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A client machine running Windows 7 Ultimate wants to add a small SSD drive to speed up some programs and booting. Can I move the \Windows folder to the SSD drive and then set some configuration file to point to the Windows directory without changing the boot drive or any of the other directories?

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Is imaging software to clone the sytem drive to the new disk not an option? – Chris W Feb 7 '10 at 18:19
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You could try something with bcdedit, and set %systemroot% to point to the new location, but I'd imagine there would be several situations where applications would be broken with this setup. If you're trying this to increase speed by using a SSD drive, is there any reason you can't install Windows to the SSD and then store applications and data on the other drive? Is it just to avoid a re-install?

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I have installed windows to a directory not named "\Windows" before, and had a fairly high success rate. Most apps do use the correct way of finding the windows directory. Is the bcdedit location the only thing that needs to be changed? – Bill Feb 7 '10 at 23:00
From what I can tell, that will be how you can have Windows boot using that directory. You'll probably also need to set the systemroot environment variable (, along with any other variable referring to the Windows folder. Before you try anything, make sure you have plenty of backups as there's a good chance this will get Windows into an unbootable state while you're working on it. – Paul Kroon Feb 8 '10 at 11:55

We've done this using the method that Paul describes, but it only works well for Windows programs. Many other programs incorrectly look for the Windows folder on the primary drive.

Unless you only want to speed up Windows programs (i.e. notepad, minesweeper), why not move critical files to the SSD? Database files, swap files, etc can all be moved to SSD to boost performance. Moving your windows folder probably wouldn't do too much unless you have a blisteringly fast SSD (such as the Intel X25).

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I do have a fast SSD, it just isn't big enough to have all my apps there and Windows too. My goal was to get a fast boot time. – Bill Feb 7 '10 at 23:02

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