Windows 10 is Installed in an Unsupported Directory Fix

Last Updated on March 23, 2018

If you ever try to repair or upgrade your PC from an older version of Windows, you can sometimes get errors. This time, the error I’m talking about is related to Windows is installed in an unsupported directory error.


It says Windows might be installed in an unsupported directory in the upgrade (installation) box. When this error shows up, you will also not get the option to “Keep your personal files and apps” during the upgrade. The only option to select is Nothing.

That means, if you continue this way, Windows will delete all your files, folders and apps installed on your PC. Now, this isn’t a universally documented solution, so your mileage may vary, but it has worked for me in the past.

This problem occurs when Windows setup can’t find the default folders for the files and apps on your PC. By default, Windows tries to find them in the C:\Program Files directory. But, if you have them installed somewhere else, you can get errors.

The full error is like this:

You can’t keep Windows settings, personal files, and apps because your current version of Windows might be installed in an unsupported directory.

Fix Windows Installed in an unsupported directory

  • Press Windows + R to open Run.
  • Type regedit and press Enter.
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion.
  • You need to modify a few keys here. Specifically, the ones which store the location of the program files on your PC. Edit the following keys: ProgramFilesDir, ProgramFilesDir(x86), ProgramFilesPath and ProgramW6432Dir.
  • The following are the key names along with the values what you need to set them with.

ProgramFilesDir -> C:\Program Files

ProgramFilesDir(x86) -> C:\Program Files (x86)

ProgramFilesPath -> C:\Program Files

ProgramW6432Dir -> C:\Program Files

  • After editing all the values, close the registry and restart your PC.

Once you change all the keys to their correct values, Windows will be able to find the correct location for the default Program Files folders. Now, you can continue with Windows 10 setup without the Windows Installed in an unsupported directory error.

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Written by Utkarsh

Utkarsh Bhatt is a certified tech expert and software engineer for a Fortune 500 Company. He was born in 1995, making him one of the oldest members of the team at EFX. Utkarsh loves solving technical issues and is always the first to jump on any problem that needs solving. When he’s not coding or debugging, he enjoys playing video games (especially Super Smash Bros.) and watching cartoons.

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7 thoughts on “Windows 10 is Installed in an Unsupported Directory Fix”

  1. Hello,

    I have tried your method, however it still tells me that i cant keep personal files and apps. Is there maybe another option wich i could try?

    Thank you for reading my message, I hope you can help me.



  2. My register matches the desired values above except for:
    ProgramFilesPath = %Program Files%.

    Could this be the problem?

  3. I also had ProgramFilesPath = %Program Files%. I changed it per the instructions and it worked. Maybe I guess got lucky on the second try.

  4. NO GO for me as well. Like Lawrence A (above) my ProgramFilesPath = %Program Files%, because I have infrequently used programs installed on a separate SSD, with primary progs on M.2

  5. This did NOT work for me either. My ProgramFilesPath was = “%Program Files%” so I changed it to “C:\Program Files” and rebooted to no avail – I still get the “might be installed in an unsupported directory” error, even though it IS installed in C:\Windows and C:Program Files / (x86)…

    Anything else that could still be causing this?
    I have WAY too many license keyed programs to reinstall and want to avoid a clean slate install if possible.

    However Win 10 is performing so terribly at this point, I’m becoming more willing out of sheer frustration.


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