Modify Program Files Path?, Part 3

Dennis Faas's picture

Ikara from Australia writes:

" Thanks, Dennis! I have been reading your [recent] descriptions and explanations [about disk imaging, partitioning, and installing to another drive letter] with interest. I can understand [the reason for wanting to install an application to another drive letter, especially in the case of disk imaging] ... but some installation procedures ... [won't let] me to decide [where to install my files]. The last [program I tried installing] ... was MusicMatch Media Player, [and] it gave me absolutely no choice at all [as to where the files were to be installed], and I had to [later] search where it had installed itself. I just wonder if it is possible to install the operating system on another drive instead? I can't see how [to do this,] myself. "

My response:

It is possible to install the Windows Operating System (OS) to another drive letter, but it's not recommended and that alone would not separate user data from the OS.

OK -- so why is it a good idea to separate user data from the OS, again?

The simple answer: an operating system should be kept separate from user files in order to keep a system backup (IE: disk image) file relatively small. If you plan to archive your backup file to a CD-R disc, the operating system image should fit easily on 1 or 2 CD-R discs -- providing user files are kept separate from the OS. Otherwise, it might take upwards of 20 or 30 (or more!) CD-Rs to backup your image (depending on how much information needed to be backed up).

Infopackets Reader David S. told me how how he changes his drive letter assignments during a program installation:

" When I install a program and the default is C:\program files, I simply delete the C and replace it with a D. I have left my C partition alone for a long time just wanting my operating system living there. If I do a reinstall of windows ... [I only need to format my] C drive ... and everything on D preserved. This has saved me a lot of time. "

Side note: Since most computer systems come equipped with only 1 hard drive, the only way to achieve 2 separate drive letters -- as in David's example -- is to partition (section) the drive. A hard drive can be partitioned using Microsoft's FDISK utility: the only catch is that all data on the drive will be lost once a new partition is created *if* the new partition overwrites the area of a previously defined partition. This is usually the case, since almost all C drives are pre-configured to allocate 100% of the hard drive's space.

However, there are also third-party utilities (such as Acronis Partition Expert) which can remap data and partition a drive without overwriting / losing data.

Getting back to Ikara's question --

Where is the destination folder specified during a program installation?

Most (but not all) setup programs will offer a choice to specify a destination folder, however, not all installation procedures are the same. Most setups are straightforward and will allow the user to change the destination folder before the commencing the install (as the last option), but, some installers may have the choice to change destination folders buried in another menu option. I recall seeing the "change folder" option in another menu under the button "Custom" install (instead of "Express Install"), and even an "Advanced" button during a setup.

The simple answer is that you'll need to pay attention when it comes time to install a program -- even after updating the %ProgramFiles% value (as discussed in the first section of this newsletter: link below).

Modify Program Files path?, Part 2; also see:

Modify Program Files path?, Part 1

Rate this article: 
No votes yet