How To Change Program Files Location In Windows 10

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  1. Posts : 1,249
    Windows 10 Pro
       #31

    As dalchina mentioned, Microsoft does not support or recommend using the registry setting to move the Program files folder. It is provided for exceptional situations and is not suitable for general use. Many such options are provided. There are known issues with moving the program files folder.

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-ca/...-program-files

    I would consider moving the program files folder (using any method) as very risky. You may get into a situation where the only solution is to reinstall the OS. It is best to accommodate the folder in it's normal location.
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 1
    Windows 10 Home
       #32

    SRIGGA said:
    I'm back. i got it fixed now after my last message i was browsing the web for little while about this issue and I found A Great You tube video About this issue. this guy did it different then what i normally did with windows 7, windows 8, windows 8.1. all i had to do was...


    1. create A Folder name Program Files (x86) on my Hard drive : D
    2. and then instead of going to ''HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion''
    3. i had to go here >> 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion''
    4. then change the ''ProgramFilesDir (x86)'' And ''ProgramFilesDir'' From :C to : D


    this Really worked for me. i am so.. happy now, everything on my PC works smoothly now whenever i install a software or anything everything automatically goes to ''D:\Program Files (x86)''

    I really do appreciate all your guys help. thank you so much for all the information you guys gave me. i even tried what
    [topgundcp] said and the salutation he gave me it works too but...
    when i did that my folders looks like a shortcuts i didn't really liked that look LOL so... i really wanna to find out way the old fashion way it didn't worked on windows 10 finally after hours and hours of searching. i found the salutation. still.. i really do appreciate all the help you guys gave me, my problem is now solved
    I'm just wondering if you have ran into any issues since you fixed your problem. I'm running into the exact issue. Yeah, I could manually type in D:/ in the file location when a program starts downloading, but I'm like you in that I want it to do that automatically.
      My Computer


  3. Posts : 44
    19044.1466 21H2 Pro x64
       #33

    Yikes, I see this is an old thread, but is there any newer one addressing this? I see also some responding with "that is not usually done in any OS." I was installing almost all my programs in drives other than the default ones for many years, and even in Windows 10 Pro until recently. Another response I saw was why don't you get a larger drive? Yikes, that is also not remotely necessary, and if you install an SSD, let's say a 500GB one that should be plenty for your Windows OS, forcing you to install programs on it has a double deleterious effect. First, you'll be reading and writing to the SSD so much that you will shorten its life quickly (so getting a larger drive is not very good advice), and secondly forcing installation of programs on a 500GB drive will promptly result in "you're out of disk space" messages.

    Seriously, you used to be able to do this, but anyone who asked about it in the Microsoft Community forum got the usual MVP (trained apologists) saying you can't do that and the most honest among them admitting that Microsoft decided to "improve" the customer "installation experience" by removing the option to change the installation location.

    This is the BEST Windows information forum that I have found. Please let there be someone on here who has figured out how to get around just another of Microsoft's idiocies or evils.
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 44
    19044.1466 21H2 Pro x64
       #34

    If Microsoft doesn't support registry changes, then it ought at least check with its customers. If you search the Internet, you'll find plenty of people that used to install even the Microsoft OS in another drive. If they think about it, they should realize that also wanting to install programs in drives other than the system drive (for them C:) makes sense. For ever, almost every program installation always gives you the option of changing the installation location. Yes, if Microsoft makes it's updates automatically into system drive locations. that's gonna mess up when they run their updates (and we all know they always go so smoothly). Am I the only one who's noticed them consistently taking away our ability to customize configurations? Maybe they should make a new OS and just call it Microsoft For Dummies. Thank God for forums like this one.
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 34,933
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #35

    That particular key change goes back to around XP, maybe earlier. It's historical. If you search, you will find comment on MS sites that changing that is not supported. Those comments have been around for years.

    Yes, many programs support you specifying the installation path, but that does not necessarily mean the majority of the program by size is then on, say, D: rather than C:

    Why? Many folders may be created elsewhere on C: when that program is installed. e.g. under C:\Users\<username>\AppData\ , drivers, registry data, start menu entries, and in a good many cases in the user's library folders.

    Beware of arbitrary web searches pointing to historical ideas. Some things still hold true- others don't.
      My Computers


  6. Posts : 1,249
    Windows 10 Pro
       #36

    In my view the option to relocate the "Program files" folder should never have been provided at all. I suspect that Microsoft was pressured into providing the option and did so against their better judgement. Removal of the option would in my opinion be a good thing. I don't know if this has been done and have no desire to try it.

    Microsoft did warn that the option had known issues and was not appropriate for general use. Unfortunately, in their eagerness to provide what they perceive as useful information some people will publish these tips without doing proper research. This happens frequently.

    As a programmer myself (amateur) I can see some issues with relocating a folder like Program files. Moving the current contents of the folder is not a viable option as applications may have made private references to the original location and would break if this was changed. We are then left with a "Program files" folder in two locations, the new official location and the old one left for compatibility purposes. Most experienced programmers would readily see the dangers in that. Maybe these issues could have been solved without compatibility issues, or maybe not. There is always the possibility that a change may cause unforseen problems and these may not be apparent until long after.

    Windows does not control where applications are installed. It does provide the default "Program files" location but the application installer can ignore this if the developer so chooses. Most applications allow the user to suggest their own preferred install location. But substantial portions of the program may be installed in C: or wherever the developer chooses. The user may or may not be given a choice.
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 12,427
    Win10 Version 21H2 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro
       #37

    Adding to the mix of the foregoing posts is Windows, by default, creates the Program Files Folder for both x86/32-bit and x64/64-bit versions but also on the 64-bit version includes the Program Files (x86) Folder for the 32-bit programs one chooses to install. I've installed many programs on my D: [Data] partition as my C: partition is rather small at about 150GB while D: is about 780GB on a 1TB drive. Microsoft Office can be custom-installed in the manner but will still put a large part of itself on the same partition/drive that Windows is on, probably due to its intermingling with the OS.
      My Computers


  8. Posts : 1,503
    X
       #38

    The registry has been a source of both pleasure and pain. This is just one of the latter.

    Moving a program from one location to another (C: to D:) should be as simple as one folder-copy command.

    If additional config changes need be made to accommodate the move, then fine ... so long as they are fast and easy. But with crud spattered all over the registry they are neither.
    LMiller7 said:
    In my view the option to relocate the "Program files" folder should never have been provided at all. I suspect that Microsoft was pressured into providing the option and did so against their better judgement. Removal of the option would in my opinion be a good thing. I don't know if this has been done and have no desire to try it.
    Microsoft did warn that the option had known issues and was not appropriate for general use. Unfortunately, in their eagerness to provide what they perceive as useful information some people will publish these tips without doing proper research. This happens frequently.
    As a programmer myself (amateur) I can see some issues with relocating a folder like Program files. Moving the current contents of the folder is not a viable option as applications may have made private references to the original location and would break if this was changed. We are then left with a "Program files" folder in two locations, the new official location and the old one left for compatibility purposes. Most experienced programmers would readily see the dangers in that. Maybe these issues could have been solved without compatibility issues, or maybe not. There is always the possibility that a change may cause unforseen problems and these may not be apparent until long after.
    Windows does not control where applications are installed. It does provide the default "Program files" location but the application installer can ignore this if the developer so chooses. Most applications allow the user to suggest their own preferred install location. But substantial portions of the program may be installed in C: or wherever the developer chooses. The user may or may not be given a choice.
      My Computer


  9. Posts : 12,427
    Win10 Version 21H2 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro
       #39

    margrave55 said:
    Moving a program from one location to another (C: to D:) should be as simple as one folder-copy command.
    It was a little easier back in the DOS days but there were still other things to change such as a menu that gave choices of what to open.

    The main issues with Windows for a long time has been moving. A program can be moved to a different location but that breaks the ability to use it.

    In Windows, programs have to be installed or uninstalled before installing in a new place. It has to do with the main files being in place, Registry entries being made so Windows knows where to find and how to run the program, support files being put in place and icons created in the Start menu so the program can be opened. These are the processes the install routine for programs take care of so we don't have to.
      My Computers


  10. Posts : 44
    19044.1466 21H2 Pro x64
       #40

    dalchina said:
    That particular key change goes back to around XP, maybe earlier. It's historical. If you search, you will find comment on MS sites that changing that is not supported. Those comments have been around for years.

    Yes, many programs support you specifying the installation path, but that does not necessarily mean the majority of the program by size is then on, say, D: rather than C:

    Why? Many folders may be created elsewhere on C: when that program is installed. e.g. under C:\Users\<username>\AppData\ , drivers, registry data, start menu entries, and in a good many cases in the user's library folders.

    Beware of arbitrary web searches pointing to historical ideas. Some things still hold true- others don't.
    I just recently ran Ccleaner's duplicate files check and found curiously that even after I change the Downloads location via the prescribed Microsoft procedure, Microsoft copies the exact same files on the exact same date and time in both the changed location and in its own "because we decided to do it" location.

    How To Change Program Files Location In Windows 10-cclean_ss.png

    There are tons of these ... duplicates created by the Microsoft OS presumably (I see no reason for them to be created otherwise). If you have some explanation for this, please enlighten me.
      My Computer


 

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