It seems like with Windows 7 onward, many common applications will only install to a directory of their choice:

  • Office 2013
  • Visual Studio
  • Chrome
  • SQL Server

This ranges from being slightly annoying to very inconvenient if you have a small OS drive, large secondary drive.

I understand I could just junction link a lot of these files to another drive, but that can be impractical for some applications like Visual Studio, who have regular updates that are not compatible with those links.

My questions is, why do you think this is happening?

closed as off-topic by Greg Askew, Iain, Zoredache, ceejayoz, Tero Kilkanen Oct 15 '16 at 7:24

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  • 4
    You're not correct in your initial assumption. All of those applications can be installed on any volume you choose. – MDMarra Oct 14 '16 at 22:24
  • @MDMarra Can you give me an example for one, like Visual Studio for example? I guess I should be more specific and say non-system drive. – AnotherDeveloper Oct 14 '16 at 23:45
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    with Windows 7 onward - I can assure you that there has been software since the DOS days, and probably before that did not offer configurable paths, and did their own thing. This is not a new thing. If an app is following the the OS vendor suggest filesystem standards, that is a lot better then some of the alternatives I have seen. – Zoredache Oct 15 '16 at 0:54
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  • @MDMarra The majority of the files are still going to the same install location. – AnotherDeveloper Oct 21 '16 at 18:35

First of all: You can install all of your named applications on/in different drives/folders.

By default, most applications will automatically choose the default %ProgramFiles%-Folder (which also could be on a different drive).

But in most cases you can choose the Installation-Directory, when selecting Expert-Mode, Advanced-Mode or Custom-Installation in Setup-GUI (or via command-line).

*(Some applications (like SQL-Server, Office) will however install some files
on system drive [which is NOT always C!])

In all other cases, the application is just bad programmed/developed!
There is no natural reason that an application MUST be on drive C.

Further: To follow the Microsoft-Developer-Guidelines, it is recommended by Microsoft, to use the default paths! (but it is only a recommendation) (same with Apple and MacOS, Linux, ....)



This is difficult for me to answer, yet stay within the post guidelines as it states that we are to answer the question, yet avoid making statements based on opinion.

I agree that it is very inconvenient as well for larger applications such as Visual Studio as you said, but the others are programs that I use all the time and would like to be installed on my OS drive (I am assuming you are referring to smaller, faster drive for speed sake.

As a hunch, it could be something to do with companies moving to a more "It just works" type set-up, or tailoring their installs to be as simple as possible to be as little daunting as possible as well. This would make sense for things like Chrome or Office which are typical applications that many home computer users would use, and care little about their location. On the other hand, I'm countering my own argument with applications like Visual Studio and SQL server, as these are typically applications that involve the user "getting their hands dirty", rooting around in code and making things work how they want it to.

In summary, it is difficult to answer this question without an opinion, and my opinion is that developers think they know your computer better than you do.

  • Thanks Nathan. That is what I'm guessing as well. With Chrome, I think it might have to do with their goal to associate user profiles with specific chrome installations, hence installing in the appdata folder. Either way, it's extremely frustrating. – AnotherDeveloper Oct 14 '16 at 22:08
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    I whole heartedly agree. The more they try to do for us, the less they give you the capability of doing, but their other option is give bare bones functionality without any hand-holding, leaving the more experienced to their own devices and the lesser experienced to be intimidated. What are they to do besides go with what will give them the greatest market share? – Nathan Smith Oct 14 '16 at 22:20

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