Can I separate programs and data onto two different partitions in Windows?

Anonymous August 18, 2014
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My old Windows XP system has a 140 gigabyte hard drive, partitioned equally into C & D drives. C drive is now full and I have added an extra drive, 140GB drive, which is  so far unpartitioned.

I assumed incorrectly that I could copy folders from C: to the new drive and then delete them from C drive.

Is there a simple way of using the existing C: partition for programs and the new drive for data?

  1. Norman D
    August 21, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Sorry for the delayed response, thanks for the suggestions. I failed to make the starkeith link but have a lot of reading to do on the other. A major worry is that "My documents" is an insignificant part of the C drive. The computer, an Acer needed a replacement motherboard and I am unsure if any of the Acer related files are still relevant or could be scrubbed.

  2. Oron J
    August 18, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    You can move your "My Documents" folder by going into its properties, choosing "Move" and then specifying the new location. In Windows XP, this would amount to much of your data as your documents, pictures, music and videos are all held in that folder. If you move the data that way, Windows will keep track of it so this may be adequate for you.
    Some of your data will still remain in your profile (that is, in C:documents and settingsusername), since it is saved in other folders like AppData (a hidden folder which often holds, amongst other things, such data as your bookmarks, email folders and contact folders). If this is problematic for you, you will need to move your entire profile. This is not trivial! The best way is to do it during a reinstallation of Windows, but it is possible to do it later. *** However you do it, BACK UP your data first! ***
    You'll find one method to move profiles at http://www.starkeith.net/coredump/2009/05/18/how-to-move-your-windows-user-profile-to-another-drive/
    Another discussion (for installation-time only) is available at http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/general-computer-support/7556-moving-user-profile-on-windows-xp.html

    As for software, you can specify where to install applications at installation time (usually), so again, you may be able simply to reinstall some large packages on the new HDD and make enough space available. The alternative, again, is to reinstall Windows and specify where the "Program Files" folder should go (note that some installers, such as Google Chrome, will ignore the settings and install the software wherever they want...).

    In short, you can move some folders relatively easily, but for a comprehensive solution, reinstall Windows and read up on moving the profiles & Program Files folders before you do so.

  3. Jan F
    August 18, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    The safest way to get e.g. your programs on another hard drive or partition is to re-install them and during the installation select a custom location on the other drive.

    You can try to move e.g. the folder of a certain program from the C-drive "Program Files" to the other drive and see if the software will still run. You should however not move the entire "Program Files" (or "Program Files (x86)" folder).

    The "Program Files" folder contains things vital for Windows to work correctly and moving it will likely result in your Windows no longer working. One of the primary problems with moving software is that a lot of them use the registry to store certain information like the path where a certain file of the program is stored. Some programs are smart enough to correct that path automatically while others will simply prompt you with an error.

    There are ways on the internet to move the entire "Program Files" but it can have unwanted side effect. For example once the folder is moved you will no longer be able to perform a repair installation or a in-place upgrade of Windows. Just to name you one known issue with that.

    Another option you have is to move your special folders as Hovsep suggested e.g. Pictures, Music,. Videos, ... You can also move your entire user folder ~ again, only YOUR user folder "C > Users > yourname), not the entire "C > Users" folder.

    • Norman D
      August 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks for suggestion, will probably need a re-install.

  4. Hovsep A
    August 18, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Special Folder Manager (Save Me): perhaps can help you.
    http://www.nezavisim.com/?cat=2&scat=8