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Change Program Files location in vista?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have a two hard drives. One with Windows vista installed, the other one I want to install my programs onto or speed. How do I edit the environment variables to point to another location (e.x. drive D for my program files?

I don't want Program files on Drive C: Maybe I could make the windows drive other than C:?
post #2 of 10
Pretty sure you will just have to change the directory every time you install a program, it should ask where you want to install it.

I also wondered if there was a way to change the directory for all programs you are installing, but I never found anything. I just do it manually.
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The Leviathan
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post #3 of 10
well if you use a program like nlite that customizes the windows installation cd u can change the default location for all programs, but if you want to change the default location for programs from now on all you have to do is use a ulitily like "tune up" and there is a option in my computer proprieties i think also.
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post #4 of 10
hi there,
i have just figured out a way to do this. here's a summary of what i did:

1. copy the 'Program Files(x86)' folder to another drive (D: in my case)
2. reboot, and press F8 during boot to enter the boot menu, and choose 'safe mode with commandprompt'
3. enter the following:
Code:
takeown /f "C:\\Program Files(x86)" /r
cacls "C:\\Program Files(x86)" /G username:F /T

(substitute 'username' for your windows logon name)

del "C:\\Program Files(x86)" /F /S /Q
rmdir "C:\\Program Files(x86)" /S /Q

mklink /D "C:\\Program Files(x86)" "D:\\Program Files(x86)"

shutdown /R
after this, your system should use the program files folder on the D: drive.

***WARNING***
The procedure described here has the potential of seriously messing with your OS. Please make sure you have backups of all relevant files before trying any of this. While this worked for me, i cannot guarantee that it will work for you.
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post #5 of 10
There is a key in the registry you can change, save all that directory linking...

type 'regedit' in the start menu search bar and click the icon that appears..
Navigate to 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \\ SOFTWARE \\ Microsoft \\ Windows \\ CurrentVersion' and modify the 'ProgramFilesDir' key to the directory you require..

Hope this helps.
Wizborg
post #6 of 10
ah, i did not know about the registry key... would that preserve the already installed programs though?
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post #7 of 10
This is still, in the upcoming age of Win 7, an important issue. The ProgramData setting can be set in an unattended answer file, but some people say that only changes part of the \\Program Files\\ directory, mainly the actual "ProgramData" part, whereas most software being installed is still landing in same old Program Files folder. Anyone who could confirm/deny this here for sure? Also, is pulling a "replace all" \\Program Files\\ string in regedit a safe solution? Or will I end up with an unstable system?

Ty in adv,
G.
post #8 of 10
Gew, you should only need to change the keys in 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \\ SOFTWARE \\ Microsoft \\ Windows \\ CurrentVersion' to reflect the changes, which can be put in a .reg file to run. I would also do a mklink /J (junction) instead of /D (directory link) as it's more stable. If you need a hand writing a .reg file, let me know.

It also works with the Users, ProgramData and Program Files (x86) folders (for 64-bit machines), though you'd need to change values in 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \\ Software \\Microsoft \\ Windows NT \\ CurrentVersion \\ ProfileList' as well if you were doing any of that. I've had this setup for over a year now, and did it again when I migrated to 7 with no problems..

Territorial, I know it's an old thread now, but as long as your Program Files directory is where the key is pointing, it shouldn't be a problem.

Hope this helps.
Wizborg
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wizborg View Post
There is a key in the registry you can change, save all that directory linking...

type 'regedit' in the start menu search bar and click the icon that appears..
Navigate to 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \\ SOFTWARE \\ Microsoft \\ Windows \\ CurrentVersion' and modify the 'ProgramFilesDir' key to the directory you require..

Hope this helps.
Wizborg

Would this work in Win7 too? I getting sick of having to create separate folder for each program I install.
    
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post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyldefang View Post
Would this work in Win7 too? I getting sick of having to create separate folder for each program I install.
It works fine in 7, please see my previous post.. ^^^^
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