Change app install location on Windows 10
Changing Locations

How to change default apps and games install location on Windows 10

Use these instructions to free up space by changing the default location of new app install, move already installed apps to a new drive, and to pick the an alternate location to install apps and games from the Store.

UPDATED 7/23: On Windows 10, apps you download from the Microsoft Store install on the main system drive automatically. Although this is perfectly normal, when you have a device with limited storage, installing apps and games can quickly fill up the drive.

The issue isn’t the number of apps, but rather their the size, as apps and games can consume many gigabytes of space. 

If you have a device with limited storage, or you want to use an external storage for apps and games, Windows 10 allows you to change the default location to save new apps from the Microsoft Store, move already installed apps to a different location, and you can even choose an alternate location during download.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to change the default location to install Windows 10 apps on your computer to optimize the space usage on your main system drive.

How to change default location to install apps on Windows 10

Use these steps to change the default storage location to install new apps from the Microsoft Store:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click on Storage.

  4. Under the “More storage settings” section, click the Change where new content is saved option.

    Storage settings on Windows 10
    Storage settings on Windows 10
  5. Use the New apps will save to drop-down menus to select the new default location for apps.

    Select new default app install location on Windows 10
    Select new default app install location on Windows 10

It’s worth pointing out that this configuration will only affect new app installs, apps that are already installed on your computer won’t be moved to the new location.

How to move installed apps to another drive on Windows 10

Use these steps to move apps already installed on your computer to another drive on Windows 10:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click on Apps & features.

  4. Select the app or game you want to relocate to another drive, and click the Move button.

    Move installed app to a new drive on Windows 10
    Move installed app to a new drive on Windows 10
  5. Select the drive to move the app from the drop-down menu, and click the Move button to confirm the move.

The only caveat with this feature is that you can only move apps that support the feature. For example, Windows 10 built-in apps and certain other apps (including desktop applications) cannot be moved.

How to choose storage location to install big apps on Windows 10

Use these steps to select an alternative location to install large games and apps on Windows 10:

  1. Open Microsoft Store.

  2. Select the app or game.

  3. Click the Get button.

  4. When you stumble upon a game or an app that requires a large amount of disk space, you’ll be prompted to pick a drive to install the new app.

    Install large games alternative storage from Microsoft Store
    Install large games alternative storage from Microsoft Store

The prompt will appear whether or not you have multiple storage drives connected to your computer. The reason for this is because, the prompt also give you the option to make more room on your hard drive with the “Free up space” button, which will open the Storage page on Settings, so you can delete unnecessary files.

Whatever option you use to optimize the storage usage on your desktop, laptop, or tablet, you have to make sure to connect a secondary storage that you know it won’t get disconnected.

Although your computer won’t fail when you disconnect the drive, you won’t be able to run games or apps you moved to the new location until you reconnect the drive.

Update July 23, 2019: This guide was originally published in June 2016, and it’s been updated to reflect the changes on Windows 10.