Install or Move Windows 10 Apps to another Partition or External Drive

One of the most common things which I did use my PC, in the old days, was making more space in my C Drive. Those days we always had less space allocated for the OS. So when we need to install something which was of considerable size, choosing a different drive was the only option. In this post, I will share tips to move or install or move Windows 10 apps to another partition or storage device in Windows 10

Install or Move Windows 10 Apps to another Partition or External Drive

There are two ways to change installed, and future app install locations. I will suggest you use the first one unless you are further customizing it.

  1. Use Native method to move apps
  2. Move App installation folder

Always create a restore point before doing any such changes.

1] Use Native method to install or move Windows 10 apps

Move Apps in Windows 10

  • Go to Settings > Apps and features
  • Find the app from the list, and click on it.
  • You will have two options—Move and Install.
  • When you click on Move, it will ask to choose a drive where it can be moved.

After a few minutes, the process will complete, and the app location will change. You will have free space on the computer. The time to move apps depends on the size of the app.

Change default installation location in Windows 10

Since you are moving apps, I would recommend you to change the future installation as well. Go to Settings > Storage > More Storage Settings > Change where new content is saved.

Change default app installation location in Windows 10

Here you change where new apps will be saved. Along with this, you can also choose where music, documents, photos, videos, movies, etc. will be saved.

2] Move Windows 10 Apps installation folder

It reminds me of the popular Stream Move Program which can move Big games from the main drive to any other drive you want without any issue. I hope this still works though I haven’t tested It recently.

Windows 10 is different, and you get options to choose a directory here. Everything is predefined, and you aren’t supposed to mess with it.  Even then few users at XDA have come with a trick which works most of the time if not all the time(looking at the responses in the comments).

It is done by moving the base directory of Windows 10 App installation to another folder but keeping the link alive. This way, you don’t crash any of the existing Tiles.

Follow the steps as below:

  • First launch command prompt with admin privilege.
  • Type takeown /F “C:\Program Files\WindowsApps” /A /R (Take Ownership of the Directory)
  • Copy All files:  robocopy “C:\Program FilesWindowsApps” D:\WindowsApps” /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT
  • Delete Original Directory : rmdir /S “C:\Program FilesWindowsApps”
  • Create the symlink: mklink /D “C:Program FilesWindowsApps” “D:WindowsApps”

Why use Symbolic Links?

Symlink means Symbolic Link, which acts as call forwarder when somebody requests the original location which we moved to a new destination. This way, any request to launch the app from Tiles, or even when installing the apps don’t fail.

After looking at the thread, it seems many users rant into permission issue and here is one fix from one of the users which fixed it on his surface.

C:\windows\system32>icacls "c:program fileswindowsapps" /grant Administrator:(D,WDAC)

Then re-run the rmdir command. It should fix the native apps like weather, mail, etc. from crashing.

If you tried this, let us know how it worked for you.


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