I'm running out of disk space on my C: drive and I found that google application are taking up a lot of space. Picasa, Chrome, Google Desktop etc.

Surely there's some nicer solution than hacking in the registry to move the data folders?

I'm referring to a windows 7 environment. In linux I just use symlinks to put things wherever I like. I'm not aware of a proper symlink option in NTFS. I know there are hardlinks, and "shortcuts" but not sure if there is a real symlink transparent to applications.


No, unfortunately there isn’t; Google is oblivious to user scenarios that differ from their standard.

I don’t know about Picasa or Google Desktop, but for Chrome, you have to use a command-line switch to specify a non-default location, but then you also have to add the switch to every entry in the registry that contains the Chrome executable (eg for starting Chrome by opening an HTML file, clicking on a hyperlink, etc.)

Unfortunately it’s quite messy and they are taking their sweet time implementing a proper solution.

Another option you have if you are up for it, is to relocate your entire Windows profile to another drive or partition, that is, move relocate your \Documents and Settings\ or \Users\ folder. This will move all of your documents and settings instead of only Google’s.

In XP, you can right-click the folder (eg \Documents and Settings\) and change the target, or use TweakUI. In 7, it’s not as easy and has to be done manually (for some reason, even though other special folders can be easily relocated). Some people choose to simply redirect using a symlink instead of actually changing the location.


As said, that is not going to happen. Many people face this same problem because they do not realize that many programs place the majority of their files on the system drive, even if Program Files is elsewhere.

This problem is likely to recur if you install other things. You might consider making your drive larger now to avoid all that future hassle.

However, if you have space on another partition on the same drive, you could easily create a symbolic ink and move the folder there. The link will behave the same as the actual folder.

  • Indeed. Even if you move a folder, some poorly-written, misbehaved software will ignore it and still put some stuff in the default location, thus messing things up. – Synetech Jul 17 '11 at 20:09
  • Since the hardlink behaves exactly like the actual folder, no software places anything anywhere except where it belongs since it is indistinguishable to the file system from the actual folder. – Abraxas Jul 18 '11 at 0:46
  • Right, but only if you’re using a symlink (which is a workaround requiring extra stuff to be put in the file-system). If you’re not using it, some software does put some stuff in the default location (and others in the specified location). Either way, the software is still bad even if the symptoms are masked. – Synetech Jul 18 '11 at 0:51
  • Basically I wanted to speed up my system with an SSD but could only afford a small one. So I'm in the situation of trying to manage the space I have in a way that I gain the most from it. I didn't think that hardlinks could link between seperate filesystems, ie devices or partitions. I did try using Junction Magic for this but havnen't had much luck so far. On linux a symlink works great, and I have been able to have very good fine grained control over what on what drive this way. – barrymac Jul 18 '11 at 15:47

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