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Windows 7: Install personal programs to a partition separate from OS partition?


27 Mar 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 
Install personal programs to a partition separate from OS partition?

Hello.

I have bought a powerful new computer preloaded with Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit) and I would like to try and make future life with this computer and Windows 7 as easy as possible.

So I am wondering if I create a new separate d:\ partition and restore all my old and new programs and my data files to that d:\ partition, will all my own programs operate? For example, will Firefox operate if I install it to the new d:\ partition? And if I install Firefox to the d:\ partition will it install entirely to that new partition, or will it throw certain Firefox files into c:\windows or possibly other directories on the c:\ drive?

The reason I am asking is that it seems to me that it would be great if I could occasionally reinstall Windows 7 to the c:\ drive (after formatting the c:\ drive first). As reinstalling Windows 7 from the Recovery partition is so easy, it would be great to know that if Windows 7 becomes sluggish or develops problems at some point in the future, or if I just mess it up with configurations and I want to get back to the clean factory default, I could just reinstall it to c:\ WITHOUT losing all my own programs and my own data on the separate d:\ partition (of course I would always have been saving everything of my own to that separate d:\ partition).

What's causing me to ask this question is my recollection that back when I was using Windows 3.1, many years ago, a number of my personal programs (like Microsoft Word, for example) used to place *.ini files and certain other files into the c:\windows or system directory. This may still be the case. On the other hand, Windows 7 is clearly a powerful program and maybe there are now ways to avoid mixing my programs and data into the c:\ drive?

Or does Windows 7 operate very much like XP and earlier Windows programs, in that you need to install all your own personal programs to the drive where the operating system is situated (usually the c:\ drive)?

Thank you .

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

27 Mar 2012   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

Some will work if installed onto a drive other than C:\

Some won't.

In any case, you'd have to re-install them to make them work, you
can't just copy them over.

I keep the OS and installed progs/apps on C:\, and nothing else. All
my progs save to D:\ and not into the C:\ drive.

I then use Image Backup to create an image of C:\ on an external drive.

This is updated monthly, or whenever I make changes to C:\.

Haven't had to re-install from scratch for over two years.


Hope this is of help to you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Mar 2012   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

I've been doing this for a long time, I have it set with a partition just for programs and a partition for data as well. It never gave me any troubles with any programs, although some programs still do put some stuff in the C partition, but most of the programs won't.

If you use the windows recovery utility that came with your computer, remember that there's always a chance that it will erase even the data partition. My last laptop's recovery utility gave me the choice to format or not the data partition, but my new laptop's utility just goes and erases everything.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


27 Mar 2012   #4

Windows 7 HP / Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote:
many years ago, a number of my personal programs (like Microsoft Word, for example) used to place *.ini files and certain other files into the c:\windows or system directory. This may still be the case.
Well, that depends on where the OS is installed.

If the OS is installed on the D: drive, then your programs (wherever they are installed) will place the AppData on the D: drive.

Katanyavich's suggestion is worth considering, if that's what you're after.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Mar 2012   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I would say that because installed programs and the operating system are so tightly integrated, you're better off keeping them on the same partition. Keep your data (and any 'uninstallable' programs you wish) on a separate partition. Makes it much easier for restoring if the need arises.

~ Create new image of the OS/apps drive whenever you make significant changes you don't want to have to do over again (monthly or more often if you think wise).

~ Your data changes all the time. Backup the data partition daily, hourly, instantly, whatever you think appropriate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Mar 2012   #6

Windows 8 Pro
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Skylark View Post


So I am wondering if I create a new separate d:\ partition and restore all my old and new programs and my data files to that d:\ partition, will all my own programs operate? For example, will Firefox operate if I install it to the new d:\ partition? And if I install Firefox to the d:\ partition will it install entirely to that new partition, or will it throw certain Firefox files into c:\windows or possibly other directories on the c:\ drive?

The reason I am asking is that it seems to me that it would be great if I could occasionally reinstall Windows 7 to the c:\ drive (after formatting the c:\ drive first). As reinstalling Windows 7 from the Recovery partition is so easy, it would be great to know that if Windows 7 becomes sluggish or develops problems at some point in the future, or if I just mess it up with configurations and I want to get back to the clean factory default, I could just reinstall it to c:\ WITHOUT losing all my own programs and my own data on the separate d:\ partition (of course I would always have been saving everything of my own to that separate d:\ partition).


Or does Windows 7 operate very much like XP and earlier Windows programs, in that you need to install all your own personal programs to the drive where the operating system is situated (usually the c:\ drive)?

Thank you .
Creating a separate partition for saving your data files is indeed the right step.
As for programs its preferable to install them in the same partition as your OS for imaging purposes.
If you ever reinstall windows you need to reinstall all programs once more and it doesn't matter if you install programs in C drive or some other partition.My suggestion would be to create atleast 100 GB partition to install windows and all programs you need and then create a backup image of your entire OS.

Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download is a nice program i use to make a regular backup image of my drives.It is better if you create a backup of bare bones OS with just necessary drivers installed and another backup of OS with all programs installed.That way you can have a nice clean image of OS to go back to.

Hope this helps
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Mar 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

You could always install programs to other drives, but some files and registry settings will need to go on C. However, you are overthinking this entire process, and ignoring one of the best features of Windows 7.

You no longer have to worry about the OS becoming sluggish on it's own, as in XP. If you practice good usage habits, you'll be fine. There's no need to overcomplicate a computer setup. Put all of your programs and apps on C, and have a second drive or partition for your data files, and spend your time enjoying and using your computer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Mar 2012   #8

Win 7 Pro x64 SP1, Win 7 Ult x86 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DeaconFrost View Post
You could always install programs to other drives, but some files and registry settings will need to go on C. However, you are overthinking this entire process, and ignoring one of the best features of Windows 7.

You no longer have to worry about the OS becoming sluggish on it's own, as in XP. If you practice good usage habits, you'll be fine. There's no need to overcomplicate a computer setup. Put all of your programs and apps on C, and have a second drive or partition for your data files, and spend your time enjoying and using your computer.
I agree, but

Someone may have to install programs on a different HD/Partition such as "D" because of space issues.
With a small SSD "C" Drive for the OS, it makes sense to install programs on a different HD "D" drive.
If I did that, I'd Image backup (and restore) both C and D together - to keep them and the registry synced.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Mar 2012   #9

7 Ultimate x64/7 Home Premium x64
 
 

There is no necessity to install any programs in the same partition where the the Windows operating system is installed. The integration of programs and the OS is in the registry, not in the physical location of the bits on a drive/partition. See my System Spec/Other Info for my setup.

If one performs routine system maintenance regularly (much of which can be setup in Task Manager to be taken care of automatically) uses a good AV such as MSE, and practices safe surfing, there is no real need to reformat/reinstall Windows from time to time, either. I haven't done a reformat/reinstall since Windows 95 OSR2.

I use and very strongly recommend drive imaging as a backup regimen. I do full partition images, never incremental, but that's just a personal preference.

But if you do install programs to a separate partition, and subsequently you do reformat/reinstall Windows, you will also have to reinstall all your programs as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Mar 2012   #10

ultimate 64 sp1
 
 

good point, DavidW7ncus,

for example, i've only got a 60 gig ssd, and there is no way all my software would fit on that alone, particularly as i'm a bit of a gamer. it's not unusual for a single modern game to take up 10 or 15 gig or even more.

in my system, all the big games go on D: and my data on E:. however there are still some games - even mega huge-budget games based on the unreal engine (yes i'm looking at you, mass effect 3) - that won't work properly in this scenario and need to be tweaked in order for them to properly save games etc.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Install personal programs to a partition separate from OS partition?




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