Moving the Windows folder

I have a system that was set up as a dual boot system two years ago. I installed Windows on C(2 gig drive), and set up D(60 gig drive) for programs, data, etc. Now I’m running into an issue with space on the C drive. Is it possible to move the Windows folder to the D drive? I have the entire windows CD on the C drive now, it makes it easier to install/change drivers and such. What I was considering doing is dropping to a DOS prompt and running the windows set up from there. I’ve done this before when moving drives from one system to another and its always worked well.

So the question is this. If I do my first plan, and change the install location from C to D, will the existing registry be saved and updated or not? If not, is there a way to move the Windows folder from C to D without starting completely from scratch?

This may be more than what you want to do, but by switching the cable around & changing 2 jumper switches, you could put your larger 60g drive as C: and the smaller 2g one as D:.

You would then have to physically move the files from one drive to the other, and make adjustments so Windows knows where to find things. But this might be a possible long-term solution.

By far the easiest solution, if you have $50 or so to spare:

Go out and buy yourself a 20 or 40 gig drive. Almost all new drives come with a utility which lets you do a sector-based copy of all your data from the old drive to the new. Just do the copy and then toss out your old 2 gig one. All your programs will be happy continuing to live on D, and Windows will have plenty of space on C: and won’t know anything happened at all.

Yeah might be a slight waste of money, but IMHO $50 is definitely worth avoiding all the trouble of moving stuff manually.

Hmm thats an interesting thought. I could certainly do that, except that DOS is installed on C(full DOS 6.22, not the so-called DOS that comes with Windows). I don’t think its possible to move it off there, which would mean that switching the drives wouldn’t work. Though reinstalling DOS is a much smaller problem than reinstalling windows would be. Something to consider at least if nothing else presents itself. Thanks.

I forgot to answer the precise question that you asked. You didn’t mention which version of Windows you had, but in most cases, no, simply changing the install destination to D: will not preserve your registry nor most anything else app-config-wise, for that matter.

Simply copy (not move) the whole c:\windows\ tree to d:\ (including hidden/sys files) before running the windows installer, and you’ll likely be fine.

But keeping a 2 gig drive tying up an IDE slot in your machine basically just for the boot sector and 6.22 (and drive letter placeholder) seems kinda silly to me. At least with the sector copy approach you have a lot of space if you ever need it, and DOS 6.22 would get copied over to the new drive automatically. No need to reinstall anything at all.

Leave it in your machine, behind the 2 newer ones, as drive E:. Then assign that whole drive to the Windows swap file. Giving it lots of room, and on a different physical device, should help Windows work faster.

(This is assuming, of course, that this 2g drive is not a really slow one. If it’s much slower than your newer ones, forget this.)

But it seems the OP wishes to retain DOS 6.22, which cannot handle partitions greater than 2Gb.

There’s a utility called HDcopy - it used to be freeware, but I’m not sure if this is still the case - it runs from Windows and is able to copy the entire contents of one drive to another (including itself and files that Windows is using at the time) - I have used it several times for migrating a system to a larger hard drive and I have never had a problem with it.


Mangetout, this sounds dicey at best. If it’s running from Windows, how could it possibly manipulate the boot sector and such?

Usram: Good point if true; I was not personally aware of that limitation. (Keep in mind you’re talking to someone with an overlay on his drive.) But I had thought that DOS would have been able to recognize the first 2 gigs (depending on int 24h) no matter what. But you may have a point. I’m not sure what these sector copy utilities do in cases like his, but don’t you think they at least preserve part/all of the partition table? As long as 6.22 still lives on his partition he is safe, no?

Oops, I should have mentioned that HDcopy only works with the yWin9x family and You have to format /s the new drive first.

core, DOS 6.22 is limited to FAT16 so it simply cannot be installed on partitions bigger than 2Gb, unless there is some exotic hack that gets round the limit. Can’t imagine how it would work, though.

As I see it, if the OP wants to keep DOS 6.22, he/she must have a 2Gb (max) C: partition, no way round it. But why not just free up some space on C: (a lot of space, in fact) by moving the Windows CD files to D: ? I know that Windows sometimes acts stupid when you try to install drivers from somewhere other than the original location, but with a bit of persistence you can persuade it to use a different directory. A 2Gb partition should be plenty for DOS and Windows’ system files.

I’ve freed up as much space on drive C as I can. I’m going to try core’s idea of copying the whole folder over then reinstalling. First I’m going to make a back up or three just to be safe. I’ll let you know how things go. Thanks for the ideas.

If you’re going to do it that way, make sure you use the right switches to copy hidden files and the like. Good luck.

      • It’s been said, but no: the registry settings will not automatically be changed if the Windows system folder is moved.
  • Also, this is an opinion, but consider simply buying another bigger drive (>80gb+, ~$70 online), keeping the 60 for the OS drive and ditching the 2-gig entirely. You are probably lucky that any 2-gig drive that’s been used regularly is still working at all; it is better to move off it while it is working than to try to figure out how to save your files on it after it has died. Make a mini-partition or three with FDISK on the new drive for your DOS to live on, and reinstall everything.
  • Also+also: another opinion: use one physical drive for your OS’s and installed programs only, and use another physical drive for your own data and any program installers you don’t have burned to CD only–do not scatter data and programs here and there. If a Windows drive gets fuxed by a virus or major error, it usually only hits the system/OS drive. Having all your own files and software installers on a separate physical drive can save you a lot of headaches in a disaster, or if you just want to… get a newer computer later on.