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How can I properly rename the Program Files folder in Windows 7? That is, not simply rename the directory and create symlinks, but make Windows itself see the location of installed programs as something else.

I have already renamed the directory to Programs (using desktop.ini for a localized name in explorer), and made Program Files into a symlink to that, but I wonder if it's ever possible to erase the symlink by configuring Windows to, under all circumstances, assume Programs as the actual name for the programs directory.

I heard that it should be possible to choose the name from Windows installation, but I'm not sure. Besides, I don't want to reinstall Windows from scratch. Before you mention %ProgramFiles%, no, it doesn't work. I'm not sure if Windows has that location hard-coded, or if replacing all occurrences in the registry would be enough.

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The best option would be to forget about it. Too likely to break something. – Harry Johnston Dec 11 '12 at 2:52

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