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I have two internal hard drives in my computer. A 120 GB Samsung 840 SSD and a Western Digital Blue 1 TB hard drive. I have a few games installed on the SSD and I was curious if moving the games onto the other hard drive is as simple as cut and paste

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No. This will only work for e very few programs (nowadays called 'portable programs'). Your simple copy misses registry settings, DLLs in Windows directories etc.

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Yes, but I guess what I am asking is will I still be able to run the program this way. If I am able to run the program this way, I wouldn't be overly concerned with having some of the files still on the SSD, as long as the bulk of the program is on the other HDD. – Watson21995 Aug 2 '13 at 6:29
Ah, I overlooked that your both drives remain attached. The answer is still 'generally no'. Pointers to C:\Program Files\etcetera will now point to the wrong place. You could try for each individual program: 1) copy the dir, (2) rename the original dir, (3) if it keeps working remove the original dir. Simply reinstalling may be faster though. – Jan Doggen Aug 2 '13 at 6:30
Interesting. How is it that when I just went and cut and pasted the game folders into a new Program Files (x86) folder on the 1 TB drive anyway, they are still working then? o.O Are these couple games simply the exception to this? – Watson21995 Aug 2 '13 at 6:33
Probably - and I need to add more dummy text to allow this comment ;-) – Jan Doggen Aug 2 '13 at 6:41

As already written, then programs leaves alot of registry entries (pointers and settings) and maybe dlls which could be important for the functionality of the program.
Also I would not recommend installing applications other places than on your C-drive. The Program Files folder is made for this purpose in Windows.
If one program need to use a commonly used program like, lets said Adobe Reader, then it might use Enviroment variables like %ProgramFiles% to access it, and this won't work if you install it elsewhere.

With games it is another story, atleast by my experience. I have several games installed on my computer and i've reinstalled Windows several times without big problems trying to run them again.
You might have to reinstall DirectX to have the nessesary dlls to run the games, but you'll usually be prompted when starting the games, which dll is missing.

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I do this very thing regularly using Directory Junction points, which appeared in the NTFS file system around Windows 2000. (Information here and here). Occasionally it will fail to behave properly, but for the most part, it works well (for me... YMMV). How I go about this:

  • I install the whatever-it-is initially on the C: drive (or wherever its default location may be).
  • I then log on as Administrator (or other user), so as to guarantee that none of the files to be moved will be in use.
  • Copy the files to the new location. I don't delete anything until I'm sure that everything works as expected.
  • Rename the original directory to something obscure (a safety precaution in case something goes wrong and I need to put it back).
  • Create the Junction pointing to the relocated files.
  • Log off/on (or reboot) and log on as normal. Test to see that the thingamajig still works.

I have used this technique to move many "critical" files from my SSD (C:) to another internal drive. For example, a partial directory listing in my C:\Users\username folder shows:

<JUNCTION> Desktop [E:\Users\username\Desktop]
<JUNCTION> Documents [e:\Users\username\Documents]
<JUNCTION> Downloads [e:\Software\Downloads]
<JUNCTION> Dropbox [e:\Dropbox]
<JUNCTION> Favorites [e:\Users\username\Favorites]
<JUNCTION> Links [E:\Users\username\Links]
<JUNCTION> Music [e:\Users\username\Music]
<JUNCTION> Pictures [e:\Users\username\Pictures]
<JUNCTION> Videos [E:\Users\username\Videos]
<JUNCTION> VirtualBox VMs [e:\VirtualBox VMs]

One tool for creating Junction Points is available on the Windows Sysinternals site, here. Keep in mind, that this depends upon the fact that registry entries and such are preserved. In other words, what you can't do is take a running system with a single disk, add an SSD (to become the new C: drive, presumably), do a fresh installation of windows on the new SSD drive, create the junction points, and expect stuff that is still on the old drive (no longer C:) to work. Your new OS installation would come complete with a new and fresh registry, containing nothing that the "relocated" software might expect to find.

So, as others who have answered have said, no, you can't simply cut and paste and expect everything to work. There often is a way to accomplish what you want. As I said above, following the steps I've outlined, this has usually, but not always worked for me. Also, I want to point out, that I generally keep software itself on the SSD to speed loading and move files and directories that tend to get written to a lot. Also, Junction Points will not work for files that are not on your local system, so pointing them to a network share is out.

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I disagree with not using other drives/locations to install software. I updated my computer to Window 7 then Windows 10 64bit using a clean install. I expected to have to reinstall everything but was pleased to find that a number of the programmes that were installed under XP on other logical drives, such as Office 97 applications, are working successfully, although one or two requiring me to ignore warnings. C Drives get very clogged up if you accept that everything goes into Program Files.

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This seems more like a comment then an answer to the proposed question. – Ramhound Feb 23 at 18:40

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