How To Relocate Application Folders Without Changing Their Installation Path

When you install more and more software applications or computer games on your operating system, the primary partition is gradually filled up with lots of files and folders.  When the disk space on C drive crosses the critical limit, the user is shown an infamous warning message “You are running low disk space on the C drive. Click here to fix this warning“.

The Problem With Disk Clean Up Techniques

There are different ways to free up some hard drive space on the primary Windows partition. This includes:

  • Cleaning up the temporary files, browsing data, thumbnails of websites and emptying the temporary internet files folder
  • Deleting Windows hibernation files / shadow copies
  • Compressing files and folders to save disk space
  • Removing Log files and system generated temporary files during installation of a specific program.

All of the above methods work perfectly fine but the problem is that only a small amount of space can be recovered.  You perform each of these steps one by one and can be rest assured that only one gigabyte of space can be freed up (maximum)

What if you want to free up some more space ? How about moving the installed programs to another drive and freeing up disk space on your computer’s primary partition (usually the C drive).

In this article, we will discuss a free tool called JunctionMaster which can be used to reallocate the installed applications from C drive to another hard drive partition. Using this technique, you would be able to free up a good amount of disk space on the primary windows partition.

How to Change The Installation path Of A Program using JunctionMaster

1. Download Junction Master and install it on your computer. The program is available for both 32 bit as well as 64 bit machines.

2. During installation, be sure to keep the “Shell Integration” option selected.

junctionmaster installation

The tool is a standalone app as well as provides shell integration making it easier to create NTFS junctions for folders.

3. When the installation is complete, open up “C:\Program files” and locate the installed application folder.

4. Create a new target folder in another Windows partition e.g ‘E:\Program files\Audacity”. This is the folder where the junction files will be created and original files from the C drive will be moved.

5. Fall back to the Junction Master program window and right-click the folder, choose “MOVE and then LINK folder to …”.

junctionmaster context menu

6. The tool will warn you about the risks of using junctions. Click “Yes”

junctionmaster warning

7. In the next dialog box, you will find the original folder (that you wish to move and right-clicked on) already selected. All you have to do now is choose the “New backing drive/folder” and hit the button “Move and Link” or OK.

junctionmaster move folder

8. Very Important: If you are trying to move system files or files that are in use, you may be barred from creating the junction. Hence do not move any system folder or any folder that appears in C:\Windows. Use the utility to move application folders only and be sure no running application is currently accesing the installed files.

junctionmaster move failed

NOTE: I was sure about not using any of the files within that folder. It turns out that Window 7 stopped me from moving the system protected folder. I tried gaining back control and then failed too. Finally after a few repeated tries the junction creation was successful. And I got this following message:

junctionmaster move successful

9. You can verify the junction creation by opening both the virtual and backing folder. As you can see from the following screenshot, the virtual folder only contains a shortcut whereas the backing folder contains the main folder.

junctionmaster virtual and backing folder

10. That’s it, you have just  moved all the core files of an installed application from the main Windows partition to another hard drive partition. You can run the program from the new location and check whether the application is executing normally as before.

11. Do not delete the folders from C:\Program files\Application. This is because these folders contain the shortcut files and act as a pointer to the new location (E:\Program files\Application folders), deleting the original folders will cause in application malfunction and the concerned application will not execute at all.

Removing NTFS Junctions

One thing to note here is that if you delete the virtual folder link, the backing folders will also get deleted. So in any case you wish to get rid of the virtual folder link, follow the instructions below:

1. Open the standalone Junction Master from start menu. Once it is opened, locate the virtual folder and press “Scan”. As the junction shows up, select it and use the button as shown in the screenshot below.

junctionmaster remove junction

2. When you remove a junction, the virtual folder gets deleted while the backing folder stays.

Hence everything falls back to the previous state, this is useful when you want to create a new location for the junction files and start the reallocation procedure from scratch. Simply delete all the junction files, create a new reallocation folder on the D drive (for example) and continue with the Reallocation procedure.

I tested the application on my lapotop running 32-bit Windows 7 and there were no problems as such. Do try this tool and let us know your ideas and thoughts in the comments below.

Image credit: chispita_666

Soumen Halder

Soumen is the founder/author for Ampercent, a tech blog that writes on computer tricks, free online tools & software guides.

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