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Put Your C: Drive On A Diet!

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It always has baffled me, why Windows puts so much on C: that doesn't actually have to be there. All that extra stuff bloats the drive with data, thus, which must be shifted around, constantly and unnecessarily—thus again, increasing the chance of system errors and the need for defragmenting.


A big job for an existing system, it is, however, easy as pie when done while reinstalling a completely fresh system. (Personally, I remain completely confident in the Safety issue here, but, as always, the usual, "Do this at your own risk" applies.)


For me, the secret to a fast and stable system has always been one word:"sleek." Did you know (and only for instance) that Google Earth reserves by default, a whopping 2Gb of C: for its ever-changing cache? This and so much like it is completly unnecessary. Here's how to cut the krap and make your System drive "lean and mean."



1. Create a separate "Program Files" partition. (if you have more than one physical disk, it's best if the new Program Files partition is nevertheless next on the disc after C:.

I suggest you rename this partition P:.

2. Create a "P:\Program Files" directory.

3. Create (one re-installation at a time) in P:\Program Files, a separate file for each file currently in C:\Program Files.

4. Move\reinstall all your programs each to their dedicated folder in P:\Program Files.


Now here's where it gets interesting:


5. Create for each moved\reinstalled program, a new folder, P:\Program Files\[program]\~DPFD. (I use DPFD, short for "Dynamic Program File Data," but you can call it any name you want. Not actually necessary, but neat, the optional tilda ("~") will put it at the top of each file's list.


5a. Programs like Google Earth or TomTomHome have large files of data that is constantly changing. In each program, find—usually under Tools\Options or Preferences—the option (where available*) to change the default location of its data cache, Temp, and or Backup folders. Move these off of C: and to their respective ~DPFD folders for each program on P:. (*Note; a very few programs will not let you install to anything other than C:, so just forget about those.)


Now your C: drive will contain much less data and more free space—and the data that remains there will have more of an ability to stay put. Of all the actual System Data that MUST change, this will happen faster and easier, with much less need for defragmenting.


It goes without saying: do similar for your Personal Data (on its own partition.)


In short, get everything you can and which isn't actually "Systemic" off of C:.


(If it can be moved—move it!)


Extra Hints:


A. Between 4 & 5, install and run a small but very handy utility called WinDirStat. (I have no affiliation, whatsoever, with WinDirStat and nothing to profit from recommending it. I simply can attest to its usefulness.) Observe in particular, the largest blocks of file data on C:. Afterward, run WinDirStat again and see, instantly, the change.


B. In my experience, Google Earth's data cache can be reduced fro 2 GB to 1Gb (and perhaps more) without any ill effects. (See Google Earth Tools/Options.)

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Keeping your C drive lean and mean sounds like a good idea in principle. However, according to other articles I've read, installing programs on a partition other than the C drive is not recommended because programs installed on another partition will NOT show up in Control Panel > add/remove programs, so programs without their own uninstall or unwise.exe cannot be uninstalled correctly/completely!


So if it is mostly the large data caches of programs like Google Earth and TomTomHome that you want to keep off your C drive, why not just use their built-in tools>options to change the default location of its data cache, Temp, and or Backup folders to a folder on your partiton instead?


Also, anyone who still wishes to try installing programs to a partition other than C drive should note that they will probably have to reformat the partition before or immediately after doing a clean install of their operating system. Because a new installation of Windows will delete the old registry and replace it with a brand new one, so all references to the programs on the alternative drive will be lost and Windows will no longer be correctly configured to use these programs!

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