You cannot relocate the Windows directory

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 11 Jan. 2011 / Last Updated on 3 Nov. 2009]

An explanation of why Windows must always be installed in the Windows directory in Windows Vista and later.

Customers who are migrating their desktops from Windows XP to Windows 7 sometimes ask if it is possible to install Windows in a directory other than C:\Windows. They point out that in Windows XP and earlier, you could configure the TargetPath property in your unattend.txt answer file to install Windows into a different folder such as C:\MyOS if desired. Unfortunately, the TargetPath property not available in the unattend.xml answer file in Windows Vista and later. The reason for this is because beginning with Windows Vista, Windows is now installed as Windows Image (.wim) file directly onto the hard drive, so there is no way you can customize the location of the Windows operating system files because they are already laid out in the image.

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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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