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How do I change the default Windows installation folder?

Question: Hi Ricky, I'm trying to install a computer game with the cd rom included. It wants to install to the "C" drive, but when my original hard drive was fried in an unfortunate accident several years ago Dell came out and replaced it and said it had to be an "I" drive from here on in. So I'm getting an error that says there's no room on the C drive (because technically it doesn't exist?)

I've run into this once before when installing my Ipod and had to work around it to change something on the installer for the Ipod to go to the "I" drive instead.

I've looked online and have read that you can change your hard drive letter but that could hinder everything that is currently working on the "I" drive, no? Is there any solution?

Thanks
Jean
PS nice website

Answer: Thanks Jean - I'm glad you like the site! :-)

You are correct about existing programs not being able to run if you change your drive letter from "I" back to "C", because they'll continue to look for the "I" drive.

You could manually go through your registry and change all occurrences of "I:\" to "C:\", but that's a risky thing to do (not to mention time consuming) - all it would take is one or two mistakes and you could make your system completely or partially unusable.

It would be a lot safer to uninstall your existing software applications, reinstall Windows using the new drive letter, and then reinstall your programs to the new drive letter.

I don't recommend this approach though, because it's still VERY time consuming and you run the strong possibility of accidentally deleting important data files along the way (or worse, accidentally reformatting your drive and losing everything - something I've done myself a couple of times in the past).

Change the default installation folder

The easiest and safest solution in your case is to just continue using the "I" drive but change the default installation folder to point to the "I" drive instead of the "C" drive. This will force new software applications to use the new drive letter instead of trying to look for your non-existent C drive.

The default installation folder is set to "C:\Program Files", but in your case you should change it to "I:\Program Files".

To change the default application installation folder, open your registry clicking the Start -- Run menu and typing "cmd" (minus the quotes) to get a command window and then "regedit". For Windows Vista, you can get there by just typing "regedit" in the Vista search window.

Find the following registry key and change its value from "C:\Program Files" to "I:\Program Files"

Hive: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
Key: Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version
Name: ProgramFilesDir
Value: C:\Program Files

Please note that some programs ignore this registry setting, but this will work in most cases and certainly for all programs that are designed properly for Windows.

Be sure to make a backup of your registry before making any changes to it. You can back your registry by selecting "File" -- "Export" in the registry editor. Later, if you make a mistake or the registry changes don't work as expected, you'll be able to use the "File" -- "Import" menu to reload the previous registry settings.

I hope this helps solve your problem, and thanks for posting your question to rickysays.com!

Very helpful!

I just built my sister a new computer, and I made the C partition 30 gigs, and the other 280.

i own a lenovo desk top with windows xp sp2 and when i tried it to upgrade it with xp sp3 build2 found online. Then i upgraded it but was unsuccessful and pc gets restated in 5 mintunes.
Then i decided to have a freshly new instaled xp sp2 original one it was sussessful but on start screen two os are been shown, both are windows xp profesional but on starting previous one it shows continuation of upgradation. And the screen shows 39 minutes are remaining to complete, then it shows installing devices after two minutes while instaling devices at 34 minutes the pc gets restarted itself and agian same things happens and again restated and its going on till stopped by switching it off.
My very important data which is used for internet are been stored in the previous os so i can not delete it.
please help me and guide me to clear the problem. will i delete the new os so asit may be interupting the upgadation to take effect.
please suggest i will be very much thankful to u.

i own a lenovo desk top with windows xp sp2 and when i tried it to upgrade it with xp sp3 build2 found online. Then i upgraded it but was unsuccessful and pc gets restated in 5 mintunes.
Then i decided to have a freshly new instaled xp sp2 original one it was sussessful but on start screen two os are been shown, both are windows xp profesional but on starting previous one it shows continuation of upgradation. And the screen shows 39 minutes are remaining to complete, then it shows installing devices after two minutes while instaling devices at 34 minutes the pc gets restarted itself and agian same things happens and again restated and its going on till stopped by switching it off.
My very important data which is used for internet are been stored in the previous os so i can not delete it.
please help me and guide me to clear the problem. will i delete the new os so asit may be interupting the upgadation to take effect.
please suggest i will be very much thankful to u.

Wow!!! thank you so much!! =) i looked for this on the entire web, thanks man!! wanted to ask, can i do this with the "common files" also??? i would really like to as that weighs 400mbs already o_O i have windows 7, just in case

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