WindowsApps folder won’t delete? Here’s what you need to do.

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On Windows 10, the “WindowsApps” hidden folder is available in the “Program Files” folder that contains the files that make up all the default applications, and it stores every app that you download from the Microsoft Store.

If you choose to save apps on an external hard drive, Windows 10 will also create another WindowsApps folder to store the files along with several other folders, including another folder with your account name, “WpSystem,” “WUDownloadCache,” and “Program Files” folder to enable the ability to run apps from a secondary storage.

The only problem is that the WindowsApps folder is protected, and if you try to revert the changes, the folder will stay on the external drive, and you won’t be able to delete it. However, there are a few ways to delete it and any remaining folders.

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In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the steps to delete the WindowsApps and the remaining folders part of the system to save Microsoft Store apps on an external storage.

How to delete WindowsApps folder using File Explorer

To delete the WindowsApps folder from an external hard drive, you must first remove the apps, restore the storage default settings, and then change some folder permissions to delete the folder successfully.

Quick note: These steps are meant to delete the “WindowsApps” folder from an external storage. We don’t recommend trying to remove the same folder from the Windows 10 installation drive.

Uninstalling apps

To uninstall the apps on an external drive, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click on Apps & features.
  4. Under the “Apps & features” section, use the Filter by menu, and select the drive containing the “WindowsApps” folder.

    Windows 10 filter by option

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Select the app and click the Uninstall button.

    Windows 10 uninstall app option

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Click the Uninstall button again.

Once you complete the steps, you may need to repeat them to remove all the apps from the external storage. If one or more apps are still installed on the external drive, you won’t be able to delete the folder.

Restoring default saved content settings

To restore the default settings to store new apps, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Storage.
  4. Under the “More storage settings” section, click the Change where content is saved option.

    Windows 10 change where new content is saved option

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Use the “New apps will save to” drop-down menu to select the Local Disk option.
  6. Click the Apply button.

    Windows 10 change where apps are saved option

    Source: Windows Central

After you completese the steps, you can proceed to delete the WindowsApps folder.

Deleting WindowsApps folder

To delete the WindowsApps folder on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the drive containing the folder.
  3. Right-click the WindowsApps folder and select the Properties option.

    Windowsapps Properties Option

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Click the Security tab.
  5. Click the Advanced button.

    Windowsapps advanced security option

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Click the Change option.

    Windows 10 folder advanced security settings

    Source: Windows Central

  7. Specify your account name (or the full email address associated with the account).
  8. Click the Change Name button.

    Windows 10 user and group settings

    Source: Windows Central

  9. Click the OK button.
  10. Check the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects option.

    Windows 10 replace owner on subcontainers and objects option

    Source: Windows Central

  11. Click the Apply button.
  12. Click the OK button.
  13. Click the OK button again.
  14. Click the Advanced button from the “Security” tab.
  15. Click the Change permissions button.

    Advanced security settings change permissions button

    Source: Windows Central

  16. Click the Add button.

    Add user to WindowsApps folder

    Source: Windows Central

  17. Click the Select a principal option.

    Windows 10 Select Principal Option

    Source: WindowsApps account permission settings

  18. Specify your account name (or the full email address associated with the account)
  19. Click the OK button.
  20. Under the “Basic permissions” section, check the Full control option.

    Take ownership of WindowsApps folder folder

    Source: Windows Central

  21. Click the OK button.
  22. Click the Apply button.
  23. Click the OK button.
  24. Click the OK button one more time.
  25. Right-click the WindowsApps folder and select the Delete option.

    WindowsApps folder delete option

    Source: Windows Central
    Quick tip: If you get a message trying to delete the folder, try one or two times again until the folder is deleted.

Once you complete the steps, there are several other leftover folders that are part of the system that stores apps on an external storage, including your user account folder, WpSystem and WUDownloadCache, which you can delete by right-clicking the folder and selecting the Delete option. If you also want to delete the “Programs Files” folder, you’ll have to use the same steps mentioned above as this is another folder protected by the system.

How to delete WindowsApps folder using Format

If you don’t have any important files stored in the drive, the fastest way to delete the WindowsApps folder is to format the drive.

Uninstalling apps

Although formatting the drive will delete the WindowsApps folder, you first need to uninstall the apps to prevent leaving behind system entries.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click on Apps & features.
  4. Under the “Apps & features” section, use the Filter by menu, and select the drive containing the “WindowsApps” folder.

    Windows 10 filter by option

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Select the app and click the Uninstall button.

    Windows 10 uninstall app option

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Click the Uninstall button again.

Once you complete these steps, repeat the above steps to remove any other apps installed in the external storage.

Formatting external storage

To format a drive to delete the WindowsApps folder, use these steps:

Warning: The following steps will remove everything on the selected drive. You should make sure to back up any important files before proceeding.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click on This PC from the left pane.
  3. Under the “Devices and drives” section, right-click the drive storing the Microsoft Store apps, and select the Format option.

    Windows 10 format drive option

    Source: Windows Central

  4. (Optional) Use the “Capacity” drop-down menu to make sure the drive to be formatted is the correct one.
  5. Use the “File system” drop-down menu and select the NTFS option.

    Windows 10 NTFS format option

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Use the “Allocation unit size” drop-down and select the 4096 bytes option.
  7. Under the “Format options” section, check the Quick Format option.
  8. Click the Start button.
  9. Click the OK button.
  10. Click the OK button one more time.
  11. Click the Close button.

After you complete the steps, the drive will be erased, deleting the WindowsApps and any other folder.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

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