How to move "Program Files" to another drive/partition



The way I have had my past several machines configured is to have a number of
different drives/partitions configured eg 'System' (C:), 'Programs (P:),
Files (F:) which contains 'My Documents', downloads, Setup and other files etc

On XP this was achieved by the brute force method - boot to 'Safe Mode',
move the 'Program Files' folder from C: to P: and then edit the registry,
changing every occurence of 'C:\Pro' to 'P:\Pro'. After this and rebooting
the machine worked fine and all new programs installed to the new drive.

I've recently downloaded 'Vista Ultimate' and have attempted to do the same
as formerly on XP as detailed, but after rebooting many programs will not
work, and running a Setup file from CD throws up an error.

Is there a means by which this can be achieved as it does make backup of the
System drive (C:) somewhat quicker.

Bill Frisbee

You can move the profiles via Local Policy via the MMC. It takes a little
work, but it does indeed work.

Bill F.


Why try so hard to complicate a proven operating system?
All you are doing is slowing the system down.

Mr. Arnold

Gew said:
I have another theory on solving this issue.
I'd like to keep NTFS junction points out of the picture.
Therefor, my solution goes something like this.

Change the following registry key:

This is Windows main reference on %PROGRAMFILES%. Thing is, Windows
itself is locking many of the files within this folder, so you can't
re-target the whole folder right away. So, grab an
FreeDOS/MSDOS/Hiren/whatever boot disc, and then move (eg. -'ren
"C:\Program Files" "D:\Progs"'-)

Some people say you could just boot into fail-safe mode, and you'd be
able to rename the directory. I haven't tried it, so I wouldn't know. To
be honest, I havn't tried this method at all, it's all theory for now.
But it sounds like a plan. Just to be safe, after successfully booting
with the new main registry key, plus the changed directory, you could
search the registry in its whole for oldisch \Program files\ entries,
and pull a simple "Replace all" on that.

So, any thoughts, ideas?

If it's not broke, then you don't fix it.


I would be worried about all of the references to specific program files by
Icons and other links and by all the services and or registry entires that
are installed on the computer that do not use "%PROGRAMFILES%" when
referencing a specific program file.

Mr. Arnold

Gew said:
I think we both know that is not always the case.

The saying above means you should leave the O/S alone in the area you're
messing with and not touch it, because it's not broke to begin with in
this case. So if it's not broke to begin with, then why are you trying
to fix it?

Eg. Windows XP was
most definitely not broken. It worked perfectly as landmark "Microsoft
standard OS", but _still_ the company started making modifications in
its behavior, thus the "new" Vista, hence the new W7. Not a perfect
symmetric comparison, but still, enthusiasts will always be aiming for
personal customizations et cetera.

You're mixing apples and oranges here. Windows XP was/is an open by
default O/S wide open to attack and lacking means of protecting itself,
until MS started hardening it somewhat with SP(s). One could and can do
anything he or she wants as an administrator or a program could do
anything it wanted running under the context of the user account on XP,
which was usually administrator.

Sure, one can harden XP to attack, but one had to know how to harden it
to attack, one must have the expertise to do so and most users the vast
majority of users don't have the expertise.

Many things implemented in Vista and Win 7 center around security and
the hardening of those O/S(s) to attack, to not allow anything to just
happen to the O/S based on user account permissions, not even the user
using the admin account or a program running under the context of a user
account can do what it wants with Vista or Win 7, not so with XP.
However, nothing is bulletproof either.


You want to customized something, then further figure out how to harden
the Vista O/S to attack.


You messing around with the Program Files directory, which is a
protected area on Vista and Win 7, unlike XP and is wide open on XP, is
suspect to say the least about it.

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question