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The How to Change Default Install Location for Apps on Windows 10 PC
Historically, users could almost always manage the installation of traditional Windows applications by changing the installation directory through the application installer. This allowed, for example, gamers to install their PC games and emulators on a dedicated game player, or those involved in multimedia production to install video and photo applications on fast SSDs and storage bays at the same time. instead of their default “C:” drive.
With Windows 10, however, Microsoft is starting to take a more centralized approach to app management. Although users can still change the installation directory for traditional Win32 apps, there are no such options when installing Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps from sources such as the Windows 10 Store. By default, apps, games, and media from the Windows Store will be installed on the user’s primary Windows drive, even if other storage drives are available. Fortunately, this default behavior can be changed, but there are a few important caveats to the process. Let’s take a look at changing your install location.
Changing the default installation location
First, to change the default install location for Universal Windows apps and content, make sure you are running the most recent version of Windows 10 and then head to Settings> System> Storage.
At the top of the Settings window, you’ll see all of your available storage drives and the amount of free space available on each one, which can help you decide which drive to set as the default drive for new apps and the new one. content.
At the bottom of the screen is a section titled Save locations with options for apps, documents, music, pictures and videos. We focus on apps (which include games) in this article, but the steps for changing the default locations for other types of content are the same.
Once you’ve chosen your new default install location for Windows 10 apps, select the drive from the drop-down menu under “New apps will be saved to” and click Apply.
New folders will be created at the root of your new default install drive depending on the content type. In the case of apps, you’ll see a new folder with the name of your Windows 10 user account and a separate restricted folder called “WindowsApps”. As new apps are downloaded, you will also see the temporary system and download folders created.
After choosing your new install drive for Windows 10 apps, all future Universal apps and downloads from the Windows Store will be installed to the designated drive instead of your system drive. Note, however, the keywords “all future universal apps and downloads from the Windows Store.” When you change the default install location of your Windows 10 apps, the new apps will be installed on the new drive while the existing apps will stay in their current location, which can be problematic if the reason you are changing your Default installation location is Free up space on your system drive.
To move existing Windows 10 apps and games on an individual basis, you need to head to Settings> System> Apps and features. There you will see a large list of all currently installed Universal and Win32 apps. Traditional Win32 apps can only be uninstalled or changed through their installers, but your Universal Windows apps can be moved between your storage drives as you like.
To move an installed Windows 10 app to a new storage drive, click it once in the “Apps & Features” list to display two buttons: Move and Uninstall. Click on Move and you will see a pop-up window that tells you the drive that the app is currently installed on and offers a drop-down list, similar to the one pictured earlier, that contains your PC’s other storage drives.
Select the drive to which you want to move your application and click on Move. Windows will take some time to process the change and move the application files to the new drive. How long this takes will depend on the size of the application and the speed of the two drives.
Windows 10 app management tips and problems
While users do not have complete control over the process of installing an app with the new Universal Apps, the advantage of Microsoft’s approach in Windows 10 is that all types of apps – simple ones Utilities to complex games, to massive media editing suites – can be downloaded. , installed and moved between storage drives with just a few clicks. This makes software more accessible and easier to manage for a wider audience of users, but it is not without its drawbacks.
The first problem is that while you can change the drive an app is installed on, you can’t manage UWP apps at the folder level. With most Win32 applications, users can choose to install the application in any folder or subdirectory on any drive. With UWP apps, the apps will be installed in the required system folders at the root of the drive. For those obsessed with managing digital data, this is a troubling reality.
The second problem is that the folders containing the apps installed from the Windows Store are protected, which means that the user cannot, by default, open or view the files contained in the app. This isn’t a major problem for many users, but it does cause headaches for developers, power users, and gamers.
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