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Moving Installed Programs to Another Drive

Geezer from Ontario asks:

I just installed an external Hard Drive and would like to know if I can transfer programs by going to Program Files and moving the folder to the new drive. Will this work?

As you install more and more programs in Windows, the operating system drive gradually fills up with setup files that are required for an application to work. If your hard drive space is fairly low, you may have seen a system tray warning which says:

“You are currently running low disk space pc C:\. Click this balloon to fix the problem”

Clicking the tooltip opens a disk clean up wizard, which you can use to free up some hard drive space by deleting files and folders that are no longer in use. But this wizard only helps in cleaning up a few megabytes of space, and does not work if you want to free up an entire windows partition.

A workaround is to remove the installed programs from the C drive and then reinstall them in another windows partition, say the D drive. But this does not free up disk space on Windows partition, so using an external hard drive is to your advantage.

Another method users try is a simple cut and paste, which is a big no no. If you simply cut and paste the program files folder from the C drive in a non Windows partition, the installed programs won’t work. This is because every program has a specific registry entry, and modifying the location of the setup files will permanently damage the installation.

Steam Mover is a free program which can be used to move installed programs to any windows partition, without affecting the installation of the concerned application. You can use this tool with removable drives, USB sticks or an external hard disk as well.

Moving the Installed Applications to an External Hard drive

Go to this webpage and download the Steam Mover application. If you are using Internet Explorer, right click the link and choose Save Target as


After downloading the program, unzip the package using a zip utility such as Winrar, Winzip or 7zip. You will get a Steammover.exe file, as shown below:


The program does not require any installation, so you can simply drop it in a USB drive and use it on any computer you want.

Double click the executable (Steammover.exe) to launch the application interface. Then create a folder in your external hard drive, or any other partition to where you want to move the files and folders from your main windows partition.


Come back to the Steam Mover application window, and click the Browse button at the right. Then navigate to the folder which you created earlier.


Click the Browse button at the left, and navigate to the folder where the program file is installed. Generally, the program files are installed at C:\Program files\Application name directory.


Important: You cannot move the entire Program Files folder from the C directory to the new location. You have to individually select the installation path of programs and move them one by one.

Once you have selected the desired application folder, the application will automatically list all the subfolders in the bottom pane. Hold the Ctrl key and select each subfolder as shown below:


Important: It’s very important to select all the subfolders, do not ignore the folders with smaller file size, because if you do not select each and every sub folder present in the installation directory, the installed program might not work later.

When you’re all done, click the Go button at the bottom of the window, and all the files and subfolders will be moved to the directory created in your external hard drive. You may see a black command prompt window flashing on the screen for a while, do not close it.

In the same way, you can move all the other installed programs to either a removable drive or to any other windows partition.

Note: After the migration of files and folders is complete, you will see that the older folder structure is retained in the C drive and will read something like this C:\Program files\Application Name. Do not delete these folders, keep them as it is. This is because the application creates shortcuts to the newer file location in the older folder, hence deleting the older folder will also delete the shortcuts and the programs won’t work.

~Amit Banerjee