How to Access the WindowsApps Folder in Windows 10

Access Windowsapps Folder Featured

Many of us may not have heard of it, but Windows 10 has a hidden folder named ‘WindowsApps,” where all the latest apps, such as Microsoft Store apps, are sandboxed from everything else in the system. Its ownership is held by a built-in Microsoft user account called “TrustedInstaller,” which makes it technically difficult to access for security reasons.

Why would you want to bypass this restriction? For one, there is a lot of reusable space inside the WindowsApps folder, and you should get rid of the unnecessary junk. Even if you don’t delete anything, you will find relevant information on apps like Mail, Photos, and games installed through Xbox Game Pass for PC. If you’re the Administrator or system user of your computer, follow the methods below to access the WindowsApps folder.

The Faster Method: Take Ownership Registry Hack

There are two distinct ways to reach the WindowsApps folder: either by using a simple registry hack or through a manual change of folder ownership. Both are equally safe, though the first one is slightly faster.

To use the fast context-menu method, you can download this Take Ownership registry hack (no longer available). To install it, just open the ZIP file and double-click “InstallTakeOwnership.reg.” You may also extract the folder first to open the file. There is another file, “RemoveTakeOwnership.reg,” which does the complete opposite by restoring ownership to TrustedInstaller.

Windowsapps Folder Takeownership Registry

You will get a registry editor alert that “adding the information can unintentionally change or delete values and cause components to stop working correctly.” This is just a precautionary note that you can safely ignore in the case of this installer. Click “Yes” to proceed.

Windowsapps Folder Takeownership Confirmation

You should notice an “Install TakeOwnership.reg have been successfully added to the registry” success message.

Windowsapps Folder Takeownership Updated

Now go to your Windows File Explorer “frequent folders” using the shortcut key Win + E. Go to “This PC” and open C drive where the Program Files will be available.

Windowsapps Folder Thispc

Go down the Program Files path, and you will notice a hidden WindowsApps folder. If you haven’t previously enabled viewing hidden folders on your PC, go to the “View” tab and check the “hidden items” menu.

Once the hidden WindowsApps folder is visible, right-click and select “Take ownership.”

Windowsapps Folder Takeownership In Folder

A command prompt window will open, which will confirm a transfer of WindowsApps folder ownership. Close the window.

Windowsapps Folder Takeownership Success

Now you will be able to access the WindowsApps folder easily.

Windowsapps Folde Recovered

You can choose to delete unnecessary files from WindowsApps if you want. This will bring back a lot of reusable space on C drive.

Windowsapps Folder Deleted Usable Space

Second Method: Get Access to WindowsApps Folder in Windows 10 Manually

If you don’t want to have a “Take Ownership” command in your context menu for security or other reasons, you can access the WindowsApps folder manually as well.

Go back to the Program Files in C drive and try to notice the hidden WindowsApps folder. The detailed steps to view the hidden folder have been covered in the previous section.

Windowsapps Folder Located

Though you can see the folder, you cannot open the folder to see the files in it. If you try to open it, your access will be denied even if you are the administrator.

Windowsapps Folder Access Denied

To get access to the WindowsApps folder, right-click on the folder and then select the “Properties” option from the list of context menu options.

windowsapps-folder-select-properties

The above action will open the Properties window. Navigate to the Security tab and click on the “Advanced” button appearing at the bottom of the window.

Windowsapps Folder Security Advanced

Once the Advanced Security Settings window has been opened, click on the “Change” link appearing next to “TrustedInstaller,” which is a default setting.

Windowsapps Folde Click Change

Under the “Select User or Group” window you will find the “Check Names” button. Your task is to enter any name which is registered with your PC. This action will automatically fill in the object name. If it’s your own PC, you’re the administrator, meaning you can simply type administrator and click “Check Names.” This is really the fastest approach to get the correct access.

Windowsapps Select User Check Name

As shown here, the “Administrator” name is acceptable to the system and is automatically added. Just click “OK” to proceed.

Windowsapps Select User Name Automatically Added

You may use other system user names as well. As long as a system user is authorized to view the hidden folders and apps, they can access the WindowsApps folder as the new owner.

windowsapps-folder-enter-username

If the system user is unknown or you made a spelling error, you will notice a “cannot be found” error while trying to add the incorrect name.

Windowsapps Select User Name Incorrect Name

Now we come to the main step. Here in the main window you can see that the owner of the folder has been changed to your specified administrator account. Before applying the change, make sure that the “Replace owner on sub containers and objects” checkbox is selected, otherwise you won’t be able to interact with other files and folders inside the WindowsApps folder.

After you’ve done everything, click on the Apply and OK buttons to save the changes.

Windowsapps Folder Replace Owner Subcontainers

As soon as you click on the OK button, Windows will start to change the file and folder permissions.

Windowsapps Select Changing Ownership 1

You will finally notice a success status message: “If you have just taken ownership of this object, you will need to close and reopen this object’s properties before you can view or change permissions.” Click OK to proceed.

Windowsapps Close And Reopen Object

Now you should be able to access the WindowsApps folder without any problems, either in administrator mode or as an approved system user.

Whichever method you use, you should now have access to the WindowsApps folder. You can also use the same method to take control of any folder on your hard drive. For further tips and hacks for Windows 10, read our guide on how to check CPU temperatures on your PC. And in a bit of a throwback guide, we’ve curated a list of great screensavers for Windows 10, too.

Image credit: Windows 10 main screen with all apps running by DepositPhotos

Sayak Boral Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over ten years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

25 comments

    1. I have a SOLUTION for those still unable to gain ownership of the WindowsApps folder!

      Follow the second method above but do not click APPLY and OK just yet, you need to go to the auditing tab which is located under the checkbox “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects”.
      Here are the extra steps:

      STEP 7:
      In the “Auditing” tab:
      – choose ADD
      – choose PRINCIPAL
      – type in “Everyone”
      – click OK

      STEP 8:
      – check the box “Full control”
      – check the box “Only apply these settings to objects and/or containers within this container.”
      – Click OK
      – if prompted click YES or OK
      Click APPLY and OK.
      Click OK again to close the window.

      STEP 9:
      REPEAT STEP 1 and 2
      In the “Permissions” tab:
      – select the name you used to change ownership in step 5 and click REMOVE.
      – select Administrator and click REMOVE
      – select User and click REMOVE
      – click ADD
      – choose PRINCIPAL
      – type in the same name you used to change ownership
      – click OK
      REPEAT STEP 8
      You can now ACCESS the WindowsApps folder.

      This also works if you choose “Administrator” as a principal and owner.
      This also works for any folder that may show corruption or is inaccessible.

      The REASON WHY:
      Changing ownership for the WindowsApps results for many users in an error that even Microsoft can’t figure out.
      This is because when changing ownership, the new owner already has permission settings, those settings need to be removed and re-added in the permissions list. But in order to do so the auditing settings of that folder needs full control.

      TLDR:
      For those who know what they’re doing. This is how you gain access to WindowsApps folder:
      Change ownership to admin. Add in auditing “Everyone” with full control. Apply and close all windows. Re-open properties>security>advanced and remove all users and administrators. Add admin with full control and apply.
      Good luck.

  1. I’ve been struggling with every solution as to why I got the error when trying to do updates through the Microsoft Store! I downloaded the registry hack and followed the rest of the instructions. It finally works!!! Thank you so much. I tried doing the manual ownership through other solutions but it never solved the issue. Maybe I wasn’t doing it right. Thanks again!

  2. This is a really bad idea. You will forever break the windows store and its functions. All UWP apps basically need that folder.

    1. If youre not using UWP apps or anything form the Windows store, I doesnt make any difference. Besides acessing the Windowsapps follder does not disable or delete it.

    2. Boknowseverything??? This comment proves YOU KNOW NOTHING.

      This article is built, if you want to clear a lot of your C: disk space very easily and without installing any third-party software.

  3. This doenst work. I have moved my WindowsApps to d:\WindowsApps – tried the manual way and the download.
    I do get ownership of parts of the folder, but not games folders for GamePass at least.

  4. I tried the manual way and changed owner to administrator and it appeared to be changing, but then when I try to open the windowsapps folder again it still denies access just the same… Tried to run explorer in admin mode too, but still denied…

  5. Cheers. It was driving me insane not being able to get into the windowsapps folder to associate a file type .psd with pain.net. All sorted now.

  6. You can access individual folders inside WindowsApps without tampering with the permissions (I’d advise against it since I’ve messed up my Windows installation several times just by changing permissions to critical folders):
    1. Open an app (e.g. WhatsApp).
    2. Open Task Manager and go to the app.
    3. Expand its process tree, right-click a subitem and select “Open file location”. This command will open the Explorer inside the WindowsApps folder for that particular app (in this case, WhatsApp).

    Note that some apps need different tricks. For example, Groove Music:
    1. Open Groove Music.
    2. Open Task Manager and go to the app.
    3. Expand its process tree, right-click a subitem and select “Go to details”. This command will open the Details tab from Task Manager, with Music.UI.exe selected.
    4. Right-click this item and select “Open file location”. This will lead you to this app’s folder inside WindowsApps.

  7. None of these processes resolved the problem for me. I am not sure why this was the case because I am not knowledgeable with systems. I do have a solid state drive. I am running Windows 10, version 2004, build 19041.804.

  8. It worked for me, thanks! But, after mission completed, how to undo it again, i.e. hand back the ownership to the system? I’d like to do so to distress hackers entering that place.

  9. OMG, if you’ve never taken ownership using security tabs and get it right the first time, you’re amazing! Now do it nine more times. :)

    Use the context menu hack, it’s available from many different sources. Super simple.
    Another link:
    https://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/take_full_ownership_of_files_folders_registry_hack.html

    You won’t get anywhere with much of any OS change unless you’re an adminstrator first.

  10. This does not work. The assigned owner/admin is me. But when I try to take ownership or delete, it will not let me… lovely

  11. dident work for me. I had to set the ownership to everyone first and then change the permissions.. but still after doing that im not allowed to delete because I need permission…from myself? wtf..

  12. Thanks Mr Sayak Boral.
    Following the steps in your article, now I am able to open WindowsApps. In fact, I wanted to disable internet access to Solitaire Collection so that while playing any of the games of the Collection internet is not used in order to avoid annoying ads there. But, I don’t find the app Solitaire Collection in the list. Hence, despite the success to open the Apps I’m still unable to do what I really wanted.

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