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I'm preparing to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8, and I am tight for space on my C:\ drive, which is an SSD displaying its total size as 111 GB.

I want to maximise the free space, as I know that I'll end up with a C:\Windows.old folder for some time.

Having already purchased the Windows 8 upgrade, I have a C:\ESD folder which occupies 2.6 GB.

I see from Can I delete Windows 8 ESD file? that I won't be able to delete this folder, even after the upgrade, as Windows uses those files for the new Refresh and Reset options.

But is it OK to move this folder from C:\ESD to D:\ESD?

By "OK", I mean:

  • Will I be able to install the Windows 8 upgrade successfully, if I have moved it to D:
  • Will Refresh and Reset work OK, in Windows 8, if the ESD folder is in a location other than C:\ESD?
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Just moving it definitely won't work. It MAY work if you move it and create a symbolic link on C:, but I haven't tested it - just an idea. – gronostaj Feb 17 '13 at 22:20
I can't see any reason why a symbolic link wouldn't fix this issue. In theory, the Windows 8 upgrade will just follow the path of the ESD folder regardless of where exactly it resides on a disk. So I would go with that. – BubbleMonster Aug 31 '13 at 21:35
Why can't you just delete the Windows.old folder after the upgrade? – cmorse Sep 9 '13 at 1:39
@Cmorse See the link in my question. It is needed for Refresh and Reset. – Clare Macrae Sep 9 '13 at 3:03

Microsoft probably didn't design the ESD folder to be moved however:

You can move the folder to your other Partition/Drive and create a shortcut to the folder in the place the ESD folder was.


Move the C:\ESD to D:\ESD Create a shortcurt in C:\ named ESD and point it to D:\ESD

That should work.

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Thank for the reply. I am ideally looking for stronger confirmation than "should work". Have you actually tested it out, including doing a Refresh or Rest? – Clare Macrae Sep 9 '13 at 20:11
Yes I have had to do that personally. As long as you point to the right folder and name the shortcut correctly it will work. – Kieran Cross Sep 10 '13 at 15:41
Ah right, OK, that's really helpful to know. Thank you. – Clare Macrae Sep 10 '13 at 21:24
Actually a shortcut probably won't work because a shortcut is actually a .lnk file that explorer.exe knows, but you can now use mklink /D to create a symbolic link to another directory. Since this works as the filesystem level, it has a much higher chance or working. – Benjamin Nov 16 '15 at 22:43

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