Choose where you want to install your programs in Windows

By default, Microsoft assigns a default path in Windows to install all applications and programs. As a general rule, this path is usually “C: / Program files”. In some cases, some applications may offer us the possibility of choosing the path where we want to install the program. In others they are installed directly by default, so what we are going to show you below may be useful to us, how to change the default installation directory of programs in Windows.

If the drive where the applications are installed by default does not have much space or we simply want to install the applications on another drive or partition by default, then we recommend that you follow the steps that we are going to show below to learn how to change installation path of the applications that Windows establishes by default.

How to replace the path from the Registry

To replace the default installation path, it will be necessary to access the Windows registry and make a change. This is essential because from the system configuration interface we will not be able to do it. To access the Registry Editor we must press the keyboard shortcut “Windows + R” and type regedit. Once inside, first of all, it is advisable to make a backup copy of the registry values. In this way, we will have a backup in case after making the modification we need to restore the values.

We will do this by clicking on the “File” and “Export” tab. We will select a folder where to save the export file and we will assign it a name to be able to identify it if necessary. Once finished, we proceed to make the pertinent modifications.

The first thing we are going to do is get to the registry path that determines the default installation of the programs, so we will have to navigate to the following address:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / SOFTWARE / Microsoft / Windows / CurrentVersion

Once here we can find the value “ProgramFilesdir”. In the case that we are using a 64-bit version of Windows, we will find two values, “ProgramFilesDir” and “ProgramFilesDir (x86)”.

Registry Editor change ProgramFilesDr value

Next, we must double-click on each one of them, to be able to edit its value and replace the path established by default in Windows with the one we want. In this way we are going to change the value “C: / Program Files” to, for example, “C: / Program Files” or “D: / Applications”. In the event that at any time we want to undo this change or change the default path for installing applications, it will only be necessary to repeat the process and indicate the desired path. Once the changes have been applied, we restart the computer so that they take effect.

For Microsoft Store apps and other files

At present it is quite common for our computer to have two hard drives or SSDs. One, the main one, where the operating system is installed, as well as a secondary one for Apps downloaded from Windows Store or different files for storage such as photos, documents, music files, etc. In this case, Windows will allow us to change the default content storage location, from its Settings section.

To do this, we will press the keyboard shortcut «Windows + I» which will automatically open the «Settings» window. Here we click on the “System” option. Later, in the left column, click on the “Storage” section. Next, we move the panel on the right to the bottom and click on the section of “Change storage location for new content”.

Settings change storage location

Now it shows us a new window where we can change where Microsoft Store applications, documents, music, images, videos and maps are saved by default. It will only be necessary to click on the drop-down of each of the options and choose the hard drive where we want all the content to be saved from now on. Finally, we restart the computer to make sure that the changes have been saved and the files are already saved by default in the new chosen drive.

Change the storage location for new content

Move programs to other folders with FolderMove

It is also possible to use third-party applications such as FolderMove, which has been designed to allow us to move the folder of a program that we have installed to another directory without this program stopping working and without losing its original directory. For this, this software makes use of symbolic links. In this way, the program moves a folder with all its contents while creating a symbolic link from the original directory to the new one. So when Windows tries to access the original directory, it redirects you to the new directory wherever you are.

For this, it will be necessary for us to download FolderMove from the developer’s own website. The software is free and also portable, so it does not require installation to use. Once downloaded to our computer, we execute it with administrator permissions. Next, a Windows warning will appear indicating that the application may be dangerous, because it does not have a valid digital signature. We run it anyway and its main menu appears.

FolderMove change programs path

In this main window, what we must do is enter the source folder of the program that we want to move in the “Move From” section. Later in the “Move to” section, we select the destination directory where we want to move the folder. Finally, we press the button «Move and set Symbolic link». In this way, the program takes care of moving the folder and creating a symbolic link. Once finished, all the data in the source folder will be moved to the new destination folder. Thus, every time Windows tries to enter the program directly, the new directory will open.

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