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There are lots of utilities for Windows that just come as executables (no installers) so its up to you to decide where to save the files. A classic example is the Sysinternals suite.

At the moment I usually stick them into C:\Utils

  • The main con of this is that the directory is not indexed by default so you cannot launch the utils from the start menu without an extra step.
  • A minor con is it doesn't 'feel' very legit (i.e. I think according to Windows standards you are not meant to store stuff outside of Users or Program Files these days).

I am wondering what the pros and cons of using other paths are, and hence are there better options than C:\Utils that I haven't thought of.

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I've been doing this for several years, adding the location to %PATH% and syncing the directory across all my machines using Windows Live Mesh. I also include a load of other stuff, including scripts, other shells, Cygwin, portable Python and portable apps from

The location does get indexed once it is added to your %PATH%, in my experience (at least the contents appear in the start menu search box).

If you do not like putting them on the root of C:, you could put them in Public and then make a symbolic link pointing to then from the root of C:, using MKLINK.

To add the directory to %PATH% permanently, type:

setx PATH "%PATH%;C:\Utils"

To make a symbolic link pointing to Public from the root of C:, type:

mklink /d "C:\Utils" "C:\Users\Public\Documents\Utils"
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PS. I do not put my Utils directory within %PROGRAMFILES% as Windows Live Mesh refuses to sync files in there. – paradroid Feb 13 '11 at 23:55

If a utility doesn't balk at having a space in its path, I put them in C:\Program Files\Utils. Otherwise, I use C:\Utils.

If a utility is one that is run from the command line, I use C:\Utils and add that directory to my PATH so I don't have to have a space in it (although Windows doesn't care).

If a group of programs have something common, such as the Sysinternals suite, I will usually dedicate a directory exclusively to them.

My reasons are mainly organizational.

  • How do I use them?
  • What is their purpose?
  • Do I use them together?
  • etc.
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