Move Program Files to Another Drive on Windows

How to Move Program Files to Another Drive on Windows

Do you need to move a program to another drive? Here you will learn how. In this post, you will know how to do this task, in addition to backing up your system to prevent information loss through professional software.

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Nov 23, 2020 • Filed to: Take Data Backup • Proven solutions


Moving program files is a relatively simple task that Windows users are used to doing frequently. With a few simple steps, it is possible to migrate applications and their content to another partition or another storage device, generally to other disks. However, even though it appears to be a risk-free activity, there is a chance that the information will not be transferred correctly, so it is advisable to back up the operating system. In this post, you will learn various alternatives on how to move your programs and how to backup Windows in a safe way.

Part 1: Move Program Files to Another Drive on Windows

Q: I bought a new SSD, and I want to move my program files from my hard drive. Could you tell me which is the safest way to do it?

Moving program files is a task that allows you to migrate the folder where your programs and their content are stored to another disk or partition. It is an action that many users usually do.

On the other hand, regardless of the purpose or objective, it is always advisable to make a backup of the operating system, because, after a Windows error or human mistake, the information can be lost forever.

Loss of information when moving program files is more common than it seems. So, when you make a backup of your operating system, you will have the security and confidence that in the event of any error, you will be able to recover your information.

Remember that, no matter how simple the processes may be, when you modify or transfer information (as in this case), there will always be a possibility, albeit minimal, that you run the risk of it being eliminated. Some reasons may be: the unfortunate coincidence that there is a power outage at the time of the transfer, that there is an error in the process, that the source disk has some failure due to work overload, or even the program files get damaged at the moment of the relocation.

Perhaps everything I mentioned sounds exaggerated; but it will never be counterproductive to keep in mind that this possibility, no matter how remote, exists and can affect you.

Part 2: Situations of Moving Program Files to Another Drive on Windows

Depending on what you want to do, there are two different situations for moving program files to another drive on Windows. Next, I'll explain what each one is about:

1. Move program files to another drive on the same disk: This method is useful for those users who want to transfer the program files to a different partition, freeing up space on the drive where the user installed Windows. Also, it can be a security mechanism, since, if for some reason you need to format or reinstall Windows, all the information you have on the partitions outside the C drive will not be affected under any circumstances.

2. Move program files to different physical disk: If you want to free up space on your disk or you want it to work less forcefully, or it is crashing, and you want to change it for a new one, this option is very functional. There is the possibility that you can migrate your program files to another disk, and you can do it without any restrictions.

Part 3: Backup the System Before Moving Program Files

As I mentioned in part 1 of this post, you must make a Windows backup before moving your program files, since this process can generate transfer problems and threaten your information. Although it is not a fact that happens often, it is highly recommended to do this task.

To do this process the best option is through AOMEI Backupper, a professional application to make all kinds of backups, including your operating system.

If you want to backup Windows, all you have to do is follow the steps that I will show you next:

Step 1: Start the process


After you installed and launched AOMEI Backupper, click on Backup from the left list and then click on System Backup.

Step 2: Modify the task name and select the destination path


Modify the task name clicking on the pencil icon next to System Backup (1). AOMEI Backupper selects the system and boot drives automatically as the source partitions. Choose the destination path by clicking on the white box with the folder icon to save the Windows image file.

Step 3: Start to back up


Now, click on Start Backup, and AOMEI Backupper will begin the backup process.

Step 4: Confirm


After AOMEI finished the backup process, click on Finish, and your system backup file should be ready to work.

Part 4: Move Program Files for More Space or Better Performance

If you have already backed up your operating system, you will be able to move your program files with complete freedom and peace of mind. There are several alternatives to perform this task, I will show you the three most efficient below.

Method 1: Migrate program files to another drive using Registry Editor

With the Registry Editor tool, you can migrate program files. You can follow these steps to do it:

Step 1: Copy Program Files and Program Files (x86) folders on the new target drive


Go to the source drive. Copy Program Files and Program Files (x86) folders; then, paste both folders to the target drive.

Step 2: Open Registry Editor tool


Press and hold Win key + R to open the Run tool. Type regedit and click on OK to open the Registry Editor tool.

Step 3: Edit Program Files and Program Files (x86) locations


After you opened the Registry Editor tool, click on the folders from the left list. This is the indicated path to access to Program Files and Program Files (x86): HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\Windows\CurrentVersion

Step 4: Modify Program Files location


In this window, click ProgramFilesDir and select Modify… from the drop-down list.

Step 5: Edit location


You have to change the location in this dialog box. Erase the first letter and type the letter of the drive where you want to move the Program Files. Then, click on OK, and you should repeat the steps 4 and 5 to relocate Program Files (x86) as well.

Method 2: Move program files to different drive using mklink

This alternative allows you to relocate Program Files through mklink command in Command Prompt tool. To perform this task, you must do the following:

Step 1: Copy Program Files and Program Files (x86) folders on the new target drive


Go to the source drive. Copy Program Files and Program Files (x86) folders; then, paste both folders to the target drive.

Step 2: Open Command Prompt tool


Click on the Windows icon and type cmd. Then right-click on Command Prompt and click on Run as administrator from the drop-down list.

Step 3: Type mklink and the corresponding commands to migrate Program Files


After opening Command Prompt tool, type mklink and press Enter; now, type this command: /J "Program Files" "D: Program Files" and press Enter one more time.

In this case, the new directory of Program Files is the D: Drive. You should type the corresponding letter of your drive to migrate Program Files correctly.

Method 3. Relocate program files to another drive using the Move feature

In the Apps & Features section of Windows Settings, you can relocate a program and its files. To do it, you only need to follow the next steps:

Step 1: Go to Windows settings


Click on the Windows icon, now click on the gear icon to open Windows settings.

Step 2: Click on Apps


Once you entered Windows Settings, click on Apps.

Step 3: Find the program you want to relocate


Scroll and find the program you want to relocate. Once you found it click on Move.

Step 4: Change program location


Click on the white box from the dialog box. Now, choose the new location of your program and, finally, click on Move.

Step 5: Confirm


To confirm you did the task well, repeat steps 3 and 4. If This PC is listed as a location to move the program, this will let you know that you relocated it correctly, and it is stored in the drive that you selected.


Moving program files is a common task for many users, whether to free up disk space, improve performance, or upgrade to a new storage device. Whatever the goal, it turns out to be a useful task, and it offers several advantages, specifically saving a lot of time. Even though it is generally a safe process, it is advisable to make a backup of your operating system to avoid risks. Thanks to AOMEI Backupper, you will be able to do this task in a matter of minutes and through simple steps to do.

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