Change app install location on Windows 10
Changing Locations

How to change default Windows 10 apps and games install location

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.

On Windows 10 by default every Universal app you install from the Store installs automatically in the main system drive (usually the C:\ drive). While for most computers this is perfectly normal, when you use a device that has limited storage space simply installing a few apps and a couple of games can quickly fill up the hard drive.

The issue is not so much about the amount of apps you install, but rather the size, as more apps and games from the Windows Store that can consume a large amount of disk space. For example, Killer Instinct requires 30GB for the base install, Gears of Wars: Ultimate Edition requires 60GB of disk space, and more Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps are now using hundreds of megabytes per install.

Although, traditional desktop applications still use the old Program Files folder structure, Windows 10 has improved to deal with large installations. In the new version, you change the default location to save new apps from Windows Store, move already installed apps to a different location, and the Store has also been updated to prompt you to choose an alternate location to install large apps and games.

In this guide, we’ll look at three different ways in which you can 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 the default location to install new apps

  1. Use the Windows key + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.

  2. Click System.

  3. Click Storage.

  4. Under Save locations, you’ll notice that the first option reads “New apps will save to”, from the drop-down menu select drive you want to use to install new apps.

    Change the default location to install apps on Windows 10

  5. Click Apply to complete the task.

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. However, you can use the following steps to do just that.

How to move apps to another drive

If you have a device with limited storage space and you happen to have many Windows Store apps already installed on your computer, you can add a new external hard drive, USB flash drive, or SD Card to expand the storage available in your system and move apps to the new drive.

  1. Use the Windows key + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.

  2. Click System.

  3. Click Apps & features.

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

  5. Pick the drive to move the app from the drop-down menu and click Move to confirm the move.

    Move already installed apps on Windows 10 to another drive

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 where to install large Windows Store apps

Microsoft is also making some other improvements in the Windows Store to make the operating system smarter to decide where large apps and games will install.

Starting with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, 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.

Windows Store pick drive to install large games or apps

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.

Wrapping things up

It’s very important to note that 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.

While 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.