Manage Windows 10 Microsoft Store App Install Locations

Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is the new architecture for apps installed through sources such as the Microsoft Store.  This format was created by Microsoft to allow Universal Apps to be developed that run on both Window 10 and Windows 10 Mobile without needing to be rewritten.

Restricted Install Folder

Microsoft is taking a more controlled approach to managing app files installed from the Microsoft Store.  By default these apps land in the following folder: C:\Program Files\WindowsApps

This is a hidden folder, so it can’t be seen unless the option to view hidden items is enabled.  It also has restricted view rights, so an error may be displayed when attempting to browse to the folder:

windowsappsdenied

It’s obvious Microsoft doesn’t want people messing around with these app files.  If they do need to be accessed, the security settings can be modified to mark an account as the owner which will then let that account explore the WindowsApps folder.

To browse the WindowsApps folder, right-click it and select Properties, go to the Security tab, and click the Advanced button.  On the Advanced Security Settings window that appears, click Change next to Owner:

windowsappschangeowner

Enter the name of your administrator account and click the Check Names button.  The typed text should then underline itself and change to your computer name followed by a backslash and your account name:

windowsappsaddaccount

Click OK to close this window.  The Advanced Security Settings window will then refresh and list the new owner.  Click OK again and the WindowsApps folder can now be browsed.

Change Install Location

It is possible to change the install location for Microsoft Store apps, but Windows only lets a different drive be selected; a specific folder level can not be specified.  This setting can be found in Windows 10 under Settings -> System -> Storage:

appssavelocation

When changed to a different drive, a WindowsApps folder will be created on the root which will then host all future app installs.

Move Existing Install Files

Once a new install location has been specified, apps that are already installed can be migrated.  This setting is found under Settings -> System ->Apps & Features.  A list of all existing applications will be listed.  When a Universal App is selected, a Move button is available:

settingsmoveapp

Overall Microsoft is taking a different approach to managing these app files, but with a little understanding they can be managed.

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