Installing Metro Apps to another drive (for SSD Users)

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trettet

Senior Member
Dec 5, 2009
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Argao
title says it all, you see metro apps from the window store are huge, some games even reach 200 Megabytes. I'm thinking of upgrading my computer by using an SSD instead of an HDD, however unlike my HDD, the SSD is only 120GB while my HDD is 750 GB. I could easily fill 120GB with Steam Apps, Metro Apps, Desktop Apps in less than a month.
 
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GoodDayToDie

Inactive Recognized Developer
Jan 20, 2011
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It's possible, but it does require some work. Microsoft doesn't make this easy. You can use directory symbolic links (symlinks) to put the files on one drive (say, D: ) but have them accessible via another (say, C: ). This avoids breaking all the install paths, etc. and ensures new installations will go to the correct disk. Please note that even the biggest Metro apps are pretty small compared to the typical Steam game. You'll save a lot more space moving your Steam library over to the other drive. It's also a lot easier; you can either use the built-in Steam feature to put games in different library locations, or you can use symlinks (similar to as below, but with a whole lot less "Takeown" and similar). However, if you really want to move the WindowsApps folder, try the following steps. Be aware that in cases of mistyped commands, failure to follow instructions correctly, gremlins, or plain bad luck, it's entirely possible that this will mess something up.

You'll need an Administrator command prompt (meaning you need Admin access) to do this.
These steps assume that your C:\ drive is your SSD, and that Windows is currently installed there, and D:\ is your large data drive, where you want to move the app folder.
You may adjust the paths, especially the destination, if you want; these instructions put the "WindowsApps folder on the root of the D: drive.

First, make sure you aren't running any "Metro" apps. It may help to do these steps immediately after rebooting.
Open a Command Prompt as Administrator (you can do this by right-clicking the Start button and selecting "Command Prompt (Admin)" from the menu).
Take ownership of the WindowsApps directory:
Code:
takeown /F "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" /A /R
Make a copy of the "C:\Program FilesWindowsApps" folder onto the new drive:
Code:
robocopy "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" "D:\WindowsApps" /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT
Make sure that the copy succeeded (no Skipped or FAILED, etc. in the summary).
Delete the original WindowsApps folder:
Code:
rmdir /S "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps"
Create the symlink:
Code:
mklink /D "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" "D:\WindowsApps"

At this point, you should be done. Try running a Metro app to verify that it worked.
 

GoodDayToDie

Inactive Recognized Developer
Jan 20, 2011
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That just means that the WindowsApps dir wasn't fully deleted. I actually recommend doing this step from the local Administrator account (disabled by default; use Computer Management -> Local Users and Groups to enable it, then log off (tap your name on the Start screen to get the log off option) and log in as Admin. That should ensure that anything using the WindowsApps dir stops, since local Admin can't run AppContainer apps.
 
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lowridincrew,

Senior Member
Jun 24, 2011
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It wont let me delete these files, im in admin mode
C:\Users\Administrator>rmdir /S "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps"
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps, Are you sure (Y/N)? y
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\MICROS~2.135\images - Access is denied.
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\MICROS~2.135 - Access is denied.
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\MICROS~3.26_\LOCALC~1\CACHED~1 - Access is denied.
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\MICROS~3.26_\LOCALC~1 - Access is denied.
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\MICROS~3.26_ - Access is denied.
Access is denied.
 
Apr 19, 2010
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Uninstall all Apps currently installed (The registry tweak will cause errors when Apps get updated)


Regedit
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Appx\PackageRoot

Change location from "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" to where you want them ie( "e:\WinApps")
 

[BT]Black V

Senior Member
Mar 21, 2007
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www.bt.net.nz
Uninstall all Apps currently installed (The registry tweak will cause errors when Apps get updated)


Regedit
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Appx\PackageRoot

Change location from "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" to where you want them ie( "e:\WinApps")

I would have thought you don't need to do this if you are using a symlink/junction
If you just manually moved the files and didn't create a link afterwards then YES you need to make this registry change
 
Last edited:

9xnine

Senior Member
Aug 6, 2010
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Bellingham, WA
Everything seemed like it went smoothly but once I updated the main apps (mail, calendar, people, messaging) They will not open. All of the apps I installed after doing this procedure work fine, as well as Store and Bing. I tried uninstalling these apps and reinstalling to no avail. They just start to open and then close. All of the new apps are being installed in the correct "WindowsApps" folder on my D: drive so it seems to have worked. Any Ideas?


Tried to make the change in the registry but when I save it I get an error message:

"Cannot edit PackageRoot: Error writing the value's new contents."

This change seems like a logical solution but I'm not sure why I can't save the change.
 
Last edited:

bluSCALE4

Member
Jan 19, 2009
11
3
0
I'm having trouble simply copying over the data >< I initially tried to write to a sub-folder, not the root of another drive. Both attempts to run robocopy on root and sub-folder failed giving the message:

Copying File C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\18476MPBrun.ShareMyFiles_1.4.0.0_neutral__5j38zygvezh8g\App.xaml
Access is denied.
Waiting 30 seconds...

I thought maybe I had something open so I booted up in Safe Mode with cmd prompt and still, I got the same error. Any ideas?
 

noodles2k

Senior Member
Aug 8, 2011
684
185
0
It's possible, but it does require some work. Microsoft doesn't make this easy. You can use directory symbolic links (symlinks) to put the files on one drive (say, D: ) but have them accessible via another (say, C: ). This avoids breaking all the install paths, etc. and ensures new installations will go to the correct disk. Please note that even the biggest Metro apps are pretty small compared to the typical Steam game. You'll save a lot more space moving your Steam library over to the other drive. It's also a lot easier; you can either use the built-in Steam feature to put games in different library locations, or you can use symlinks (similar to as below, but with a whole lot less "Takeown" and similar). However, if you really want to move the WindowsApps folder, try the following steps. Be aware that in cases of mistyped commands, failure to follow instructions correctly, gremlins, or plain bad luck, it's entirely possible that this will mess something up.

You'll need an Administrator command prompt (meaning you need Admin access) to do this.
These steps assume that your C:\ drive is your SSD, and that Windows is currently installed there, and D:\ is your large data drive, where you want to move the app folder.
You may adjust the paths, especially the destination, if you want; these instructions put the "WindowsApps folder on the root of the D: drive.

First, make sure you aren't running any "Metro" apps. It may help to do these steps immediately after rebooting.
Open a Command Prompt as Administrator (you can do this by right-clicking the Start button and selecting "Command Prompt (Admin)" from the menu).
Take ownership of the WindowsApps directory:
Code:
takeown /F "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" /A /R
Make a copy of the "C:\Program FilesWindowsApps" folder onto the new drive:
Code:
robocopy "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" "D:\WindowsApps" /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT
Make sure that the copy succeeded (no Skipped or FAILED, etc. in the summary).
Delete the original WindowsApps folder:
Code:
rmdir /S "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps"
Create the symlink:
Code:
mklink /D "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" "D:\WindowsApps"

At this point, you should be done. Try running a Metro app to verify that it worked.
You need to add a line to change the file access permissions using icacls, otherwise you'll get "access is denied" when you try to copy the files.
 

GoodDayToDie

Inactive Recognized Developer
Jan 20, 2011
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Seattle
Ah, good point. (Sorry, as I mentioned somewhere, I did this rather haphazardly...)

A possibly better way (no changing permissions, including ownership) would be to use a shell under TrustedInstaller. There are, or at least used to be, a few ways to do this... but I can't get them to work now. Anybody know of one that works on Win8 x64?
 

kenikh

Senior Member
Nov 18, 2009
275
45
0
built in apps(weather, mail, maps, news) not working after update. do you know how to fix other than refresh windows? thanks


I solved it, at least on my Surface. I ran this from an elevated command prompt after running into Access Denied on all content in the folder:

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

I then re-ran the rmdir command.

---------- Post added at 03:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:38 PM ----------

CRAP - after all this, all of my Metro apps crash and fail to open. dammit.
 

Hzj_jie

Member
Sep 10, 2008
5
2
0
looks like you have made a mistake, the apps are in windowsapps folder, while the data <say downloads or cache of an online video app> is in C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\Packages. this folder will even larger.
I have tried to use junction to move some of the folders to sd card on my rt, the app can read / write, but cannot create a file.
 

demandarin

Senior Member
Apr 7, 2010
7,021
2,038
0
Alexandria, Va
It's possible, but it does require some work. Microsoft doesn't make this easy. You can use directory symbolic links (symlinks) to put the files on one drive (say, D: ) but have them accessible via another (say, C: ). This avoids breaking all the install paths, etc. and ensures new installations will go to the correct disk. Please note that even the biggest Metro apps are pretty small compared to the typical Steam game. You'll save a lot more space moving your Steam library over to the other drive. It's also a lot easier; you can either use the built-in Steam feature to put games in different library locations, or you can use symlinks (similar to as below, but with a whole lot less "Takeown" and similar). However, if you really want to move the WindowsApps folder, try the following steps. Be aware that in cases of mistyped commands, failure to follow instructions correctly, gremlins, or plain bad luck, it's entirely possible that this will mess something up.

You'll need an Administrator command prompt (meaning you need Admin access) to do this.
These steps assume that your C:\ drive is your SSD, and that Windows is currently installed there, and D:\ is your large data drive, where you want to move the app folder.
You may adjust the paths, especially the destination, if you want; these instructions put the "WindowsApps folder on the root of the D: drive.

First, make sure you aren't running any "Metro" apps. It may help to do these steps immediately after rebooting.
Open a Command Prompt as Administrator (you can do this by right-clicking the Start button and selecting "Command Prompt (Admin)" from the menu).
Take ownership of the WindowsApps directory:
Code:
takeown /F "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" /A /R
Make a copy of the "C:\Program FilesWindowsApps" folder onto the new drive:
Code:
robocopy "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" "D:\WindowsApps" /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT
Make sure that the copy succeeded (no Skipped or FAILED, etc. in the summary).
Delete the original WindowsApps folder:
Code:
rmdir /S "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps"
Create the symlink:
Code:
mklink /D "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" "D:\WindowsApps"

At this point, you should be done. Try running a Metro app to verify that it worked.

So I can use the built in steam method to move my current installs on my pro, to my 64gb class 10 microsd card? I think I saw the place you talking about. In steam store, then view, then setting, then download tab. In there I see steam folder locations. When I press on it, it shows my current steam folder location and how much memory its used up. I have 12 installs taking up like 43gb on my Surface Pro 128gb. The only options I see in there is to "Add steam folder location" and "Remove Steam folder location".

Now how would I go about using that to move existing location of installs into my micro sd card? As far as built in steam method goes. Is it like if I make a new location those will automatically be moved there or only new installs from that point on. This mod would really help and free me up space. With steam games and metro apps, im only looking at about 22.8gb free space left. I've seen other methods of moving but afraid to mess my device up. This windows stuff seem to have more dire consequences than me taking risks with my android tablet. Pro is an expensive tablet.

Would performance still be the same once stuff moved to my SanDisk class 10 64gb card? As far as steam games go. I remember reading the class 10 card has similar speeds compared to built in ssd.

Any insight greatly appreciated.

---------- Post added at 10:36 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:21 AM ----------

I just came across this in steam help/how to's section. Bit this doesn't really describe built in steam method. More so going into file explorer and copying/pasting.


"Moving Your Steam Installation


Warning:

It is highly recommended that you create a backup of your SteamApps folder before attempting this process. Neglecting to do so may result in a loss of all of your game content should something go wrong.

If you're low on space on the drive you have Steam installed, you can move the Steam folder to a different location. Here's an example of how to move the Steam installation between two hard drives:
1.Log out and exit Steam
2.Navigate to the folder where Steam is installed (by default: C:\Program Files\Steam\)
3.Delete all of the files and folders except the SteamApps folder and Steam.exe
4.Cut and paste your Steam folder to the new location, for example: D:\Games\Steam\
5.Launch Steam
6.Steam will briefly update and then you will be ready to play
7.All future game content will be downloaded to the new folder D:\Games\Steam\Steamapps\
"

Would that be correct?
 

SixSixSevenSeven

Senior Member
Dec 26, 2012
1,617
317
0
If you use the existing steam method to install new games on the SD card you can then use the method listed in the second link to move existing installs to the new location.
 

demandarin

Senior Member
Apr 7, 2010
7,021
2,038
0
Alexandria, Va
I took the risk and used second method of moving everything to micro sd card. it took a while but it went through successfully. games are playing fine so far off the microsd card. and now I freed up a ton of internal ssd memory space. only thing I had to do was make a new steam shortcut in desktop. but everything works as it usually does.

im hoping if I need to free up steam space on card, I can use usual method of uninstalling. Or can I have steam reading from both locations. like lets say my memory card fills up...which I only have like 13gb left on it now. can I just add another location and use internal also or does it have to be one or the other?

also by using second method, steam will automatically now install any new games to sd card. I checked in settings and the file path points to my microsd card,
 
Last edited:

SixSixSevenSeven

Senior Member
Dec 26, 2012
1,617
317
0
I took the risk and used second method of moving everything to micro sd card. it took a while but it went through successfully. games are playing fine so far off the microsd card. and now I freed up a ton of internal ssd memory space. only thing I had to do was make a new steam shortcut in desktop. but everything works as it usually does.

im hoping if I need to free up steam space on card, I can use usual method of uninstalling. Or can I have steam reading from both locations. like lets say my memory card fills up...which I only have like 13gb left on it now. can I just add another location and use internal also or does it have to be one or the other?

also by using second method, steam will automatically now install any new games to sd card. I checked in settings and the file path points to my microsd card,
I forget the exact settings but it is possible to specify 2 seperate steam library file paths and then when you install an game it gives the choice which to use
 

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    It's possible, but it does require some work. Microsoft doesn't make this easy. You can use directory symbolic links (symlinks) to put the files on one drive (say, D: ) but have them accessible via another (say, C: ). This avoids breaking all the install paths, etc. and ensures new installations will go to the correct disk. Please note that even the biggest Metro apps are pretty small compared to the typical Steam game. You'll save a lot more space moving your Steam library over to the other drive. It's also a lot easier; you can either use the built-in Steam feature to put games in different library locations, or you can use symlinks (similar to as below, but with a whole lot less "Takeown" and similar). However, if you really want to move the WindowsApps folder, try the following steps. Be aware that in cases of mistyped commands, failure to follow instructions correctly, gremlins, or plain bad luck, it's entirely possible that this will mess something up.

    You'll need an Administrator command prompt (meaning you need Admin access) to do this.
    These steps assume that your C:\ drive is your SSD, and that Windows is currently installed there, and D:\ is your large data drive, where you want to move the app folder.
    You may adjust the paths, especially the destination, if you want; these instructions put the "WindowsApps folder on the root of the D: drive.

    First, make sure you aren't running any "Metro" apps. It may help to do these steps immediately after rebooting.
    Open a Command Prompt as Administrator (you can do this by right-clicking the Start button and selecting "Command Prompt (Admin)" from the menu).
    Take ownership of the WindowsApps directory:
    Code:
    takeown /F "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" /A /R
    Make a copy of the "C:\Program FilesWindowsApps" folder onto the new drive:
    Code:
    robocopy "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" "D:\WindowsApps" /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT
    Make sure that the copy succeeded (no Skipped or FAILED, etc. in the summary).
    Delete the original WindowsApps folder:
    Code:
    rmdir /S "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps"
    Create the symlink:
    Code:
    mklink /D "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" "D:\WindowsApps"

    At this point, you should be done. Try running a Metro app to verify that it worked.
    1
    title says it all, you see metro apps from the window store are huge, some games even reach 200 Megabytes. I'm thinking of upgrading my computer by using an SSD instead of an HDD, however unlike my HDD, the SSD is only 120GB while my HDD is 750 GB. I could easily fill 120GB with Steam Apps, Metro Apps, Desktop Apps in less than a month.
    1
    That just means that the WindowsApps dir wasn't fully deleted. I actually recommend doing this step from the local Administrator account (disabled by default; use Computer Management -> Local Users and Groups to enable it, then log off (tap your name on the Start screen to get the log off option) and log in as Admin. That should ensure that anything using the WindowsApps dir stops, since local Admin can't run AppContainer apps.
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