How to Get Access to WindowsApps Folder in Windows 10

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Since Windows 8 Windows has had a growing number of built-in, automatically installed “apps” – from everyday things like Mail and Photos to games that you may not even know you have (Bubble Witch 3 Saga, anyone?). These are contained in the WindowsApps folder on your hard drive which can’t be accessed without a little tweaking.

Here we’re going to not only tell you the location of the elusive WindowsApps folder in Windows 10 but show you a couple of ways in which you can access and edit it.

This guide will show the manual method of getting access to whatever folder you want, but you can take a shortcut by downloading and using the “Take Ownership” context menu option instead.

This basically carries out the entire process below in a single click. (If you share a computer and are concerned about other people taking ownership of various folders and the click of a mouse button, then you should probably scroll down to the manual method.)

To use the fast, context-menu method, you can download this Take Ownership registry hack. To install it, just extract the ZIP file, double-click “InstallTakeOwnership.reg,” and follow the instructions.

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Next, go to your WindowsApps folder (C:Program Files by default, but you may need to unhide it by clicking “View” at the top of File Explorer, then ticking the “Hidden items” box).

Once you you can see WindowsApps, right-click it and click the new “Take Ownership” button in the context menu. A Powershell prompt will open and run a command to take control of the folder. Once this is done, you can access WindowsApps!

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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 instead.

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The WindowsApps folder is hidden from plain sight. To see the folder, head over to the Program Files folder, click on the “View” tab, and then select the “Hidden Items” checkbox.

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This action will show you all the hidden folders including the “WindowsApps” folder.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Once the Advanced Security Settings window has been opened, click on the “Change” link. You will receive a UAC (User Access Control) prompt. Simply click on the “Yes” button to continue.

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Now the window will show you all the permissions of the WindowsApps folder. As you can see, this folder belongs to the system, thus you are not able to access it. To change it, click on the “Change” link appearing next to “TrustedInstaller.”

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The above action will open the “Select User or Group” window. Here, enter your administrator username and click on the “Check Names’ button. This action will automatically fill in the object name. Now, click on the “OK” button to continue.

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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 “OK” button to save the changes.

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As soon as you click on the OK button, Windows starts to change the file and folder permissions. This process may take some time, so sit back and wait until the process is completed.

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Once the file and folder permissions have been changed, you can easily access it like any other folder in the Program Files folder as long as you are an administrator or have administrator rights.

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Whichever of the above methods you used, you should now have access to your WindowsApps folder. The even better news is that you now know how to take control of any folder on your hard drive. If a folder doesn’t let you in due to admin privileges, then the above method can be used for that too.

This article was first published in December 2015 and was updated in June 2018.

Image credit: Photo of a Windows 8.1 operated laptop by George Dolgikh/Shutterstock

47 comments

  1. Thank You … I read your blog/newsletter almost every day and appreciate your efforts very much!
    I also pass your posts on to my friends and family …. at least the ones who are tecchies.
    Russ, Durham, Maine USA

  2. Doesnt work for me lol. Cant change folder attributes. And in doesnt find trusted installer as a element of permissions when i enter it.

    • This guide is very poorly written. To better explain things:

      What you’re doing here is changing first the owner of the files from TrustedInstaller to your own user.

      Then after you have taken ownership, you can change the permissions for your user to have full access to the files.

      Permissions and ownership cannot be granted to TrustedInstaller from the GUI. So you cannot put it back to the way it was before with this method, so be careful. If you carelessly change permissions, especially when using the checkbox “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects”. If you do this to the wrong folder, you can quickly find your system unusable, which may end up costing you money if you do not know how to fix it yourself.

      Typically, changing ownership is pretty harmless, but if you change permissions, try your best to NOT remove/modify permissions already present on the file for any other users than yourself, even if they seem a little odd at first.

  3. Thank you! I’ve found a trojan that’s been making google chrome run way too slow. Its stupid I, the owner, don’t have permission to go places.

  4. Acces denied at the last Ok button ..i hate so much this kind of things.So now i can’t fking acces my fking files? Is this a kind of joke/chalange from microsoft

  5. I’ve followed all of the steps, however when I hit the “Replace Owner” checkbox and then “OK” nothing happens. I try to access the folder and I get the same message as before. Now instead of owner being listed as “Trusted Installer” it just says “Unable to display current owner.” This is starting to get under my skin a little bit.

  6. I discovered there is a folder Windows Apps thanks to Undelete360, but when I want to access it does not show in Program Files, despite the hidden files are checked to show. I conducted a search again showing hidden files and still that folder is invisible. I want to delete Program Files/Windows Apps/king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga I don´t have a clue where it came from. I followed your instructions and the folder Windows Apps does not show on W10. Could you kindly assist…

  7. This article was VERY CLEAR and EASY to understand. Just installed windows 10 Pro and this was the first thing i took ownership of.

    Thanks again for such a damn easy to read/follow guide, that even a SEVEN YEAR old could easily understand and complete!

    Cheers!

  8. It is all very well and good to gain access to and manually delete these folders, but I would only recommend doing so when you are ABSOLUTELY sure Windows is not somehow linking to the folder.
    There should be a utility to correlate registered apps with their corresponding folders and delete only folders that are not otherwise associated with a registration. Otherwise you could have BIG problems, especially with the new Apps system.
    This is similar to the C:Windowsinstaller folder that often would get gummed up with msi/msp cache files, particularly with windows updates that repeatedly failed. For a while Microsoft had a installer cleanup utility they had intended for Microsoft Office but worked for all of windows, removing unregistered msi/msp files. Unfortunately Microsoft repealed the installer cleanup. Now they need the same thing for the newfangled App installs, especially for apps that were included for one version of Windows, such as Bing apps in 8.1, but repealed in later versions of Windows, such as 10, but remain through the upgrade process.

  9. Worked somewhat for me. Problem is I can’t add any files to a particular app that allows for in app purchases. I need to be able to add files that I bought to the app. Anyway to do that?

  10. It worked just fine, my Groove music app was crashing but after i took owner of the folder it’s working just fine, Thanks to you.

  11. If you cannot find your username when you press check names and if you sign in using your e-mail or a Microsoft account:

    When you get to the part about searching for your username, type in the e-mail address you use to log into Windows 10.

  12. Thank you for this method.It worked perfectly very well for me.
    But I am afraid that this may cause any problems in future. Because I am not an expert user and just a normal user. I have a doubt that due to allowing access to this folder, will it cause any problems in future?

  13. after following all the steps, after the “changing ownership of” finished running, a popup saying, “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”. after i do so, it brings me right back to square one, i go through the whole process again and get the same popup again. it is an endless loop. why?

  14. This method can be dangerous on Windows 10. The default “tile” apps – things like Microsoft Store, Calculator, and even the Start menu (since it depends on the tiles) – are stored in this location, and Windows expects certain permissions to be available for the TrustedInstaller user. I’ve tried this process three times; each time, after taking ownership of the files (without encountering any errors) and doing *nothing else*, most of my default apps (those mentioned above) stopped working properly. Moreover, when I used the standard methods to get them back – running SFC and DISM, and running the GetApp commands from Powershell – it failed to resolve the problem. I had to do an in-place upgrade to get them working again.

    So I would not recommend this at all.

  15. The “Take Ownership” file works great and helped sole my problems (ripping out all remaining files for the pre-installed “Power2Go”, “Power Director for Dell”, and “Media Suite Essential for Dell”. Thanks very much for this!

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