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Old 05-11-2011, 04:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
Lord Techie
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Posts: 9,018
Lightbulb Redirecting Program Files and Program Files(x86) in Vista/Win7.

With people venturing to Solid State Drives (SSD) for their primary OS drive, I have decided to write a little tutorial I haven’t seen elsewhere, at least when it comes to users of Windows Vista and Windows 7 users in both 32 bit and 64bit flavors.

Solid State Drives still lack ONE thing, and that is overall reliability, though the life span has been increased, I still feel as if we are better off having most things on a traditional hard drive. We have two benefits from doing this, along with one con. (This can be left up for debate for another time, but share your opinions on the pros/cons with others if you wish)

The first benefit of having both a traditional hard drive, and an SSD in one system is the fact that you can have a snappy system at start and shut down, just in general, snappier, and go through personal documents quickly, and easily.

The second benefit, large programs such as today’s latest games that eat 12GB easily will be on the traditional drive, freeing up the much needed space on smaller drives. It is advised to never use all the drive space on an SSD even with the current technology, this comes from OCZ forums.

You are truly only benefited when using a 60GB SSD, or another small cheap SSD that is smaller than your normal OS drive, and a set of hard drives in a RAID 0 array.
The only downside that occurs from this, the programs that are installed on the RAID array, will still take their sweet time loading compared to the SSD, this is just a way to help cut on the costs of a larger SSD and still get a performance boost. Notice, that is in bold for a GOOD REASON.

I am one of those people that desire performance, but reliability, and doing it cheaply. So I have come to the conclusion of buying a 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSD, and keeping my two Western Digital 80GB hard drives in a Raid 0 array. I wiped the array out, and installed Win7 onto the SSD, IMMEDIATELY after the install, after plenty of research, I redirected my program files directory to the Raid Array for the two benefits listed above.

In my search online, many people have had issues doing this, it basically almost requires a fresh windows install.

Here is how to redirect your Win7/Vista Program Files directory to another drive.

*NOTE* This should be done with a fresh and clean install! Doing this on an install that is already in place can cause issues with currently installed programs not operating properly!!

Step One: Copy the entire Program Files directory to the secondary hard drive, if you have a 64bit OS, copy BOTH the Program Files and Program Files x86 directories.

Step Two:
Open Regedit with administrator access.
Navigate to the following entries listed below.
32bit Users: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion
64bit Users: Will be covered in step 3.

Step Three:
32Bit: Change your values in “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion” on the right side that ARE MARKED to the location of your new program files directory. Remember to use the path you have relocated your program files directory to already. Ignore the (x86) and wow6432node entries, those are for a 64bit only OS, but if they exist in your install, go ahead and change them.

64bit: First navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion” and make the following edits, remember to use the proper path, since my raid array is drive D, I just made a single letter change.

Second, navigate to THIS key, “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion” and make the following edits, remember to use the proper path as stated before, notice something funny? The entries are the same as before, but this step CAN NOT BE SKIPPED ON 64BIT INSTALLS!

Step Four: RESTART, do NOT install ANYTHING prior to restarting, this includes windows updates and system drivers, install them ONLY AFTER THE RELOCATION.

Now, if you right click on a previously installed program file on the desktop, and view the properties, it SHOULD have changed the target file, and location to the new file. From this point on, your default install path will be your secondary set of drives.

If anyone has anymore information they would like added, please let me know.
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