Installing PC Games - Do you use the default directory?

I’m just curious if anyone feels there’s any strong reasons to either use, or not use, the default install directory (program files, usually).

I presume most people do just because it’s most convenient – I’ve always created a “games” directory on my C: drive and just put everything in there, but it’s probably just a legacy practice that I started in the DOS days to keep my root directory more manageable. But moving the directory seems to have downsides (such as that install bug, that affected games such as Myth 2 and Pool of Radiance: RoMD, which would delete your harddrive if you uninstalled and hadn’t chosen the default install directory), and probably limited utility any more in not just keeping the default directory, but I’m curious what other gamers do.

Kinda silly, but what the hell.

Missing answer:

No, because all my games are on my D: drive.

(I just change the drive letter, so most games end up in D:\Program Files\yaddayadda)

I don’t care so much about the directory, but I hate it when the publisher uses their name in my Start menus. I remember games by the game’s title, not by the publisher. Very annoying.

I do put everything in a Games directory on a different drive from my OS, just to try and minimize damage from install bugs.

All games are installed to the E: Games drive. (Which is after the C: OS and D: Data drives.) Example: E:\Age of Wonders. I never use their long convoluted publisher names as a location.

Yeah, now, if we’re talking Start menu items, I always change those. They go under Games\Gamename.

Thank Sierra for realizing your file system was a lucrative advertising venue.

I hate that stuff gets put in the start menu PERIOD. If you’ve got your own little plan for having shortcuts in the start menu, it always ends up being just a bunch of crap that you have to clean up and rearrange.

C:\ is for system files and apps on my machine, and it’s going to stay that way. It’s inevitable that i have to root around in the game’s folder to change or fix something, and having the usual Program Files folders in the mix just never seemed appealing. Plus, Windows 98 taught me that i do not want to reinstall every game i play when i go for the bi-annual format.

I just use the default directory. I launch all my programs through the Start menu, so it’s not like they need to be organized in any specific way on my C drive. I used to keep all my games in a \games directory back when I ran DOS, but haven’t felt the need to do so since. I do appreciate installation programs that automatically offer to put the program icons in my “Games” folder in the Start menu, though.

Yeah, I have a seperate Games folder. And so do all the other PC gamers I personally know. Kudos to Looking Glas for guessing that in Thief (2).

but I hate it when the publisher uses their name in my Start menus.

Agreed, it’s an asinine decision. Of course, one can change it, but it simply shouldn’t be the default option.

It makes you pine for Looking Glass. Their games used to automatically look for both a “games” folder in the Start menu, as well as on your hard drive. It’s a little thing, but also a good thing.

I use the defaults. Occasionally I try keeping a Games directory, but then I get lazy. As for the Start menu, I still occasionally hold hula dances around the burning remnants of The Sierra Utilities. The only program in history shittier than its Laffer equivalent.

Program files is a crappy place to put your games because everything goes in Program files, making the game folders hard to locate among all the QuickTimes, Adobes, Javas, Flashes, etc, etc.

A pox on those publisher-named default folders and Start Menus. Pet peeve of mine. God I hate that.

Notice Microsoft has started providing an ‘Express Install’ option where it just installs it without asking you anything. Sure, I don’t need to know where my game is installed, go ahead on… :evil:


Ditto for me on that practice.

I’m even wierder.
I have games/FPS/Quake…exc

Having a giant drive that I’ve been too lazy to partition, I forget what games I currently have installed. This makes it easy for me to browse for some older forgotten title in whatever gaming mood I’m in.

edit-Ben, you can thank Chris Corillo for that. I agree it was a good call.

I’m along these lines:



Am I the only one who has things like a separate drive for games, “work” apps, “fun” apps, main OS/extensions, etc?

I despise defragging huge single partitions. I don’t understand how it happens, but a game installation can fragment my drive in the 5 minutes it takes to install, but it takes me 20 minutes to defragment it, and that’s if I limit drive size. If I have to defragment 80 GB partitions after I install a game it’s another hour or more until I can actually play the damn things. (Everquest is obscenely bad about fragmenting my drive; I imagine any online game is because of the way things get passed back and forth more frequently there.)

For most games I use the default. I’ve devoted my PC mostly for gaming so keeping them seperated from other apps doesn’t make sense for me. I have so many games installed (with 160GB you get lazy about uninstalling finished games!) that I gave up trying to keep the Start menu organized. I simply create desktop shortcuts for games I’m currently playing.

BTW as for publisher names in the Start menu, it’s probably more appropriate to blame the installer software for that. For example InstallShield (a very popular installer) will use the company name as the Start folder by default.

I install games to my RAID 0 array, so I always change the default.

I hate Sierra. If you try to install GPL without the Sierra directory, it just adds Sierra as a subdirectory to whatever you put in there. I install it to D:\GPL and it makes the directory structure D:\GPL\SIERRA\gpl. What the hell.

Separate Games folder. Of course, while I always appreciate the touch of defaulting games’ install directories to the “Games” folder I cannot take advantage of it because of the language barrier. My game folder is called “Spel”. :P

I have a partition for my system drive, a partition for my page/swap file, a partition for my media, and a partition for my games. Mainly to keep things from getting excessively fragmented.

As time goes on, I’m starting to care less and less about where on my hard drive things are actually stored.

Honestly, I don’t want to even know. I want a user experience on my PC where storage locations are immaterial, and all that matters is how I access my stuff (programs, photos, music, data, whatever).

So with games, I install in the default directory. I just don’t care where it goes. I do, however, care about what the install does in my Start menu, since that’s how I access the game. There’s absolutely no convention to how things are stored there, and it’s frustrating to have some games just make a game folder, some make a publisher folder and a game subfolder, and so on.

It’s even more frustrating to me that games have no convention for storing saved games or config files. I actually like that with WinXP, many games are putting your save files (and sometimes even config files) in whatever your My Documents folder is. That’s good. What’s not good is that some games make a “My Games” folder, some make their own root folder, etc. I just want a “My Games” folder and everything in there. And the games don’t ask you where you want your saves to go, so I’m stuck with a My Documents folder riddled with crap.

Even games from the same publisher can’t follow the same convention. Microsoft games sometimes put stuff in a “My Games” folder (Halo), which is good, and others just dump a file in the main My Documents (Dungeon Siege).

Three cheers for having fifteen hundred separate standards for solving exactly the same problem!

This reminds me of all the FPSes, years ago, which would all use different default key arrangements. Even now the only things that anyone can agree on are WASD. And I can’t count the number of times I got pissed off at the latest RTS that decided yet AGAIN to switch the functions of the left and mouse buttons. You’d think that sort of thing would be easy to figure out, but nooooo.

-ahem- I usually trim off stupid stuff like company names and such whenever possible, so everything ends up in C:\Program Files and if possible also directly on the Start menu like a normal program instead of a publisher-obsessed lovenote. It’s a stupid convention, but it’s better than the total mess of letting the installer do what it wants. Any game I actually play I pin to the Start menu under XP anyway, so I rarely have to deal with any other method of starting it.