How to Change Metro Apps Default Installation Location in Windows 8?

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One of the best and most impressive feature of Windows 8 is the new Store and its apps. Microsoft has added Google Android and Apple style apps and store in Windows 8 which allows you to download lots of free and paid apps on your Windows 8 PC, laptop, mobile phone or tablet.

But no one knows where are these apps installed in the computer? There is no information shown about the installation location when you are installing an app using Windows Store. If you manually browse the C: drive where Windows 8 is installed in your computer, you can't see any folder containing these apps files.

I have received many emails from various AskVG readers asking questions about apps installation folder. A few of them are as following:

  • Where does Windows 8 install and store apps in computer?
  • Where can I see metro apps files?
  • How can I change the default installation location of apps in Windows 8?

There are many people who want to know the installation folder of apps and also want to change this location with their desired folder or drive.

So today I decided to create this tutorial which will tell you where does Windows 8 store all built-in as well as downloaded apps and how to change this location to your desired folder.

For your convenience I have divided this tutorial in 2 parts:

  • Part 1: Default Installation Location of Metro Apps in Windows 8
  • Part 2: How to Change Default Installation Location of Metro Apps in Windows 8?

So without wasting time lets start the tutorial:

Part 1: Default Installation Location of Metro Apps in Windows 8

By default Windows 8 stores all apps in a folder "WindowsApps" present in "Program Files" folder. To access this folder follow these simple steps:

1. Open My Computer and go to C: drive. Now double-click on "Program Files" folder.

2. This folder contains "WindowsApps" folder but you'll not be able to see it because its a hidden folder.

3. You'll need to enable the option to show hidden files and folders. You can enable the option by clicking on "View" menu in ribbon and enable "Hidden items" checkbox.

4. Now you'll be able to see "WindowsApps" folder as shown in following screenshot:

Windows_8_Apps_Install_Folder.png

5. If you try to open this folder, you'll get following error message:

You don't currently have permission to access this folder. Click Continue to permanently get access to this folder.

And if you click on continue button, you'll get another error message:

You have been denied permission to access this folder. To gain access to this folder you will need to use the security tab.

It happens because you don't have sufficient permissions to open the folder.

6. You'll need to take ownership of the folder. Just follow the steps given in following tutorial:

[Guide] How to Take Ownership (Permission) of a File or Folder Manually in Windows?

7. Once you take ownership, you'll be able to view the content of "WindowsApps" folder. You'll find various folders containing all installed apps as shown in following screenshot:

Open_Windows_8_Apps_Install_Folder.png

So this is the folder which stores all built-in and 3rd party installed apps in Windows 8.

Part 2: How to Change Default Installation Location of Metro Apps in Windows 8?

Now the question comes how to change this installation location of apps? How to install metro apps in our desired folder or drive in Windows 8? Many times we may want to install apps in a different location other than the system drive because of low disk space or any other reason. If we install apps in a different folder, we'll be able to view its content without any permission problem.

Windows 8 installs all the apps in "WindowsApps" folder because its path is stored in Registry. If you change the installation path in Registry, you'll be able to install metro apps in your desired location.

So if you want to change default installation location of metro apps in Windows 8, follow these simple steps:

PS: Please read the NOTE given at the end before following the steps!

1. Press "WIN+R" key combination to launch RUN dialog box then type regedit and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

2. Now go to following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Appx

3. In right-side pane, you'll see a String PackageRoot containing "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" as its value.

Default_Windows_8_Metro_Apps_Installation_Folder.png

4. You just need to change its value to your desired drive or folder. But Windows will not allow you to modify its value because you don't have required permissions.

To change the value, you'll need to take ownership of "Appx" key using following tutorial:

[Guide] How to Take Ownership (Permission) of a Registry Key in Windows?

5. After taking ownership and assigning full control to your user account, double-click on PackageRoot and change its value to your custom location such as E:\WindowsApps or any other location.

Custom_Windows_8_Metro_Apps_Installation_Folder.png

6. That's it. Close Registry Editor and restart your system and now whenever you'll install a new app from Store, it'll be installed in the new location instead of default installation location.

NOTE: There is a drawback using this method. Since you change the app install location, whenever you try to update already installed apps which were installed in default location before applying this Registry tweak, the apps will refuse to update and will show error message. It happens because the old installation path and the new installation path at the time of update do not match.

To fix this issue, you'll need to first uninstall all built-in and 3rd party apps before applying this Registry tweak. First uninstall all apps, then change location using Registry method given above and then reinstall the apps. Now everything should work fine.

To uninstall or reinstall apps in Windows 8, check out following tutorial:

How to Restore Accidentally Uninstalled Built-in Apps in Windows 8?





Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 8 / 8.1


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