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Windows 7: Program Files folders located on other (ie not C:) drives? (64-bit OS)

30 Apr 2017   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Program Files folders located on other (ie not C:) drives? (64-bit OS)

Hi there.
I have just done a fresh install of Win7HP to my SSD (which is C colon). (*LOL, I can't type the colon character followed by a close bracket - it puts a smilie in!) I was running the 32-bit version but I've now installed the 64-bit.

I prefer to install my apps (when possible) on a secondary HDD, in order to save space on my small SSD, and to keep read/writes on the SSD to a minimum. On Win7x86, this was no problem - I just created a folder called 'Programs' on my E: drive, and installed some programs there. However, I am aware that Win7x64 uses two separate program folders, one for 64-bit apps and one for 32-bit apps. Furthermore, Windows seems to automatically know which folder to use, which makes me pause and think "hold on a mo, I'd better make sure I know how to get this right".
So, If I now manually create two folders ('Program Files' and 'Program Files (x86)' ) on my E: drive, and if I'm careful to choose the correct one when changing the installation path from the default C: folders, will this work? Or do I need to take further steps so that Windows recognises the difference, eg editing some registry keys.... Or, will I now have no choice but to use the default C: folders for installing apps?

Many thanks for any replies.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Apr 2017   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit sp1

Hi StanStead, welcome to the Forum.

Fiddling around with Program files in Windows will almost certainly result in disaster. Leave Windows alone & only use your E drive to put your personal files, photos, music & games etc..

It's best to install any software programs directly onto your C drive, which is, as you have said is a SSD. This will provide the best speed & problem free operation. I see from your System Specs that the SSD is 128 GB so that should be plenty of room for Windows & any added software programs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2017   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Thanks for your reply, Ranger4. That's definitely good basic advice. The only thing I would say is that, while I'm certainly not an IT expert, I'm not a complete novice either (I managed to slipstream the May 2016 roll-up into the Win7 installation iso, following the instructions given on howtogeek and I think that I will be able to configure Windows correctly given concise instructions, so I'd still prefer a more scientific response than just "don't mess around with it", if that's ok. No offence, bud.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

01 May 2017   #4
Bat 1

8.1 home x64

Sorry but I agree with the "Don't mess around with it" statement. You're running a SSD to get as much performance out of a single core/thread CPU running on 1066 RAM. If You're that short of space ? Try reducing the Restore Point size down to 1 or 2% capacity and manually set page file to something like 2048-2048 (OCD You Know) LOL :) Run Disc Cleanup and delete anything in Software Downloads.

I'm a Hoarder as well as a Lousy Housekeeper so it'd be pretty hard to find an OS that's more Trashed than the Win 8.1 Daily Driver on My G780 laptop. The two folders add up to only 6GBs out of the 111GBs useable on the 128GB SSD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2017   #5

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit

I agree with Ranger4 and Bat 1. The situation is more complex than it appears.

I will only add that there are some registry settings that are often recommended to resolve this issue. But you would be well advised to avoid them. Microsoft does not support or recommend this procedure and the settings are provided for exceptional situations only and not for general use. There are known issues and I have seen members on these forums come to grief after using them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2017   #6
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

@ StanStead

I do understand what you are trying to do but I don't understand why.
I'm also no expert I.T. person, so my suggestion are from someone who has been there or seen other members posts who have been there.

I also agree that application belong on the 'C' partition with Windows 7.
If for some reason you have more programs than you have space for, then you need a bigger ssd for Windows 7 and your programs.

You don't seem to care to much for our recommendations.
Our recommendation are intended to help and do no harm.

Of course their is always a forum on the net that will show you how to do just about anything but in many case the members on this forum don't agree because we intend to do no harm.

LMiller7 post#5 explain it quite well.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2017   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Thanks for all the replies. The consensus seems to be to use the default installation folders, so I guess that's what I'll do.
(Layback Bear: It's not that I didn't care what people were saying; it's just one of those Windows issues where I imagined that there would be a simple workaround, or that someone (eg Nirsoft) might have written a little app to get the tweak done, but obviously that's not the case in this instance).

Anyway, I'd like to share a small quirk which I experienced yesterday, immediately after installing Win7x64 (with May 2016 roll-up incorporated into the iso):
The installation went fine. I used Advanced Tokens Manager to backup my Windows Activation from x86, and it restored fine into x64, cutting out the need to activate online. Then I went to Win Update and brought the OS bang up-to-date (about 0.5Gb of updates were downloaded). Next, I ran a full scan using Win Defender (no problems found - but more about this later!) Then I created a backup image of C: onto a partition on the secondary HDD. So far so good.
Next step: onto the internet to download some updated AV software. Internet Explorer 11 was problematic: I found myself unable to download anything at all, and the Temporary Internet Files storage size was set to 0Mb, and it couldn't be changed! Had to install Firefox from a previously saved offline installer file. That worked. Not sure what the problem was with IE11, but just to let people know: When installing Win7HPx64 with May2016 rollup slipstreamed into the iso, there might be an issue with IE11, so be sure to have an offline installer of another browser saved beforehand.

OK, back to Windows Defender: This was one of the reasons I decided to reinstall Win7 in the first place: I had been using Avira AV, but, annoyed with all the constant sales pop-ups, I had decided to uninstall it and just use WinDef for a while. I uninstalled Avira using Revo Uninstaller (and I deleted all leftover files/reg keys) and started using WinDef. However, after doing this, the Action Centre was notifying me that I needed to install an AV on my PC. Googled it, loads of other people saying the same thing; Action Centre not recognising WinDef as the AV program. Possibly some deep remnant of Avira left on the system. OK, I thought, I've been wanting to try x64 for some time, I've got the updated iso, my PC is x64 capable...why not give it a go and have a nice fresh system, and this time, WinDef will work without an Action Centre warning....
Here's the thing: It doesn't. Even on a completely fresh install (with WinDef updated and running), Windows doesn't recognise Win Defender as the chosen AV program; the Action Centre still gives that warning that you need to download AV software. (So I'm giving Avast a go).
So, there you go: two things to possibly watch out for, when installing Win7HPx64-May16rollup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2017   #8

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64

The only programs I do not install on C are my games, because they can take up a lot of space. I install them from C onto 1 of my storage drives.

But all your other programs should be installed on C, and as already mentioned, all your data should be held on your hard drive/s.

Keeping all your programs on C makes it much easier to create and restore Windows from a disk image.

A 128 GB SSD should be more then enough for windows and all your programs.

The only thing you have to fear are windows updates
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 May 2017   #9
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

AddRAM is a gamer and I'm not. I have no games.
His advice on where to install games sounds good to me.


Brian I'm curious; how much space does your games take?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Program Files folders located on other (ie not C:) drives? (64-bit OS)

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