When we install new applications on our system, by default, they are installed in the system drive, which is usually the C drive. The 32-bit apps are installed in the “C:\Program Files(x86)” folder and the 64-bit apps are installed in the “C:\Program Files” folder by default.
If you are running out of space in your C drive, you can move some apps to other drives without having to delete them and then reinstall them at a new location.
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Program Files is one of the most important folders in C drive which takes ample space as more software is installed on the system. One way of freeing up space in the C drive is to change the default installation location of the Microsoft Store apps as well as Win32 apps. This will not move the currently installed programs but all future programs will be installed in the new location without manually changing the default installation path each time while installing an app.
Let us show you how you can move existing applications to another drive, and how to change the default location for the Windows apps so all new ones are installed in another drive. The methods discussed in this post can also be applied to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.
Changing The Default Installation Folder for Windows Apps
Through Windows Settings
Follow the steps given below to change the default installation location for Windows apps:
- Navigate to the following:
Settings app >> System >> Storage >> Advanced Storage Settings >> Where new content is saved
- Now click on the drop-down menu under “New apps will be saved to” and select another drive to save the future applications to.
- When selected, click Apply.
All new applications will now be saved to the selected drive. The installations will automatically make the new folders and directories along the way if and when required within the selected drive.
Using Windows Registry
The same can be achieved through Windows Registry. This method is the same for all Windows versions. Perform the following steps to change the default location of the installation folder for new installing programs:
Misconfiguration of critical values in the system’s registry could be fatal for your operating system. Therefore, we insist that you create a system restore point before proceeding forward with the process.
- Open the Registry Editor by typing in regedit in Run.
- Now paste the following in the address bar at the top for quick navigation:
- On right hand side window, you will see ProgramFilesDir and ProgramFilesDir (x86). Each of these defines the default location of where the 64-bit and 32-bit applications are to be installed, respectively. Double-click on both of them one after the other and define the new location where you wish to install the applications by default. We suggest that you create separate folders for 64 and 32-bit apps.
- Now restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
You can then begin installing the new Store or Win32 applications on your PC, and they will be installed in the new drive.
That said, you can also free up space by moving existing apps to another drive other than C.
How to Move Windows Apps to Another Drive
You can only move the Store apps from one drive to another. Win32 applications cannot be moved. Follow the steps below to move Windows applications:
Note: The following method is focused on Windows 11. However, the same can be applied to Windows 10 with a few minor navigational changes.
- Navigate to the following:
Settings app >> Apps >> Apps & features
- Here, look for the app that you want to move from the list and click on the ellipses (3 dots) in front of it. For Windows 10, click on the app to expand it.
- Now click Move from the expanded menu.
- Now select the drive you want to move the app to and click Move.
The application will now move from the main drive to the other drive.
If you do see that the Move button is greyed out, then the application cannot be moved. If you see that it has been replaced by the Modify button, then it is a Win32 application, which can also not be moved.
Unfortunately, there is no convenient way to move a Win32 application. The only method to do so is to uninstall it and then select a new location through the installation wizard while reinstalling the app.
Apply these manageable and painless steps to change your default folder for application installation. This may help you in making your system drive’s space manageable and in control. Now move any of your large files, games, or software between storage drives in a few easy steps.