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Windows 7: changing windows folder from default c:\Windows to another location

12 Dec 2012   #1
Evaristo

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 
changing windows folder from default c:\Windows to another location

I am thinking about changing the default Windows folder (c:\Windows) to another location, in particular to another drive.

I first thought that it should be possible just by changing the values in the registry for windir and systemroot and making a robocopy of the windows folder to the new location. However, as in order to access these variables in the registry, the hives of the registry, which themselves are located in the system32\config folder within the Windows folder, need to be accessed at startup, I guess that at least the contents of the config folder should not be moved at all. Do you know whether it would work to move the whole "windows" folder except the config folder to the new location (making if necessary a junction config folder at the destination windows\system32 folder pointing to the original config folder) and making the changes in the registry to point to the new location? If not, do you maybe know how can this be done?

Thank you very much in advance!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Dec 2012   #2
Dwarf

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64
 
 

Why do you want to do that? The Windows folder (and its contents) is essential for the OS to function correctly, and the OS expects to find it in the root of the system drive (C:\). In theory, it could be moved, but that would involve making numerous changes to the Registry to ensure that the data stored there points to the correct location. As the number of changes required even on a clean install is of the order of 5,000+ entries, some of which will require changes in permissions and other security issues, it really is a non-starter especially when you realise that a simple mistake in changing (or, indeed, failing to change) any one of those keys could potentially leave your system as effective as a big door stop with the only option being a reinstallation.

In short, for practical purposes, the answer has got to be that it cannot be done.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2012   #3
Evaristo

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Thanks, Dwarf, for the reply!

I just wanted to move the windows folder to a new SSD for a quicker boot up. I though of doing it this way to first of all avoid a fresh installation from scratch to the SSD and secondly in order to keep the folders or even the registry usually subject to a lot of write operations in the HDD to take good care of the SSD that can only handle a limited number of write operations.

Due to the complexity of the change according to what you are saying, I guess it is easier to make a fresh install to the SSD and use the mklink command to make some junction folders pointing to the HDD for the folders subject to a lot of write operations. If I proceed in this manner, do you know whether there is a way to move the registry to the HDD, so that also the frequent write operations to the registry do not occur in the SSD but instead in the HDD?

Thanks again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Dec 2012   #4
richnrockville

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1
 
 

Evaristo, welcome to the windows 7 forum.

Moving the registry to your other hard disk instead of your SSD would not use the speed of the SSD whenever your OS needed to change the registry.
SSD's are used because they are so fast and the files that the OS needs to read and write make them the device of choice for OS defaults.
Installing programs can be done to other drives than the C so you can preclude filling up your SSD drive.

Rich
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2012   #5
Evaristo

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Thanks, Richnrockville!

I thought the location of the registry in the HDD would not affect substantially the overall speed of the system. I guess it was a wrong supposition... But won't the frequent writes to the registry affect the life of the SSD?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2012   #6
richnrockville

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1
 
 

Evaristo, not really, The spec's on most ssd's are hundreds of thousands of read/writes. Most likely more than the lifetime of your computer or even you <GG>

Rich
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Dec 2012   #7
Evaristo

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Thanks, Rich! I will do as you say.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 changing windows folder from default c:\Windows to another location




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