By Ivy / Last Updated November 19, 2020

When need to move program files to another drive?

Actually, the default location of most program are C: drive if you don't manually change it. Thus, sooner or later, the system partition will run out of space owing to increasingly programs, which will slow down the performance.

And the situation may be more serious especially when you install a large amount of software on your computer. This is the most important reason why users want to move program files to another drive on Windows 10/8/7. Here are two common situations.

Situation 1: Move program files to another drive on the same disk

In this case, you may be bothered low disk space warning and performance but only one internal disk. You could consider moving program files and program files (x86) from C drive to D drive or other partition with enough space, then save the newly installed software to new partition instead of C drive.

Situation 2: Move program files to different physical disk

In this case, you usually have one or more spare physical hard drive, and already migrate OS to smaller SSD in Windows 7/8/10. To retain better experience, you may want to free up the disk space of your SSD and move program files and program files (x86) from SSD to HDD.

Can you move program files to another drive?

Speaking of transfering files or folders to external storage device like external hard drive, USB flash hard drive, NAS or cloud storage device, you may think it is a piece of cake. Just copy and paste them. However, when it comes to moving program files, you may feel awkward. Exclaimed, this is different from what we imagined. Then, let's get the clear idea below.

Can You Move Program Files to Another Drive

Program files and program files (x86) folder (the x86 version is there for backwards compatibility and make sure you can run 32-bit applications on a 64-bit OS) is hard-wired into Windows. And there will be problem if it isn’t where Windows expects it to be.

Maybe, most of the programs on your Windows 10/8/7 will stop working or does not respond correctly if you directly drag Program files and program files (x86) folder to another location. The solution is to backup the system first, and then move program files with the solutions given below.

Backup the system just in case

As mentioned above, how to move programs files from C to D or how to move program files from SSD to HDD, is not a simple problem that copy and paste can solve. To relocate program files to another drive, you need to backup system first to ensure the security of your computer.

In addition, you need to know that every operation is at risk. For example, if you misuse Registry Editor, your computer may be crashed. And there is a risk that users cannot use the programs after moving program files.

Thus, no matter what you consider, it's wise to backup system with a trust and reliable backup software like free AOMEI Backupper Standard. With just a few clicks, your computer is backed up. And it avoid something irreversible happens.

Without further ado, let's get started.

Step 1. Download the free backup software, install and launch it. Then, click System Backup under the Backup tab.

System Backup

Step 2. Here, you only need to select destination partition by clicking where the arrow point and then click Start Backup. Because this tool will automatically choose the C drive and boot-related partition(s) required to boot Windows, such as, system reserved partition, EFI system partition. Also, it will backup recovery partition, program,& program files, personal data on it.

Select Destination

Now, you already have a system image backup and can feel free to move program files to D drive or another one. Once something unexpected happens, you can restore your computer to an earlier date by the restore feature.

Also, it can be applied to different computer with dissimilar hardware, such as, CPU. The premise is to enable "Universal Restore" feature in the advanced version, such as, AOMEI Backupper Professional.

How to move programs files to different drive?

Give up "copy" and "paste", here are 3 ways to help you relocate the program files to another drive. Please remember to create a system image backup first whether you are currently using Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7. It can help you restore system from backup in a very short time.

Method 1: Migrate program files to another drive using Registry Editor

Before you use this method, there are two things you need to do.
① Create a folder named Program files (x86) on another drive (eg: D: drive)
② Copy "Program Files" and "Program Files (x86)" directories to the new location first. Just run CMD as administrator, type the following command prompt and hit Enter.
• Robocopy "C:\Program Files" "D:\Program Files" /mir
• Robocopy "C:\Program Files (x86)" "D:\Program Files (x86)" /mir

Now, continue to see below.

Step 1. Press “Win + R”to summon the Run window, then type Regedit.exe

Step 2. Find the following path on Registry Editor and change drive letter from C: to D:

To Windows 7/8/8.1:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

Program Files Path

To Windows 10:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

Method 2: Move program files to different drive using mklink

The second method is to create a symbolic link using Command Prompt. A symbolic link is a bit like the shortcuts to programs, folders and websites which attach to the desktop. When Windows or any program tries to access the folder, the symbolic link redirects it to the new location. To put it simply, this method change program files location for Windows 10/8/7.

Step 1. Move “C: \Program Files” fodler to “D: \Program Files”

Step 2. Type cmd in the search box, click it and run as administrator

Step 3. Create a symbolic link with mklink.

If you do not know how to use it, you can directly type mklink in the command prompt window. You can get some information concerned to create a symbolic link. Then, use mklink /D link Target syntax to create a symbolic link and press Enter.

Taking create a symbolic link for “D: Program Files” as example, you are supposed to type:

mklink /D “Program Files” “D: Program Files”

“Program Files” is the name of your new symbolic link name.
“D: Program Files” is the path your new link refers to.

Mklink

Notice: The command mklink has two type, including soft link and hard link. The above link is a soft link, which just redirect you from a soft link to the folder where the files are stored. The hard link can be more useful, because it makes the files or folders appears as if it actually exist at the location of the symbolic link.
You can use the mklink /J link target to replace the above one and type as: mklink /J “Program Files” “D: Program Files”

Tip: If you have physical disks and want to move program files from SSD to HDD, you need to connect your HDD disk to your computer. Then, your computer will assign a drive letter or more for your hard drive. Finally, you can do as above. Aside by that, you still can use disk cloning software to clone entire system drive or hard drive to your HDD. It’s much easier.

Method 3: Move installed program to another drive using “Move” feature

This feature not only move program from C drive to D drive, but also can relocate program files. Just tri it yourself.

Step 1. Go to start menu > Settings > System > Apps & features, then you will see a list programs.

Apps Features

Step 2. Select an app and hit the Move option under the specified app, and then select a location on another drive.

Step 3. Click Move again.

Step 4. Repeat Step 2and Step 3 until the last program is moved to a new drive.

Warning:
Above ways can help you to move program files to another drive on Windows 10 in a way. However, all of these ways have its own limitation.
For the first way, you may encounter system crash if you misuse Registry Editor. For the second way, there is a risk that users cannot use the programs after moving program files. For the last way, you may feel boring and time-consuming. Beside, you cannot move all the installed apps on your computer.

Conclusion

Moving program files to another drive Windows 10/8/7 seems not as difficult as expected, does it? This article provides you with three different methods, you can try one or more of them to do so, namely using Registry Editor, mklink, or Move feature.

Please note that these operations are potentially risky, so a system image is essential. It's one of the most powerful prevention measures to protect data and system. No matter what problem your computer in, it can help you solve the problem and restore your computer to an earlier date.

In addition, this software is an all-round backup and restore utility with various backup solutions to meet your different needs, including file backup, partition backup, disk backup, incremental & differential backup, daily backup, weekly backup, USB plug in, create bootable media, universal restore etc. Any interest? Download the freeware to enjoy these features.