How to change the default location where new programs are installed

By default Windows XP uses the C:\Program Files directory as the base directory into which new programs are installed. But there might be times when you want a new program to be installed in another directory or may be another drive, instead of the default location. Almost all programs allow you to choose where you want to install the program, at the time of installation.

But if you find yourself changing the installation location every time you install a new program, you might probably want to change the default location itself so that Windows automatically installs new programs in the drive/directory of your choice. You can do this with a simple Registry Hack.


Run the Registry Editor by going to Start > Run, type ‘regedit‘ and press Enter.

Navigate to the following location:


Look for the value named ProgramFilesDir. By default,this value will be C:\Program Files. Edit the value to any valid drive or folder and Windows XP will use that new location as the default installation directory for new programs.


  1. Tine Müller says

    Is was not all the programs under C that didn’t functioning so maybe it has been something else. But I changed it back to C and now the programs that I had problems with before is functioning. Strange.

  2. says

    @Tine Muller: I am surprised that you are not able to open programs installed in C, because all this method does is change the default path. It is kind of similar to changing the destination manually while installing an application. Are you sure that the problem you are facing is caused by applying the above registry change?

  3. Tine Müller says

    This tip is functioning great BUT now when I try to open the programs which is installed under C it doesn’t work and I only get to the folder where the program is installed. The programs which is installed under F is functioning great.

    What can I do or do I need to change it back again?

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