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How to Move Installed Apps & Programs in Windows 10

Running out of disk space on Windows 10? Learn how to move Windows apps and desktop programs without breaking anything.

move-apps-windows-10

If you’ve got a lot of apps and programs installed on Windows 10, you might want to move them to another drive to free up space. It may also be necessary to change your default install location. Happily, all of these things are possible.

Windows has a built-in utility that allows you to move modern apps to a location of your choice. Although this method doesn’t work for traditional desktop programs, it’s still possible to move these programs to another drive.

Let us show you how to move an app or program to another drive.

How to Move Apps and Programs to Another Drive on Windows 10

The process you need to follow depends on what you want to move to another drive—whether it’s a native Windows 10 app or a third-party program.

First, we’ll outline the process for Microsoft Store apps, then we will take a look at traditional desktop programs.

How to Move Windows 10 Apps to Another Drive

This method will only work for apps that you have installed from the Microsoft Store.

windows 10 move app
  1. Press Windows key + I to open Settings.
  2. Click Apps. You should be on the Apps & features page. Here you will find a list of all apps and programs installed on your system.
  3. Scroll to the app that you want to move and click it.
  4. Click Move.
  5. Select the new drive from the dropdown.
  6. Click Move again.

You can repeat this process if you want to move the app back or to a different drive.

If the Move button is greyed out, it means it’s a Windows 10 app that can’t be moved. If you see a Modify button instead, it’s a traditional desktop program, and you’ll need to follow the method outlined below.

Related: Unnecessary Windows Programs and Apps You Should Uninstall

How to Move Desktop Programs to Another Drive

Microsoft doesn’t recommend moving the installed programs’ file location because it can cause issues, like the program not running or data loss. A safer, albeit less efficient, method is to uninstall the program and reinstall it to your desired drive.

If you want to proceed, create a Windows 10 restore point to reverse the changes if anything goes wrong.

We recommend using a program called Steam Mover. This was originally designed to move Steam games between drives but will actually work on any program.

windows 10 file system

Whether it’s where the installed program currently sits or where you want it moved to, any drive that you want to use with this program needs to be in the NTFS format. To check this:

  1. Press Windows Key + E to open This PC.
  2. Right-click a drive and click Properties.
  3. Refer to the File system to see if it’s NTFS.

With that confirmed, you can now use Steam Mover to move your programs from one drive to another:

steam mover
  1. Open Steam Mover.
  2. Next to Steams Apps Common Folder, click the three-period button to select the folder path on the drive containing the programs you want to move (for example, your Program Files on the C drive).
  3. Next to Alternative Folder, click the three-period button to select the drive and folder path where you want to move the program to.
  4. Select the program from the list that you want to move. You can select multiple programs by holding Ctrl as you click.
  5. When ready to move, click the right arrow at the bottom to begin. Command Prompt will open and process the move.
  6. When complete, you’ll see the new folder path next to the program in the Junction Point column.

How to Change the Default Installation Path of Apps and Programs on Windows 10

If you just want to change the default install location on Windows 10, that’s simple. If you’re on Windows 8 or prior, you need a third-party program.

How to Change the Default Installation Path on Windows 10

windows 10 change app install location
  1. Press the Windows Key + I to open Settings.
  2. Click System and then select Storage from the left-hand menu.
  3. Underneath the More storage settings heading, click Change where new content is saved.
  4. To change the default drive for new apps, use the New apps will save to dropdown.

You will notice that this page also allows you to change the default location of things like documents, music, and pictures.

How to Change the Default Installation Path on Windows 8 and Prior

Microsoft doesn’t recommend changing the default install path for programs. Doing so could cause problems with existing programs and some Windows features. It’s best to perform this operation on a clean system. If that’s not suitable, create a restore point so that you can roll back if necessary.

The majority of programs will let you change the installation path when installing them. It’s a minor inconvenience to do this each time, perhaps, but it requires no system change.

If you do want to proceed, use a program called Install Dir Changer. Download it from SourceForge and then run the program:

install dir changer
  1. Click Enable Editing and then click Yes when the User Account Control window pops up.
  2. You can set a different path for 64-bit applications and 32-bit applications. To set the default installation path for each, click the three-period button to browse to a folder path.
  3. Once you’ve selected your new path, click Apply Changes. Now all new programs you install will default to these folder paths.

Related: What’s the Difference Between 32-Bit and 64-Bit Windows?

Free Up Disk Space on Your Drive

Now that you know how to move your apps and programs and how to change their default install location, you can free up space on your drives. But remember to take all precautions when using third-party programs.

And if you want to salvage even more disk space, consider deleting old Windows files and folders. Along with having moved your programs to another drive, you’ll have a superbly organized drive.

delete-windows-files-space

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