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 widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see www.mtit.com .

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