Can I move Windows 8 C:\ESD folder?


Microsoft probably didn't design the ESD folder to be moved however:

You can move the folder to your other Partition/Drive and create a shortcut to the folder in the place the ESD folder was.


  1. Move the C:\ESD to D:\ESD

  2. Create a shortcurt in C:\ named ESD and point it to D:\ESD:

    mklink /j C:\ESD D:\ESD

That should work.


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Clare Macrae
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Clare Macrae

I started programming for a living in 1987, and have mainly been working in C++ with Qt since 1999, with some OpenGL along the way. Particular interests include: Agile software development Test driven development Continuous Deployment and Continuous Integration Raspberry Pi Automation and all forms of time-saving (including AutoHotKey)

Updated on June 28, 2022


  • Clare Macrae
    Clare Macrae less than a minute

    I'm preparing to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8, and I am tight for space on my C:\ drive, which is an SSD displaying its total size as 111 GB.

    I want to maximise the free space, as I know that I'll end up with a C:\Windows.old folder for some time.

    Having already purchased the Windows 8 upgrade, I have a C:\ESD folder which occupies 2.6 GB.

    I see from Can I delete Windows 8 ESD file? that I won't be able to delete this folder, even after the upgrade, as Windows uses those files for the new Refresh and Reset options.

    But is it OK to move this folder from C:\ESD to D:\ESD?

    By "OK", I mean:

    • Will I be able to install the Windows 8 upgrade successfully, if I have moved it to D:
    • Will Refresh and Reset work OK, in Windows 8, if the ESD folder is in a location other than C:\ESD?
    • gronostaj
      gronostaj over 9 years
      Just moving it definitely won't work. It MAY work if you move it and create a symbolic link on C:, but I haven't tested it - just an idea.
    • BubbleMonster
      BubbleMonster almost 9 years
      I can't see any reason why a symbolic link wouldn't fix this issue. In theory, the Windows 8 upgrade will just follow the path of the ESD folder regardless of where exactly it resides on a disk. So I would go with that.
    • cmorse
      cmorse almost 9 years
      Why can't you just delete the Windows.old folder after the upgrade?
    • Clare Macrae
      Clare Macrae almost 9 years
      @Cmorse See the link in my question. It is needed for Refresh and Reset.
  • Clare Macrae
    Clare Macrae almost 9 years
    Thank for the reply. I am ideally looking for stronger confirmation than "should work". Have you actually tested it out, including doing a Refresh or Rest?
  • phonetic
    phonetic almost 9 years
    Yes I have had to do that personally. As long as you point to the right folder and name the shortcut correctly it will work.
  • Clare Macrae
    Clare Macrae almost 9 years
    Ah right, OK, that's really helpful to know. Thank you.
  • Jade
    Jade over 6 years
    Actually a shortcut probably won't work because a shortcut is actually a .lnk file that explorer.exe knows, but you can now use mklink /D to create a symbolic link to another directory. Since this works as the filesystem level, it has a much higher chance or working.