How to: Move Installed Programs to Another Drive in Windows 7, 8, 10

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'Ed' writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Back in the days of Windows 95 and 98 there used to be a utility called Change of address (also known as 'COA' or 'COA2'), which allowed you to move a program from one drive to another. For example, I could move an installed program from C: to D: drive, then Windows would run the program from the new location. Is there still such a utility available for Windows 7, 8 and 10? "

My response:

Change of Address was created by Ziff Davis and is downloadable through PC Magazine's website. That said, the program was made in 2001 and I am not sure if you can still use it on newer operating systems such as Windows 7, 8 and 10.

There is however another program that is widely used today that works similar to Change of Address. It's called "Junction" and it's made by SysInternals - the same people that brought us Process Explorer, which is like Task Manager on steroids. There's also 'mklink' by Microsoft, but some versions of Windows do not have it.

How Symbolic Links, or "Symlinks" Work

Junction works by using a symbolic link or "symlink" - this is basically a placeholder with a redirection to another location. When you create a symbolic link to a file or folder, the file / folder will still appear as it normally does, but the system will automatically point to another location you previously specified. For example: you could create a symlink for C:\Documents relocate it to D:\Documents. Clicking on C:\Documents would actually take you to D:\Documents, and any program that referenced the old location would automatically and seamlessly link to the new location.

If you intend to move the entire C:\Program Files folder (for example), you should reboot into Windows Safe Mode first, as using Junction on an open program will either result in an 'Access Denied' error, or possible data corruption. Put another way, you cannot move around files and folders that are currently open; by booting into Safe Mode, you will effectively run Windows in 'bare bones' mode, which does not automatically launch programs that typically start when Windows boots into the desktop.

How to Move Installed Programs to Another Drive in Windows 7, 8, 10

Using Junction means that you will need to run it from an administrative command prompt. To do so, click Start and then type in "cmd" (no quotes), then wait for Command Prompt or CMD.EXE to appear in the list, then right click it and choose Run as Administrator.

As a working example: in the past I had to move the '..\appdata\Apple Computer' folder for a user because it was taking up too much space on the C drive. I made an 'AppData' folder on the D drive using the command below; note that the '-s' switch means to include all directories inside of the parent folder (otherwise known as directory recursion). The command was:

junction.exe -s "C:\Users\%USERNAME%\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer" "D:\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer"

Note that I used quotes around the directory names - that is required if you have any spaces in folders or files. It's a safe bet to use quotes around the source and destination folders, regardless. I suggest using the "-s" (recurse directories) for all your symbolic links, otherwise your programs may not work properly. If you wanted to remove the junction, then the command would be:

junction.exe -d "D:\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer"

Junction Versus MKLink

Please note that Junction is not supported over network shares. For that you can use the 'mklink' command, but only if it is available / supported in your version of Windows. Click here for an example using a network share with mklink via the command prompt; it works very similar to Junction but the command line switches (parameters) are not the same. Click here to read differences between mklink and junction. You can download Junction here.

Additional 1-on-1 Help: From Dennis

If you have a file or folder that requires moving to another location, but you can't figure out how to do it - I can do it for you using my remote desktop support service. Simply contact me with your question and we can set up a time to meet online.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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jamies's picture

A facility that you could use -
You can use Storage Manager (M Computer >Manage>Storage>Disk Management(Local)>Change Letter and PATH
to 'Attach' a partition as the content of a folder on another partition -

A technique that I used to ease the loading from the OS partition (drive) - works for NTFS partitions, and there is? well used to be a similar DOS facility that worked for FAT partitions "JOIN" - and the also useful "SUBST" for using a partition letter rather than a long fullname - as in copy the contents of a CD to a folder and then allocate the folder a letter so the OS accessed the files using the letter the software's assumed was the CD's address letter.
Identify a path (folder set) that contains program files - .exe's and .dll's etc. that get a lot of use -
copy that folderset to another device - partition of a drive or memory stick.
rename the original folder that is on your OS partition, and create an empty folder with the original name
so - maybe there is
C:\progs (now empty)
C:\progsonD (the renamed original folder C:\progs)
D:\ a copy of what was C:\progs

Now 'attach' the new partition to the original partition as being the content of the folder on the original partition.

Now the workload of the drive containing the C partition is moved to the other drive ( or memory stick)

If files on that folderset are to be updated - it happens automatically to the files on the other partition.

And - you can break the link and either
copy the files back from that partition to the original folder,
or discard the changes by deleting the empty folder and resetting the name of the original folder

Advantage over the windows 'speeddrive?' facility for using a memory stick as paging file is - the life of the memorystick is not reduced by the large number of writes a pagefile gets - as the program files folders are mostly just read.

You can - delete rather than rename the original folder.

A further consideration if 'moving' files - Windows OS and software frequently uses the short(8.3)name for files and folders and drag.drop in windows uses the longname and assigns a new shortname - To avoid the problems that causes use a facility such as XXCOPY with the options set to keep the files original short(8.3)name.

Joe M's picture

A program I have used and works great is called Application Mover from Fundac Software.
It is simple to use. It works with XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8, and 10. There is a 32 & a 64 bit version. It will move all of the necessary files for a program from the "C" drive to the Drive of your choice. It scans the registry and other location for the files.
Give it try. Every time I have used it, it did the job.

INXS9000RPM's picture

I agree with JOE_M that AppMove by Fundac Software is a great utility for relocating Applications to alternative folders and drives. As a long-time user I can confirm it has worked successfully for me for 4 years now on reasonably sized applications, such as, say, Acronis suites. Also, I received a free upgrade for my 4yr old purchased license when I recently downloaded a 64bit version for my new Win10 system.

I too, try to relocate all my apps off Drive C: and off Window's folder. For one, each addn'l app that is installed in these "default" locations means an increase in the capacity and duration of my daily backups. And if these apps generate any large files, then the backups of Drive C: or of the Windows folder, get proportionally larger, undermining the purpose of targeted "system" backups.

What's great about the software is that it presents you with a list of all the locations, including Registry records, that are being modified. This step allows you to "approve" or to back out of the relocation step before any changes are made. It also provides a subsequent LOG file of the ALL changes that are performed.

If I need to verify the relocation accuracy, I can compare the LOG contents with the Post Installation snapshot provided my Total Uninstall 6 utility. Just like REVO Uninstaller, I use TU6 to monitor my installations, so I can subsequently search the "snapshot" for the installed locations (or registry keys) of key files or control data. It also provides a safeguard against incomplete Uninstalls by the App's own uninstaller, allowing you to use TU6 to "clean-up" any residue files or registry settings.

jamies's picture

Joe M & INXS900RPM
Thanks for that -
While I recognise that moving 'stuff' to another drive actually increases my vulnerability to losing a system's usefulness - as in loss of either drive will stop the OS (well the APPS at least) working (note the process I detailed was to COPY).

Moving 'stuff' to a separate partition on the same drive as the OS and having a full log of the changes - great idea - keeps the OS backup small - but the problem then is to ensure you have adequate (matching) backup of the associated partition to restore the system onto a new drive in the event of drive failure.

But - I like the log facility - maybe even worth moving 'stuff' from the OS partition and back just to get the log of what is associated with the App or utility.