking mechanism that dates back to at least 16 bit Windows days. These files cannot be modified or moved no matter what account you might be using.
    what about if I accidentally saved a file (like a word document, power point, or any other file extension that is not a .sys or a .dll, would Trusted Installeralso prevent that from happening?
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  9. bro67's Avatar
    Posts : 8,348
    Mac OS Catalina
       #9

    Karanza said:
    what about if I accidentally saved a file (like a word document, power point, or any other file extension that is not a .sys or a .dll, would Trusted Installeralso prevent that from happening?
    You can save a file with any extension. You just cannot delete protected files and folders that Windows needs to use, just like any OS. It is there to protect the OS from the end user.
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  10. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 29,869
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #10

    Consider that Windows is not proof against you writing what you will wherever you will if you hack it enough.

    Want to break Windows? It's easy. No prizes for that.

    This will help you do that.
    Windows 7/8/10 - How to Delete Files Protected by TrustedInstaller

    But before you start thinking about hacking it (please don't!), please do what we so often recommend:
    Create a disk image so you can restore your previous good state.
    E.g. Macrium Reflect (free) + external storage for disk image files.

    Trusted Installer: you can readily find articles about this in different contexts: e.g.
    Who is Solved - Windows 10 Forums
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