Default installation locations for Windows 7

By Conger88
Jan 29, 2013
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  1. OK I recently got a new laptop with Tow hard drives, one for my OS and one for data.

    My operating system is on C, and I want everythin I now install to default to D Drive, is there an option to do this?

    Because C Drive is only 100Gb in size where as my D Drive is 1TB
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,285   +281

    There is NO option for that choice that I am aware off. WAY BACK in windows, I configured
    1) C:\ only for the OS
    2) D:\ for shrinkwrap software (ie products I bought)
    3) E:\ for user data

    With 100GB on C:\ you can certainly allow all programs on C:\ and create a \user\yourLogin\ on the 1TB drive
    for data. The issue will be to place a shortcut from c:\user\yourLogin\My Documents -> \user\yourLogin\My Documents on the 1TB and being resolute to storing files there {eg *.doc, *.xls, PICS, Music, ... }

    Wherever you install programs, remember, there is ONLY ONE registry and it is ALWAYS on C:\ so
    programs installed elsewhere can be a recovery problem.
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,419   +281

    Unfortunately I don't think there is, if somebody knows I'd be glad to hear it too. Out of habit, and now because my Win 7 install is still original from when it came out, I install almost everything to my D drive. Just have gotten in the habit of changing the letter on the installation path from C to D every time.
  4. fimbles

    fimbles TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 1,231   +119

    To change the registry, follow these steps:
    1. Start Registry Editor by entering “Regedit” in the search All programs.
    2. Locate the following:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
    3. Right click on the value named ProgramFilesDir & change the default value C:\Program Files to the path you want to install all your programs in.
    4. Click OK and Exit.

    Taken from microsoft community : http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/...allation/73450b25-d794-4f18-9add-75253b893343
    misor and SNGX1275 like this.
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,419   +281

    Sweet. Guess I just never really looked for a way, but I had never seen it mentioned either :) Problem is, if I change that, I'll likely still do custom installation to change the directory out of habit.
  6. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +607

    If you follow the above registry edit, you may run into some problems later.


    What I did is a lot safer:
    - In Win7, create new folders on the HDD for docs/pics/etc. Using the Libraries function, remove the C: library location, add the HDD location, and set them as the default save location.
    - Create a Program Files and Program Files (x86) folders on HDD. When installing software, just remember to change the drive letter. Everything else will be fine.
  7. Conger88

    Conger88 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 72

    Ok so, I have two options?
    this seems good?^^ what problems may I run into?

    At the moment I am changing the instalation location any time I install new programs but I notice my C:Drive is still getting bigger :/

    Are there files getting placed there without my knowledge?
  8. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,916   +9

    Many applications still install random files in %programfiles%\common files and/or \programdata. Your temporary files directory is by default also in c:, taking up space - %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp. I put my temp directory to a ramdisk that's cleaned on every boot.

    Changing the Program Files directory like that sounds a bit dangerous especially without step 5 - copy the old files to the new location.

    There's also My Documents & %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming where a lot of application settings are stored - they can take up some space too.
  9. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +607

    If you use my option, the files saved to C: are minimal. Registry items etc (as mentioned above) still get saved to specific C: drive locations. However, as I said, the amount is very minimal.

    If it's filling up fast (e.g. 10GB after you've installed all your programs) then you didn't do something right.
  10. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,419   +281

    Probably depends on what programs. I'm currently doing a lot (like hundreds) of cassette to digital, archiving and some cleanup with Audacity. A few weeks ago I got a low disk space warning on my C drive when I was expecting about 7 gigs free. It was Audacity using temp files while I was working with the audio, if I did a whole bunch without closing Audacity I would accumulate gigs of temp files. Realized this and then pointed Audacity to a different drive to hold temp files..
  11. Conger88

    Conger88 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 72

    @ stickman
    where or how do I do this?
     
  12. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +607

    Assuming Windows 7..

    library.png
    Conger88 likes this.
  13. Conger88

    Conger88 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 72

    Super, will try this tonight and yes it is windows 7
  14. Conger88

    Conger88 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 72

    Yea that worked pretty cool, thanks. Dunno why I didnt make better use of this before now... :/

    I have 24.5 free gigbs now from 100 gigbs. going to have to back back and unistall anythin I install on c by accident...which is quite a lot.......if I stripped everything outa my c:drive and was left with just the OS - windows 7 what size would this be on the disk?
  15. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +607

    A good 25GB I'd say. There's still OS, registry, swap file, temp files, hibernation, save games, etc..

    You'll need to change your drive letter when installing stuff too, by the way. The stuff in my screenshot is just the defautl locations for Docs/Pics/Vids/etc.
  16. bbearren

    bbearren Newcomer, in training Posts: 21

    My Windows 7 OS partition is 60GB with 34GB free. There are no programs or user data on that partition. The Program Files folder is on a separate partition on a separate hard drive. The Users folder, along with the ProgramData folder is on still another partition. Next month (March) I will have been running Windows 7 like this for 3 years. Two BSOD's - a failed graphics card, and a dying hard drive. No hangs, no slow-downs, no failed Windows Updates, Service Pack 1 installed without a hitch; in other words, no problems. It just works.
  17. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,419   +281

    I don't know what it would be for you if you tried to further slim yours down. But, Windows 7 will install/fit on less than 20 gigs. The problem with doing that though is inevitably there is some size creep and you'll run low on space. You can be very diligent and minimize this, but it is probably going to still happen. Personally, I wouldn't install 7 on anything less than 60 gigs anymore.

    Actually, I recently installed 8 on a 400 gig partition (its actually a 400 gig drive, old I know). And that is all I have on it, just Windows 8 and what I install. This is the first time I haven't had a separate OS and Programs partition/drive since about 1999..


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