The WindowsApps folder in Windows 10 is a hidden system folder that contains the installation files and data for apps installed from the Microsoft Store. This folder plays a crucial role in managing Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps on your system.
However, since the WindowsApps folder is hidden by default, accessing it requires a few extra steps. This article will walk you through everything you need to know to access, view contents, modify permissions, and make changes to the WindowsApps folder in Windows 10.
Table of Contents
- Locating the Hidden WindowsApps Folder
- Why Access to the WindowsApps Folder is Restricted
- Taking Ownership of the WindowsApps Folder
- Viewing Contents of the WindowsApps Folder
- Modifying Folder Permissions
- Making Changes Within WindowsApps
- Best Practices for Accessing WindowsApps
- Alternative Methods to Access WindowsApps
Locating the Hidden WindowsApps Folder
The WindowsApps folder resides within the Program Files folder on your C: drive. To locate it:
- Open File Explorer and navigate to
- Click on the View tab in the File Explorer ribbon
- Check the box next to Hidden items under the Show/hide section
- You should now see the WindowsApps folder appear in the Program Files directory
Why Access to the WindowsApps Folder is Restricted
When you try to open the WindowsApps folder, you’ll likely see an error message stating:
“You don’t currently have permission to access this folder.”
This is because, by default, Windows restricts access to this folder even for administrators. This is done for security reasons – to prevent users from accidentally modifying critical app data.
Taking Ownership of the WindowsApps Folder
To view contents and make changes within the WindowsApps folder, you’ll need to take ownership of it:
- Right-click on WindowsApps and select Properties
- Go to the Security tab > Click Advanced > Click Change under Owner
- Check the box for Replace owner on subcontainers and objects
- Click OK and apply the changes
You’ll now have full control to access WindowsApps.
Viewing Contents of the WindowsApps Folder
Once you take ownership, you can view folders for all your installed Microsoft Store apps inside WindowsApps.
Each app folder typically includes files like:
- App installation files and binaries
- App data folders
- App manifests
- App licenses
- App icons and images
So you can peek inside to see what makes up an app package.
Modifying Folder Permissions
Now that you have access, you can modify the permissions as needed. For example, you can:
- Grant users Read/Write permissions
- Allow specific users or groups to access WindowsApps
- Reset permissions back to default
Caution: Resetting permissions incorrectly can cause apps to fail or crash.
Making Changes Within WindowsApps
With full access to WindowsApps, you can:
- Open app folders to access app files
- Edit configuration files or app data
- Delete specific apps by removing their folder
- Clear temporary app files to save disk space
- Move the WindowsApps folder location
However, exercise caution before modifying contents, as this can lead to instability or app failures.
Best Practices for Accessing WindowsApps
When working within WindowsApps, follow these best practices:
- Create a system restore point before making changes
- Avoid deleting system apps critical for Windows functioning
- Make backups before editing files or clearing app data
- Test app stability after making major modifications
Only make changes if you fully understand the implications.
Alternative Methods to Access WindowsApps
Aside from File Explorer, you can also use:
- Windows Command Prompt with admin access
- Windows Powershell as administrator
- Third-party apps like 7-Zip File Manager
These methods can provide access to edit, delete, or move files within WindowsApps.
Accessing the restricted WindowsApps folder requires overriding default permissions. Once gained, you can view and modify contents – but with caution. Backups and restore points help prevent issues.
Overall, understanding what resides in WindowsApps can provide deeper insight into how UWP apps work on your system. But tread carefully, as the folder contains vital data for proper app functioning.