EDIT: Reason for edit is to clear up some of the words that I used in relation to symbolic link that gave the impression I wanted to move folders and symbolic link, when I want to store the contents from c: on D: instead but still allow programs that are looking for the default windows file locations which is symbolically linked to d:

Updated Original Question: I am trying to decide which folders in windows 7 can be symbolically linked to another location lets say for example symbolic link c:\users\username\my videos to d:\users\username\my videos which is where the files are actually stored and any program that needs to use my videos won't know that the files it sees or saves really aren't on C: drive but actually are stored on D: because of me making a symbolic link.

I know I shouldn't or just can't move certain folders to a different drive, such Program Files (x86), Program Files, Programdata, Windows (I know you can't move this). I looked through the web for some listing of folders that could be symbolically linked to another location (another drive in my case). I am trying to take some of the data that would be stored on my SSD and symbolically link it to my large HDD instead. I am pretty sure My documents can be relocated via symbolic link, but will I need to do a symbolic link for each and every folder within My Documents or will a symbolic link of just My documents be suffienct.

The folders that Microsoft has stated are okay to do this will be helpful.

Since I saw some confusion about what I am doing, when I say move via symbolic link, I am referring to the following example. I want to symbolically link c:\users\username\my videos to d:\users\username\my videos. So when a program tries to save something to the original C:\users\username\my videos it will think it has done just that, when in fact it is being stored via symbolic link to d:\users\username\my videos. When it tries to retrieve it, it will still look at the c:\users\username\my videos and will actually see the files that are on d:\users\username\my videos and won't notice the difference. Hope that clears up some of the concerns in comments

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    Moving files from SSD to HDD is a waste of time and just useless. Why you have bought SSD then? The only reason to move folders\files from SSD is when you do not have enough space on it. – montonero Jan 24 at 7:31
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    @montonero, I read that he doesn't talk about really move the folders or files, but he want link them symbolically. A symbolic link doesn't mean the files/folder will be physically moved from a disk to another. – Sir Jo Black Jan 24 at 7:39
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    @SirJoBlack I am trying to move folders from SSD to HDD I guess it is pretty clear what OP is trying to do. – montonero Jan 24 at 7:41
  • Ok! But the question is about: "moved" by symbolic link. There's unclear use of terms in his question. ;) – Sir Jo Black Jan 24 at 7:45
  • It is also possible to do this by registry. I used a tool once, whose name I forget, and moved my \program files\ to E: because (like the OP, I presume) I did not have much space on my SSD. It might be worthwhile asking for a tool on softwarerecs.stackexchange.com – Mawg Jan 24 at 8:07

Symlinks and junctions are resolved transparently by the OS, without programs needing to do anything special. So if the path is accessed exclusively by regular userspace software and that software does not use any special filesystem functions (such as hardlinks), it can use a symlink.

What you cannot symlink is the OS itself, i.e. the \Windows folder, or the hibernation image, because the bootloader needs to access them when the OS is not running yet – and the bootloader has very minimal filesystem support with no junctions or symlinks. (This is partly because both rely on things like "drive letters" which only the OS knows...)

Additionally, you cannot move the whole \Program Files because the Windows installer (and upgrader) creates hardlinks between files in \Windows and files in this folder. Hardlinks cannot cross filesystems, so this operation would fail and you'd have much trouble as soon as Windows Update needs to do it. The same goes for \Program Files (x86) if you have that, and quite possibly for \ProgramData as well.

(If you just want to move and symlink individual subfolders belonging to third-party programs, e.g. \Program Files\Autodesk, that should be fine.)

  • Correct, I won't be moving the obvious system/Win OS folders or files. I am trying to use a symbolic link (mklink) on certain folders where I know there is going to be constant write/delete/write like iI am working on a book in Word I don't want all the cycles write/delete from saving and deleting to be on SSD and instead symbolic link for example, c:\users\username\my documents\book to d:\users\username\my documents\book instead. Is there a list of folders - mostly saving/deleting by user like desktop, my docs, music that can use symbolic links. Also can My Docs be moved by 1 symbolic link – The Accountant Jan 24 at 13:35
  • A book in Word? Honestly, you would have to press that 'save' button every second for ten years before you'll make a noticeable dent on the SSD's life. Not worth it. – grawity Jan 24 at 13:56
  • But yes, you can move the entire Docs folder with a single symlink – and you can even move it without any symlinks, just using Windows' own feature for moving the user's directories (Docs, Pictures, Music, etc.). Try just dragging the folder to the SSD and Windows should prompt you about whether to remember the new location as "Documents". – grawity Jan 24 at 13:57
  • As for having a list, that's covered by the first paragraph: if it doesn't use some special system features, it can be moved. So just about everything in your userfolder can be moved. – grawity Jan 24 at 13:58
  • So think before symbolic link folders. Confused over use of switches after more reading /j /h /d *Goal to store files on hdd not ssd and allow apps that need the default location on c: will still see that folder however file contents are actually on d:, which switch/combo. EG My videos default c: files seen are actually stored on d:, save space on C:. Read must make reg entries as well when using mklink, is that true or false or when do I know need reg changes for any mklink and any switch /j /h /d – The Accountant Jan 24 at 16:26

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