[Windows 8] How to install Windows Store apps in custom folder (and how to move already installed apps to custom folder)

In Windows 8, there are two types of applications – desktop apps and Windows Store apps (aka Metro/Modern UI apps). As you already know from previous versions of Windows, programs are installed in “C:\Program Files”. Windows Store apps, however, are stored in a subfolder — in “C:\Program Files\WindowsApps”. If you want to store Windows Store apps in a different folder, you have come to the right place. In this article, I will not only show you how to move already installed Windows Store apps to a different folder but also how to make future Windows Store apps install in the new directory of your choosing.

HOW TO MOVE ALREADY INSTALLED APPS AND HOW TO CHANGE FOLDER WHERE WINDOWS STORE APPS ARE INSTALLED

First of all, you need to make sure that there are no Windows Store apps running. However, I recommend that you should restart your computer before we start moving the folder to prevent the harm to installed apps.

Once there are no apps running, you need to open Command Prompt in Administrator mode. You can do this by pressing Windows key (on the tablet, swipe from the right edge then choose Search” and start typing “cmd.” After that, you need to right click/long tap on the “Command Prompt” result and choose “Run as Administrator” in the app bar below.

In the Command Prompt window, you have to run this command:

  • takeown /F “C:\Program Files\WindowsApps” /A /R (C is your primary drive and the command includes the quotes on the direction).

This command will take ownership for all files in WindowsApps folder, so that you are able to do next steps. You may need to wait for the process finish.

After that, you should run this command exactly:

  • robocopy “C:\Program Files\WindowsApps” “D:\WindowsApps” /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT (C is your primary drive. “D:\WindowsApps” is the new place you want to move to. Remember that there are the quotes in the command and you mustn’t remove it).

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Once the process has finished, you have to make sure that all files and sub folders moved successfully by reading the summary text. If there is anything was ignored, you need to delete the destination folder and redo this step.

Now when the moving succeeded, you can delete the WindowsApps folder in the old direction by using this command:

  • rmdir /S “C:\Program Files\WindowsApps”

What you have to do next is the most important step because it will make the link between the old and the new place. By doing this, when you install an app from Windows Store, it will be placed in the new folder you just moved to.

So, run this command to do it:

  • mklink /D “C:\Program Files\WindowsApps” “D:\WindowsApps”

Now you are done. You should restart Windows now.

CONCLUSION

Hope you find this article helpful.

[via xdadevelopers]

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9 comments

  1. thommck

    Thanks, this could be just what I was looking for.

    I’m trying to free up HDD space on my 32GB tablet ready for the Windows 8.1 upgrade.

    Is it likely to cause issues if I move them onto an SD card? I’m never likely to take the card out so I’m hoping it will be OK?

  2. MIke

    Moving applications to another computer is generally not a good choice to begin with. Applications can be reinstalled, The user data being the important piece.

    The last step in the described process is creating a symbolic link. It is like a shortcut but it fools the OS into thinking the directory structure is still located in the same place. Doing this requires no registry or other changes due to everything seemingly being located in the same place as before the move.

  3. MIke

    I moved mine because I have an SSD that serves as my primary windows drive. SSds are still expensive on a MB/$ ratio meaning most people don’t have unlimited space like they would on a HD. This folder, especially since I never run the apps any way, and the WinSxS folder take up valuable space better served for other purposes. I hope that this explains why some would want this folder elsewhere.

  4. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    @spamname: No idea why one would want them in another folder. However, I’d imagine there is no need to move programs to another computer. I haven’t used Win8 myself but my guess is users can easily install apps on other computers via their Windows Store account.

  5. spamname

    Interesting concept. Why would I want my applications in a different folder? Would I be able to move my folder to a different computer and still have the apps working? What about registry settings?