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Microsoft does not support changing the location of the Program Files folder by modifying the ProgramFilesDir registry value

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INTRODUCTION
Microsoft does not support changing the location of the Program Files folder by modifying the ProgramFilesDir registry value. If you change the location of the Program Files folder, you may experience problems with some Microsoft programs or with some software updates.
More information
The ProgramFilesDir registry value is located in the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
You may want to use the ProgramFilesDir registry entry to change the location of the Program Files folder. Additionally, you may want to modify every reference in the registry to point to the new Program Files folder. You may also want to move the contents of the original Program Files folder to the new location. However, we do not test changes to the default location of the Program Files folder. Therefore, we do not recommend or support modifying the ProgramFilesDir registry value to change the default location of the Program Files folder.

When you set the ProgramFilesDir registry value to use a location other than the default location, Microsoft hotfixes, updates, and security updates do not update files that are in the default location. Therefore, you may experience system instability and unexpected problems with Microsoft programs and software updates. For example, you may experience any of the following problems:
  • Microsoft hotfixes, updates, and security updates may not be installed correctly.
  • New versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer or Microsoft Windows Media Player may not be installed correctly.
Additionally, the Microsoft Windows File Protection feature that helps protect files in the Internet Explorer folder does not support changing the default location of the Program Files folder.

Note The Internet Explorer installation folder is located in the Program Files folder.

If you change the location of the Program Files folder, you may experience unexpected issues that may affect the stability of Windows. The list of binary files that are protected by Windows File Protection, together with the locations of these files, is coded in Internet Explorer. You cannot modify these locations in Internet Explorer.

The following programs use the standard Windows APIs to determine the location of the Internet Explorer installation folder:
  • The Windows Internet Explorer 7 installation program.
  • The Windows Update program.
  • Programs that update Windows Internet Explorer 7.
These Windows APIs rely on the background registry settings to locate the Internet Explorer files to update.

Note When we developed Internet Explorer 7, we decided to use the standard method to determine the location of the Windows Internet Explorer 7 installation folder. This decision was made to help increase the stability of Windows Internet Explorer 7. The decision was also made to help reduce the risk of problems that you may experience with regard to compatibility with other programs and with regard to Windows Internet Explorer 7 serviceability.

Steps to change the ProgramFilesDir registry value to use the default location for the Program Files folder

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows


To change the location of the Program Files folder back to the default location, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit , and then click OK.
  2. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
  3. In the details pane, right-click the ProgramFilesDir registry value, and then click Modify.
  4. In the Value data box, type the default location for the Program Files folder, and then click OK.

    NoteThe default location of the Program Files folder is systemdrive\Program Files. For example, if Windows is installed on drive C, type C:\Program Files in the Value data box.
  5. Exit Registry Editor.
Properties

Article ID: 933700 - Last Review: 04/16/2015 10:01:00 - Revision: 2.0

  • Windows Internet Explorer 7
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition (32-Bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Microsoft Outlook Express 6.0
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 Standard
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard
  • kbinfo kbtshoot kbprb KB933700
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