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How to move AppData folder on Windows 10

The AppData folder is a folder that is created by Windows 10. It is hidden by default but can be accessed directly if a user chooses to show hidden files and folders on their system. The folder is located at the root of every user’s user folder.

Move AppData folder

We’ve talked in length about the AppData folder on Windows 10, and the three sub-folders that it contains; Local, LocalLow, and Roaming. These folders contain other folders created by apps. Apps install to the C drive but they store user-specific data to the AppData folder e.g., Chrome’s profiles are stored in the AppData folder.

It can get pretty big and end up taking substantial space on the C drive (or whichever drive is your Windows drive). Users cannot move this folder the way they can move an app installation because apps are hardwired to look for it in its default location. If you need to move AppData, you will have to use a junction or a symbolic link.

  1. Decide where you want to move AppData to, and move the folder to the new location.
  2. You must now create a junction link to the AppData folder at the following location;
C:\Users\YourUserName
  1. Open Control Panel with admin rights.
  2. Run the following command but update the file paths.
    • ‘path to junction link’ should be replaced with this path C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData
    • ‘Path to target folder’ should be replaced with the path to the AppData folder at its new location.
mklink /J "path to junction link" "path to target folder"

Example

mklink /J "C:\Users\fatiw\AppData" "D:\AppData"

Undo AppData Move

If you later decide you’d like to put the AppData folder back where it originally was, you can do so easily.

  1. Open Command Prompt with admin rights.
  2. Run the following command to remove the junction link that you created but update the path in the command before you run it.
rmdir "path to junction link"
  1. Move the AppData folder back to the following location.
C:\Users\YourUserName

Conclusion

Apps cannot be told to look elsewhere for the AppData folder and that it the biggest impediment in moving it. The junction link allows apps to access the AppData folder as though it were still present in its original location. This method should work flawlessly but in the event an app has trouble running, it’s best to restore the AppData folder to its original location. If you’re pressed for space on your C drive, go through the AppData folder and remove folders for apps that you’ve uninstalled. They are rarely cleaned up during uninstallation.

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