Can I Move the Program Files Folder to Another Drive?

Can I move the program files folder to another drive? The answer might not be as simple as you thought but you can find available methods in this post to reclaim C drive space.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Is it safe to move program files to another drive?

The answer may be disappointing. Moving program files to another directory is not a good idea. Please don't do it improperly.

Program files fodler

Modifying the "Program Files" or "Program Files (x86)" directory may cause Windows to crash. Because these folders are "protected," Windows will block you from accessing them. And after relocating, even certain general software files are not guaranteed to operate properly.

There's a Registry that tells Windows where the program files for all installed software are placed and each program contains hundreds of registry entries. When you install them in "Program Files" (the default place), Windows will look for them there, so manually altering (especially via copy & paste) the Registry is not advised.

How to change program files location

Although we don’t suggest you move program files, when the C drive is running out of space, this way can also release some free space for your OS. So, in this part, we’ll show you how to change the program files location via modifying the Registry.

1. Move the program files folder to another drive in Registry

Note: Please be careful because any wrong change in the directory parameter may cause installed programs can’t boot correctly.

Step 1. Copy the folders of Program Files and Program Files(X86) in the system drive and paste them onto the D drive.

Step 2. Press “Win” + “R” keys simultaneously to bring up the Run box. Then, type “regedit” and click “OK” to launch Registry Editor.

Step 3. After the main window of Registry Editor appears, follow this path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\Windows\CurrentVersion

Step 4. Right-click on “Program Files” and then, choose “Modify”.

Step 5. Under the “Value data” box, change the letter “C” into “D” (or the drive letter where you want to store the program files folder) and then, click “OK”.

Modify directory in Registry

After the modification, your Program files folder can run well in another drive, and all kinds of stuff that will be saved in this folder will be stored on this drive, not the C drive.

2. Easily & quickly move program files folder to another drive

Moving the application files folder to a different drive is not as straightforward as you may think. To guarantee that apps that have changed the location of the files folder run correctly, you must manually update the directory path when using the copy and paste approach.

However, things will be different if you turn to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, the best choice for you to move folders. It’s a Windows disk/partition management tool for Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7/XP users. In this tool, there’s a utility called “Move Folder” developed for folder transferring which can move various folders at once from one drive to another.

And you don’t need to worry about the directory problem, the tool will do all work for you. You just need to select the folders and make sure the target drive has sufficient space to save all data.

Free DownloadWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Let’s see all details now.

1. To ensure the folders can be operated normally, please do not move or delete the files in the source and target directory.
2. This feature only runs between NTFS drives, if you want to move folders from or to a FAT32 drive, you’ll need to convert to NTFS at first.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant. Click “Free up” on in the top toolbar, and choose “App Mover”.

App Mover

Step 2. In the new window, click “Move Folder”.

Two Options

Step 3. Select the program files folder, and choose common files or some third-party files (system files folders are not allowed to move). Choose the location drive under the window, and click “Move”.

Common files


Step 4. You will see a pop-up message, click "OK" to begin the process. Then wait for a while, and the task will be finished.


How to move programs to another drive

If you want to reclaim more free space on the C drive via moving programs files, we suggest you directly employ the feature “App Mover”. It can move installed programs from the current drive to another, even the external drive. The tool will detect all needed data files and set all OS needed information correctly to make sure the moved apps can run successfully.

Step 1. Run Partition Assistant, go to “Tools” > “App Mover”.

Step 2. In the pop-up window, choose the partition that you want to free up via moving apps (here is partition C) and click “Next”.

Select partition

Step 3. In the window, all movable apps on the C drive will be listed. You can choose one or multiple apps that you need to move and the destination partition. Then click “Move” to execute the operation.

Tick App

Step 4. Confirm that you have closed the apps and that you will move from C drive to D drive. Then, click "OK".


Step 5. Wait for the move process to complete. Then, click "Finish".


Then, you can run one of them to check if it works well. In addition, you can try the "Delete Large Files" feature to remove space-consuming programs from your PC.


When asked, "Can I change the program files folder to another drive?" you can now respond "Yes".

AOMEI Partition Assistant is a versatile tool, with which, you can organize your device much more efficiently. For example, you can convert the disk from MBR type to GPT without losing data, clone an old disk to your new disk, and create portable Windows on USB… And this tool also has the Server Edition for Server users to easily manage their devices.

Lucas · Staff Editor
I prefer peaceful and quiet life during vacation,but sometimes I watch football match if my favorite club performs brilliantly in that season. And I love reading, painting and calligraphy, thus I send my friends festival handwriting cards every year.