So I want to free up space on the system drive by moving all the program files and several other space consuming folders from an already allocated hard disk who's partititions cannot be changed at the moment, from the smaller system partition to a larger data one.

Both partitions are formatted NTFS. One is the main windows drive the other a place to store data files.

I want to move the program files, programdata, program files x86 directories to the data drive and create an mklink symbolic link from the system drive to point to the folder on the data drive.

Problem is doing this while windows is running.

I have a dual boot of linux available and I have in the past had some success working with files offline using linux, but this would be very specific and I'm not sure how a symbolic link stores and identifies volume information and if Linux is up to the task.

Can I use ln to do this or is there some other utility I will need ?

  • No, you can't do that from outside of Windows. May 8, 2021 at 22:10
  • Correct which is why I found the below answer heh
    – John Sohn
    Aug 3, 2021 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


So I played about a bit and found a way to do this.

Symbolic links created by ln while booted into linux don't create the same kind of link.

The symbolic links created by mklink are what we're looking for.

When booted into a recovery console from the windows setup media Access Denied errors result from trying to even remove empty Program Files and Program Files X86 directories.

The solution requires both environments.

  1. Boot into Linux
  2. Mount the Windows and Data Partitions eg sudo mount /dev/sda4 /win sudo mount /dev/sda5 /data
  3. Change to direct of windows drive: cd /win
  4. Move the directories: mv ProgramData "Program Files" "Program Files (x86)" /data
  5. Insert windows setup disk and reboot
  6. Click "Repair My Computer" when windows setup disk boots.
  7. Click "Troubleshoot"
  8. Open Command Line
  9. Change to the windows drive: C:
  10. Create the links: eg mklink /D "Program Files" "d:\Program Files"
  11. Reboot and select windows 10 from boot loader


  • In retrospect this does cause a few issues depending on the system directory you relocate this way though it shouldn’t !
    – John Sohn
    Aug 3, 2021 at 18:44

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