OS reinstall - how to load programs from different partition

By mdevries
Aug 19, 2010
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  1. Last time I replaced my HD I came across the advice to partition it - so I made a partition each for Windows, programs, and data. Now, however I've re-installed Windows and realized that I can't just instantly access those programs as my fresh OS doesn't realize they are there. Live and learn.

    So here's my first question - can I get Windows to recognize previously installed programs or do I have to re-install them as well? If I have to re-install all of my software I don't see much point in having a separate partition for software if this is the case.

    Second question - Did I fail to do some sort of backup which would have made it so that a fresh install would recognize programs on a different partition?
  2. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,177

    A lot of programs will need to be re-installed. Windows needs to have file and registry information from a lot of applications or they won't run. Some don't need to be installed and simply running them will write the appropriate registry keys and you're good.

    For recovery purposes what I do is use Acronis True Image to back up my OS drive. Then if anything ever happens I just restore my image and install anything that was installed after my image was created.
  3. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] I'm a TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,316   +116

    Waste of time and effort IMO.
    Basically, you'll have to reinstall all programs for full functionality.

    There is an exception, portable programs or programs that run directly from the executable without install won't have a problem. Though they're few and are usually the really simple programs.

    You can probably run a good portion of your programs just by going directly into their install directory.
  4. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,357   +167

    Some people like to put their
    > Windows + programs together on the active partition (i.e. the "C" drive)
    > And personal data on another

    Then if you image the C drive, it's possible to restore Windows and programs (together) back into the active partition. (If this is your goal, u need to keep Windows and programs together to avoid the program reinstall problem)

    For my own use, i once tried the above approach and found it can be more a pain then an asset (so i agree with HK, it's more trouble then it's worth)

    HOWEVER: i would add the following advice (if it applies)
    I, for one, keep alot of media handy on my computer (music files, video, etc) things i want on my HD so it's easy to play but i know i already have backup copies of. Soooo... I create a 50GB partition just for media and other stuff i know i don't need to keep backing up when i run my backups. Saves backup space and time to simply keep a "Nothing on this partition needs to be backed up" Partition!
  5. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    Thats a really good idea that!

    I normally keep an image of my main W7 disc, which is used only for OS and programs. That way I just need to do some updates etc but everything is in place already.

    For my Media drive, everything is backed up, even though some items don't need it. I might have a look into that, as Video's are replaceable, but other items like Documents, pictures and other important information is not.
  6. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] I'm a TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,316   +116

    In this current computer, I've set C as windows, and I for programs and files.
    I'll never do that again :(, especially with changing the install directory to I every time.
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,357   +167

    Ouch! Yea, i've been down that road before also (and regretted it as well :( )

    Part of the problem (same as when i once tried moving My Documents to a different partition)
    > Often, if i navigated through My Computer by hand using Windows Explorer, (if only out out of habit) i'd often forget i had to go looking for Program Files and/or My Documents on a different partition than C! it was downright annoying :mad:
  8. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    That is a pain! lol.

    Though in Vista onwards I realised you could change all the links to your "username folder" (docs/pics/music/downloads etc) so its target was your second hard disk.

    Some things naturally fall through the loop though. I must admit to not having done that when I installed Windows7 though - I just created links to them on the left bar of the explorer screen.


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