The 'Program Files\WindowsApps' folder in Windows 8 explained

A Windows Store app (former "Metro-Style app") is a new type of Windows application that is touch-optimized and that only runs in Windows 8 systems. A Windows Store app resembles the apps that are run on smartphones, and typically they don't have so many functions as a traditional Windows desktop application. They are optimized to interact with a touchscreen instead of a mouse and keyboard.
In which folder on the hard disk are Windows Store apps installed?
Are you among them who wonder where on the hard disk Windows Store apps are installed? We will give you the answer here. They are all installed in the following folder:
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps
The drive letter C can sometimes be another letter, for example D, but that is rare. Drive C is normally used for system files and application files. If you have a localized Windows (for example a Spanish Windows) the Program Files folder name may have been replaced with another folder name in your language.
The folder can also be expressed using an environment variable. The path is then: %ProgramFiles%\WindowsApps
'WindowsApps' is a new folder, introduced with Windows 8
The Program Files folder has existed for a very long time, since Windows 95, as a location for installed Windows desktop applications, but the WindowsApps folder is a new one. It was introduced with Windows 8 and is used as a location for installed Windows Store apps.
The 'WindowsApps' folder is hidden by default
If you look in the Program Files folder and can't see the WindowsApps folder, don't worry. This folder is hidden by default, but it is easy to make it visible. If you have File Explorer open, click on the View tab in the ribbon interface (in the top of the Explorer window). And there, select the Hidden items option.
The View tab in File Explorer
After that, close File Explorer and open it again. Now you should see the WindowsApps folder as a sub-folder in the Program Files folder.

Do you get the message "You don't currently have permission to access this folder"?
If you click on the WindowsApps folder you will probably get a warning message with the text: "You don't currently have permission to access this folder". That's normal. As default, a user doesn’t have access to this folder. If you really are curious on what is inside the WindowsApps folder, you can follow the steps below. We will show you how to get access to the contents of this folder.
How to get access to the 'WindowsApps' folder
If you click on the WindowsApps folder the following warning text will probably be shown:

Warning message: No permission

You can get permission to the WindowsApps folder, and open up the folder, by following the instructions below:

1. Click the Continue button in the message box that is shown (see the image above). The following warning text will then be shown:

Warning message: Permission denied

2. Click on the security tab link (don't click Close!). The following dialog box will now be shown:

Properties for the WindowsApps folder

3. Click the Advanced button. The Advanced Security Settings window will now be shown:

Advanced Security Settings window

4. Click the Change link. The Select User or Group dialog box will be shown:

Select User or Group dialog box

5. Enter your live ID or Windows 8 user name in the list. When finished, click OK. The Advanced Security Settings windows will be shown again:

Advanced Security Settings window

6. Click OK. And click OK so many times that all open dialog boxes are closed. After that, close File Explorer and open it again. Click now on the WindowsApps folder. Now you should be able to see the contents of the folder:

WindowsApps folder

7. Every app is stored in its own sub-folder. You can see the name of the sub-folders in the list to the right (in the image above). Double-click on one of the folders, for example "Microsoft.BingWeather...", to view the files in the folder:

WindowsApps folder, and files

If you examine the folder and its sub-folders you can see which files are included in a typical Windows Store app.

See also:
How to install a Windows Store app in Windows 8
How to install a desktop app in Windows 8
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The information in this article is also valid for Windows 8.1.

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Article written by: Mika Larramo