Where are apps in the Windows Store installed?

Windows 8.1 Start Screen

In Windows 7, Vista and other antiquated versions of Windows you can easily find all your programs hanging out in either:

C:\Program Files\

or

C:\Program Files (x86)\

In Windows 8 and 8.1, all your traditional desktop applications still consider the Program Files folder home; however, you might be wondering where the Modern Apps really live on your hard drive.

If you’re using the final bits release of Windows 8 or 8.1 then you can find the elusive App folder here:

C:\Program Files\WindowsApps

But if you open Program Files on your computer you won’t see the folder because it’s hidden.  In addition, even if you directly browse to the WindowsApps folder, you can’t access it even if you’re a local Administrator!

Unnerving I know.

Here’s how to get around the shenanigans:

Go the the Windows Desktop and press Windows Key + e to open your computer and enter this into the location bar:

C:\Program Files\

Windows 8.1 Program Files

Now hold down Alt and press v.  Then press two h’s, hh, in rapid succession to view all hidden items.

Think: v for view and hh for hidden.

Windows 8.1 View Hidden Files and Folders

The hidden folder appears like a phantasm on your file system.  The WindowsApps folder emerges as a diaphanous manila folder; however you still don’t have the requisite rights to browse it.

Let’s change that.  We need to tell Windows that we are the Owner of the folder.

Double click the folder.  You’ll immediately get importuned with an error claiming you don’t have permission to access it.

Windows 8.1 You don't have permission

Click Continue.  On the next warning box, click the blue underlined security tab link.

Windows 8.1 You have been denied permission

The WindowsApp Properties box should materialize.

We need to click the Advanced button so we can change the current owner.

Windows 8.1 Security tab Advanced button

So click Advanced then choose the blue Change link directly under the folder path.

Windows 8.1 Advanced Security Settings

Enter the username of your local admin account then click Check Names.  The typed text should instantly underline revealing your computer name followed by a backslash and the name of your user account.

Windows 8.1 Select Users or Groups

Clicking OK closes one box but opens another.

Since i’m signed into my Windows 8.1 machine with a Microsoft Account the Owner is my email address.

Windows 8.1 Owner

Click OK again to close this box.  And then again to close the box behind it.  Eventually you’ll get to the original denied permission box hiding behind the window mess.

Close it out then double-click WindowsApps again.  You’ll get the same error but this time when you click Continue you’ll see the whole app shebang

Windows 8.1 WindowsApps

Clearly, Microsoft doesn’t want users fiddling with files and folders here; however, if you’re like me and want to know how everything works on your system, or if you’re a developer and need to modify an App file, this little trick can be invaluable.  Now you know where all the files for the Modern Apps live!

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Posted in How To, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 Tagged with:
  • DannyMegard

    You can view the files but you can’t change them because you get an error saying you don’t have permission to edit these files. I have tried everything but to no avail. Is there anything I can do to modify these files? I would really appresiate the help! 🙂

    • You might have to right click the files choose properties, pick the security tab, click Edit… and add your account so you can take ownership of them.

      • DannyMegard

        I appreciate the reply, but I have already tried that and still nothing. There is probably nothing I can bout it though. Thanks anyways. 🙂

        • Pedro Todesco

          I have just redone the same things repeatedly on other folders and it worked.

  • Pingback: How to create a desktop shortcut to a Windows 8 Modern UI app | fixedByVonnie()

  • DCBDCB

    Worked like a charm in Windows 10 for a Windows Store purchase. Not sure if I can move it to another machine but worth a try. Many thanks!

    • besrate hogsa

      It did work like a charm😃

  • Kannibal

    Thanks a bunch, all I want to do is be able to launch the game apps with Steam.

  • Tonderai Chinyani

    i have tried everything you said but i keep on getting the error message and i cant view the files

    • Noah Tell

      You probably did wrong on writing the computer name and then your computer username

  • Rashid Jeeter

    Thanx so much!

  • Aswin Adams

    thank you Mr. Vonnie..i have a doubt..can i be able to use these files to reinstall the app after i reinstall the windows?

  • Rohit Shrivastava

    Thanks. This is very helpful. I have installed a Pluralsight player which stores the videos offline. But I could not find were it stores. I tried finding some video file extension but didn’t find. Can you fix this Vonnie?

  • Zakee Khattak

    All this to use my Steam Controller with Killer Instinct. Thanks!

  • Very useful. I wanted to use an app to subscribe to an RSS feed with Firefox, not its damn bookmarks. Mr. Vonnie at least got me to the point where Windows told me it was impossible, because it needed to run in an app container. Gahhh

  • MountainDew

    how can i change an app icon label or add a label?

  • Thank you, Mr. Hudson, for this insane journey into Windows. The key commands for viewing hidden files, and the last few dialogs, in particular, felt like a glide down the rabbit hole. Much joy was derived.

    Sadly, my problem remains unsolved. It is how to get the Wordfeud-app to appear as a clickable shortcut in the Windows10 Games folder.

    My exploration not over.

  • Warrick Lehmann

    i still cant open the applications because windows smartscreen will not let me. how do i turn it off?

  • Ebenezer Scrooge

    i see the minecraft.windows.exe in there… but creating a shortcut with rainmeter’s honeycomb icons doesn’t seem to work 🙁

  • GrandeCena

    genius thx

  • luna

    what is username of your local admin account?? do i just make it up? im trying to find the save file for a game ive been playing but has recently stopped loading. im trying to backup the save file so i can transfer it and/or reinstall the game and keep progress.

    • Jacqueline Beck

      if you go to your C drive and click users, then it shows your name there 🙂

  • vama89

    Thanks for the tip!

  • Location Searching

    Dumb question, how do i now undo this?