How To Move Windows Software To Another Hard Drive Without Breaking Anything

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move windows softwareMove any Windows program to another hard drive, without breaking the program. If your primary hard drive is full, and what you’ve put on there is software, SymMover is what you’re looking for.

Many people add a second hard drive to their computer when the first one fills up. Moving files – such as music, videos or photos – is a simple matter. Moving software, at least on a Windows system, isn’t. Any attempt to manually move the folder containing the software will almost certainly result in software that no longer works.

SymMover solves this problem by moving the software, then using symbolic links to fool Windows into thinking your software is still located where it should be. And it’s not just for software – you can change the actual location of any folder without Windows noticing, making this a great tool for saving space on your drive.

SymMover only works on Windows Vista and Windows 7. Windows XP and 8 users are out of luck, at least for now. It also won’t work if your drives aren’t formatted NTFS, but if you’re using Vista or 7 that shouldn’t be a problem.

Warning!

Before I begin – a warning. This software is supposed to simply move things and add a symbolic link, but there’s always a chance something could go wrong when you’re messing around with system files like this. I’d highly recommend not using this for software you no longer have installation disks for, because there’s always a chance you’ll need to re-install something. You’ve been warned.

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SymMover worked very well for me in my tests; that’s all I can say. Don’t write comments complaining that you broke something and are angry with me and/or the creators of this software.

Using SymMover

When you start up SymMover you won’t see much of anything, other than the space you currently have left on your two drives or partitions:

move windows software

To make use of this program you first have to add some applications or programs which you’d like to move. Click the “Add” button and you can get started.

move software from hard drive to another

You’ll find a list of programs installed on your computer, or you can manually browse to any folder. Be sure to set your destination as well; by default it will simply move everything to a “SymMover” folder on your “D” drive.

Once you’ve added some folders you can go back to the main window. From here you can start the moving process by clicking the green arrow. As you can see, I’m going to move a few of my biggest pieces of software.

move software from hard drive to another

For best results, use Nyan Cat Progress Bar. Otherwise you’ll simply see the usual green progress bar, which is boring and stupid:

move software from hard drive to another

When SymMover is done moving your software, you’re done! Open your software to make sure it still works, and feel free to browse to the destination folder if you’re curious about where everything is.

move windows software

As you can see, my test program (Boxee) is working just as it did before.

Download SymMover

Want to try this out? Click here to download SymMover. Like I said previously, this only works for Windows Vista and 7; XP users are out of luck, as are (currently) people testing the unreleased Windows 8.

Conclusion

There are plenty of ways to save space on your primary hard drive. You can move you media files to a different drive. You could use dupeGuru to find and delete duplicate files. You could use CCleaner and CCEnhancer to remove files you don’t really need. Sometimes that’s not enough, however, so I’m glad I’ve found SymMover.

Did it work well for you? Share your experience in the comments below, or share other tips for reducing the amount of stuff on your primary drive.

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11 Comments - Write a Comment

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David Bobb

I always preferred to make the symbolic/junction links myself using a program like Junction Link Magic. Does the same thing, basically — except the process is a little bit more manual and less dumbed down. A little more ‘power user oriented’ I suppose — just like WinDirStat is for finding out what is taking up space on your hard drives.

Justin Pot

Some like simplicity; some like control. I admire both, so I’ll have to look into Junction Link Magic at some point. Thanks for the tip!

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Joanna

Would this be a good way to move my dropbox folder to the sd card on my netbook?

Justin Pot

Maybe, but you can easily move the Dropbox folder to an SD card in the settings. I used to do the same thing.

Joanna

Hmm. I always get the message “target folder is on removable media” and it doesn’t work. That’s why I’m hoping SymMover is the solution.

Justin Pot

Well, I got it to work on Linux, so Windows is clearly different in this respect. Give this a shot and let me know if it works, but know that removing your SD drive could cause some problems.

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JC

Acronis universal restore, and you can move it to any machine.

Justin Pot

Good to know. I’ll check it out.

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Bill

Great concept, but very buggy software with misspelled words even. Took two tries and a restart of the program for the default SymMove drive to finally change. Tried to move some folders and programs and wasn’t able to do it so the program tried to copy them back and more errors. I doubt the install for those that didn’t work will work again without re-installing, but haven’t checked yet. It did move a couple of programs without errors, but haven’t tried running them again as I’m afraid with the other problems, they may not work either.

This is the only program I have ever tried that you all recommended that didn’t work.

Justin Pot

Sorry to hear about your disappointment. This worked great when I tested it, and I believe it was developed by non-English speakers. Still: you’re right. The spelling errors are ominous.

I’ll try to find something with this concept, but better. Thanks for the feedback, and let me know if you find something better.

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venkatp16

Tried.. but it doesn’t seems to be stable..

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