Running out of disk space on Windows 10? Learn how to move Windows apps and desktop programs without breaking anything.
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.
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.
This method will only work for apps that you have installed from the Microsoft Store.
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.
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.
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:
With that confirmed, you can now use Steam Mover to move your programs from one drive to another:
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.
You will notice that this page also allows you to change the default location of things like documents, music, and pictures.
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:
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.
Need to clear disk space on your Windows computer? Here are the Windows files and folders that can be safely deleted to free up disk space.
About The Author