Installing Windows into a different folder

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 28 June 2007 / Last Updated on 28 June 2007]

How to install Windows in a folder other than \\Windows.

When you installed Windows 2000 you got the option of either accepting the default location for installing system files (the \Windows directory) or specifying a different folder to install Windows into. When you install Windows Server 2003 however, the Setup routine doesn’t display the option of specifying the folder name. So how can you install Windows Server 2003 into a folder other than \Windows? Two ways. First, you can do it using unattended setup as there’s a setting you can configure there to specify the installation directory. And second, if you already have your target disk drive formatted using NTFS, you can create an empty \Windows directory on it, and then when Setup runs it detects the \Windows directory, assumes some version of Windows is installed there, and prompts you to specify a different installation folder.


Mitch Tulloch was lead author for the Windows Vista Resource Kit from Microsoft Press, which is THE book for IT pros who want to deploy, maintain and support Windows Vista in mid- and large-sized network environments. For more information see

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The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a well-known expert on Windows Server administration and cloud computing technologies. He has published over a thousand articles on information technology topics and has written, contributed to or been series editor for over 50 books.

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