I noticed that the directory C:\I386 and all it’s subdirectories take up well
over 800 megabytes. Can I move that to my D:\ drive where I have much more
room? Or better yet, can I delete it?
The question others are asking is probably “OK, so what’s a C:\I386
In a nutshell, it’s a copy of Windows, and yes, you can move it, but I don’t
recommend deleting it completely. It’s just too darned useful.
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First I’ll bore you with a little trivia: the “I386” name originated as a
way to identify what CPU the operating system was for. “I” stands for Intel,
and “386” stands for the “80386”, the minimum processor required. (The 80386 is
an older version of what we now know as the Pentium processors.)
So the I386 directory tree contains a copy of Windows targeted for Intel’s
80386 and later processors.
The I386 directory is not the directory that Windows actually runs from, but
rather it contains a copy of Windows that you can setup from. Originally it was
simply a copy of the I386 directory from your installation CD. You’ll probably
find “setup.exe” there, which is the Windows XP initial setup program.
Since Windows doesn’t run from that directory, it’s actually not required to
be around at all. You can delete it, and Windows will still continue to run.
But Wait! You still, really, don’t want to delete it. At least
not without saving a copy of it somewhere, somehow. You see, when you install
new hardware, Windows will try to install the drivers for it, from your
original Windows installation CD-ROM. If you have a copy of the I386 directory
from that CD-ROM, Windows can look there instead – much quicker and much more
convenient than inserting the CD each time.
And of course if your computer didn’t come with a Windows CD-ROM (as I
believe it always should, though not all manufacturers do), the I386
directory may be the only place these files are available.
So don’t delete it. Move it somewhere else instead. If you have a second
hard disk that has room, great. If you have another machine on your local
network that has room, it’s ok to copy it there too – just keep straight which
machine it belongs to.
As an example, let’s copy all of C:\I386 to a new directory on the D: drive.
We’ll do it using the Command Prompt. Press Start,
Run, enter CMD and press
Enter. In the resulting box, we’ll enter the following
- D: – this will make the “D:” drive the current drive.
- MKDIR D:\I386 – create a new “I386” directory at the root
of the D: drive.
- CD D:\I386 – make D:\I386 the current directory
- XCOPY C:\I386 /s/h – copy C:\I386 to the current
directory. “/s” means copy the contents of all subdirectories, and “/h” means
copy all hidden and system files as well.
Here’s what that might look like:
The exact files being copied may differ slightly, and there will be several
hundred files copied before it’s all done. Once it is done, you can delete the
original on c:\I386.