Change default "C:\Program Files" folder

  Ben Avery (Work) 11:52 28 Mar 2003


I've got my PC set up to store programs on my D: partition and C: is used for windows only. Whenever you install a program, it automatically chooses C:\Program Files\*** as the directory, which means (in my case) having to change it every time to D:\Program Files\Windows 2000\*** or D:\Program Files\Windows 98\*** depending on which OS I am using. I store all my programs on the D: drive under these 2 folders so that any problems are easier to fix later on.

How, if indeed there is a way, do I setup windows to automatically choose the D:\Program Files\Windows *** folder?



  MAJ 12:33 28 Mar 2003

The default, as you know, is C:\Program Files, For XP, which I'm using (so Win 2000 should be the same) you can change this by going to Start > Run, type in "regedit" (without the quotes) and navigating to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version

Click on the Current Version folder in the left-hand pane and the contents open in the right-hand pane. Double click on "ProgramFilesDir" in the right-hand pane and change C:\Program Files to your desired destination. Then exit the registry. I'm assuming you will take the necessary precaution of backing up the registry before you make any changes, BA.

  Ben Avery (Work) 12:38 28 Mar 2003

Thanks chap.

I knew that there'd be an easy solution, just didn't know what it was!

No too au fait with the registry, have done minor edits before to remove traces of startup programs from msconfig which has been fine, but not much else.

I've got the MS info somewhere for backing up registry and restoring, but found it to be rather tiresome reading. Is there a simple way of explaining it?!


  MAJ 12:47 28 Mar 2003

When you get to where you're going, BA, i.e

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version

Go to File > Export, the "Export Registry File" dialog box will appear, give the file an apt name, make sure it is being saved as a .reg file and save it to your desktop or My Documents. If you need to restore it if things go boobs up, right click on that .reg file and choose Merge. That will restore everything to the way it was, BA.

  Ben Avery (Work) 13:54 28 Mar 2003

I've given it a try on my work PC (Win 98SE) yet it still tries to install to the C:\Program Files\ folder.

I changed the following 2 entries in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version

1. ProgramFilesDir from "C:\Program Files" to "C:\Program Files\Ben" (which I had created previously to test)

2. ProgramFilesPath from "C:\Program Files" to "C:\Program Files\Ben"

Yet, after a reboot (and a message saying that my Power Management dll had caused an illegal operation and shutdown - maybe a coincidence!?) I tried to install a program (AltoMP3 Maker for ref.) and it defaulted to install to the following directory:

C:\Program Files\AltoMP3 Maker

Why would it have not changed path? I have also run a "Find" in the registry to see if there were anymore keys named "ProgramFilesDir" as there are 2 users set up on this PC.


  Ben Avery (Work) 13:56 28 Mar 2003

there weren't!

Sorry missed that bit!


  MAJ 18:15 28 Mar 2003

Sorry BA, I've got dragged to the shops.

Have just tried it myself, I changed to another folder in Program files as you did.

C:\Program Files\Tony

were the default was E:\Program Files previously. I then ran the exe for PanicWare's Popup Stopper and it installed to the new folder without a problem. As I said, I'm using XP, maybe there is a different folder for Win98. Further investigation needed, I think.

  Ben Avery (Work) 15:27 31 Mar 2003

Thanks for that. Didn't get on my PC much at the weekend so may try it tonight. I am using 98SE here and 2000 Pro at home so hopefully it will work on my home PC.

I couln't really care less about this one!


  lemon2 15:37 31 Mar 2003

Don't most programs allow custom intall, which allows to browse to your desired location.

I've got XP and 98SE on this machine, and its partioned into 9 partions. drive C: win 98 only, drive D: win xp, E: program files for xp, f: program files for 98 programs. I've never altered my registry, I've selected custom install and then browsed to it.

Granted the default is always C: but every now and again, the PC automatically selects E: or F:

  Ben Avery (Work) 15:52 31 Mar 2003

Hiya lemon2

Yes I can do custom install on programs but what I was after is being able to save the bother of constantly changing "C:Program Files\" to "D:Program Files\Windows 2000\" every time I install something.

I'm just a lazy sod!



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