I have 240GB SSD where I install Windows 10. Now I want some of my games that I play the most to be on that drive, but I am not sure in which directories to put it in.

Should I install x64 bit games on C:\Program Files (x86), C:\Program Files or C:\Games\GameFolder?

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    Program installer will automatically choose the folder. No need to manually change that path.
    – Biswapriyo
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 17:29

3 Answers 3


Should I install x64 bit games on C:\Program Files (x86), C:\Program Files or C:\Games\GameFolder?

Program Files is a protected folder. Program Files is also special in that, if you are running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows, what the application sees is identical.

In other words, when dealing with a 32-bit application, Program Files (x86) will appear to be Program Files on a 64-bit version of Windows. Likewise, a 64-bit application, will also see a Program Files which contains 64-bit applications.

When you run a 32-bit program on a 64-bit edition of Windows, the WOW64 emulation layer seamlessly redirects its file access from “C:\Program Files” to “C:\Program Files (x86).” The 32-bit program tries to access the Program Files directory and is pointed to the Program Files (x86) folder. 64-bit programs still use the normal Program Files folder.

If you choose to install all your applications in a single directory, that isn't Program Files, is entirely up to you. Programmers can be extremely lazy, we have a habit of doing what is recomended by Microsoft, so when anyone does something that is possible on Windows but not official supported we don't really test our application's compatability with that action. Case in point, while it's possible to store all users profile data on another drive, it really isn't supported by Microsoft.

It doesn’t normally matter whether a program’s files are stored in Program Files or Program Files (x86). Windows automatically installs programs to the correct folder, so you don’t have to think about it. Programs appear in the Start menu and function normally, no matter where they’re installed. Both 32-bit and 64-bit programs should store your data in folders like AppData and ProgramData, and not in any Program Files folder. Just let your programs automatically decide which Program Files folder to use.

Source: What’s the Difference Between the “Program Files (x86)” and “Program Files” Folders in Windows?

There is a good reason Program Files is a protected folder. For many years when you uninstalled an application, you had to hope the uninstaller was written the correct way. When it wasn't, every folder and file within the directory containing the application you were removing could be deleted. By the folder being protected, the installer can only remove what's it's suppose to remove, thus removing that fear.


Other than what Biswapriyo said in the comments above there is no real difference between (x86) and without. The program installer will choose where it goes by default and that location will likely be fine.

They are locations used to arrange things and not hard "this thing must be stored here".

You can put your game wherever you like, within reason. You may have trouble putting it in non-standard or security protected locations such as the Windows folder, but apart from that where they go is up to you.

  • 1
    Mokubai is right, it can go anywhere, you won't hurt anything by putting it in the wrong place as long as it's not somewhere weird like the Windows folder. However, Veliko might be curious as to the standard. C:\Program Files (x86) is for 32bit software, and C:\Program Files is for 64bit software. But installing to another location is often necessary, on my desktop most of my games are on `D:\Steam` so they don't take up precious SSD space.
    – udlp
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 18:46
  • @udlp - All Steam applications are installed in Program Files x86 due to Steam being 32-bit, and all steam applications, are installed within the Steam installation directory.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 19:27
  • Maybe you want to read my comment again? I use my Steam game location as an example that things don't have to be in the typical location- myself putting it on my larger HDD to save SSD space. I have two Steam library locations, one is where you say, the other is my `D:`. My example is the only place Steam comes into this question. I don't think we know for certain that the user is dealing with a steam game. Could be some DRM-free stuff from GOG, or even something on a physical disc.
    – udlp
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 11:46

Definitely go with "C:\Games\Game Folder" or even better, "D:\Games\Game Folder" if you have a separate partition or hard drive.

This will alleviate the confusion between games and other software, which you probably use for everyday computer tasks and probably work.

If you go to your dedicated "Games" folder, it's easier to review which games you still need and which you are about to delete. Besides, the path to the game is shorter, so if you need to install a patch or mod, it may be easier to navigate.

I used to install games in "Games" folder back from DOS era, when there was no tendency to automatically install everything in "Program files" and you had to arrange your installed software and games in separate folders yourself, which payed off in the long run.

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