AppData, as the name suggests, is a folder that stores all the user-specific data of your applications. Each profile on your computer has its own AppData folder containing configuration, support, and temporary files.
Some applications may also install directly inside AppData rather than the Program Files folders. The developers most likely did this to bypass the admin authorization needed for the installation.
AppData contains three folders, each with its separate specification. These folders are:
If your account is linked to a domain, the files in this folder will follow you from computer to computer. As a result, Roaming stores account-specific application files.
However, if you are not connected to a domain, Roaming acts the same way as the Local folder.
The Local AppData folder contains application data files that are specific to a local computer. So, unlike Roaming, these files are not synced to another computer in the domain.
It also saves the temporary files your system creates while running any application or process.
Many applications, especially those that use the internet, save data on both Local and Roaming folders.
It is the same as the Local folder. However, it generally stores data for apps that run with more restrictions, such as web browsers in protected mode.
It has a lower level of access, which makes the files more secure against threats, especially when connected to the internet.
How to Open AppData
The most convenient way to open AppData is to use the path variables as shortcuts. But you can also navigate the GUI if you find it easier.
Using Environment Path Variable
The Local and Roaming folders within AppData have unique identifiers that can be used as shortcuts. They are as follows:
- Local –
- Roaming –
While the AppData and LocalLow folders do not have unique identifiers, you can use the
/.. code along with the variables to access the folder directly. For instance,
- AppData –
- LocalLow –
/.. changes the directory to a parent folder.
To open the folders, type the shortcuts into the Run command or the address bar of a file explorer.
Navigating the File Explorer
Another option is to use the file explorer to navigate to the AppData folder. By default, your system hides this folder. To begin, you must make all hidden folders visible. Then navigate to the folder’s location
How to Use AppData
We do not recommend changing or deleting files and folders in AppData haphazardly. There are, however, certain things you can do if you know what you’re doing, such as:
Clear Temporary Files
Application and system processes create temporary files in the
Your system deletes most of these files after the process finishes. But some cache files will remain for future use. Additionally, the system can’t erase temporary files in case of unexpected shutdowns.
Having a large Temp folder may not harm your computer, but it still takes a lot of space and slows down your system. So, it’s better to clear its contents routinely. You can delete them through the file explorer or by using the Disk Cleanup utility.
Transfer Save Files
Many games will store their save files in the AppData folder. You can navigate to their locations and copy the savefiles to create backups or transfer to another computer.
If you have any problem locating the save files, we recommend getting help from the game’s forums or user groups.
Clear Residual Files After Uninstall
Not all applications will erase their configuration or other data files during an uninstall. You can navigate to their location inside AppData and delete the residual files if you want more space.
Transfer Application Settings
AppData also stores configuration files, plugins, mod lists for games, etc. It’s more practical to copy these files to another computer or as a backup to avoid wasting time manually configuring such settings.
Check Log Files
You can also find event log files for various applications inside AppData. If you encounter any errors, these files will be of considerable help in debugging the issues.
Change Roaming Folder Location
It is possible to change the location of the
AppData\Roaming folder to another partition, drive, or computer in the network. If you want to free up some space on your system drive, use the following method to change its location:
- Navigate to the AppData folder.
- Right-click on Roaming and select Properties.
- Go to the Location tab.
- Click Move, head over to the destination folder, and pick Select Folder.
- Hit Apply and Ok.
AppData on Mac
Mac stores application data in three folders inside the Library directory. They are:
- Application Support: It contains support files for third-party applications such as plugins, media files, etc.
- Caches: Your applications create cache files in this folder for better performance.
- Preferences: This folder includes all configuration files for the apps.
The Library directory is hidden by default. To access it,
- Launch Finder and head over to the Go menu.
- Press and hold the Option key and click on Library.
Can’t Access a File/Folder Inside AppData
This happens if you don’t have permission to access the file. To grant permission,
- Log in with an admin account.
- Right-click on the folder/file and select Properties.
- Go to the Security tab and click Advanced.
- Click Change, Advanced, and then Find Now.
- Select your account and hit Ok twice.
- Check Replace owner on subcontainers and objects and select Ok.
- Click Edit and tick Full Control.
- Hit Apply and Ok.
Does My Computer Store All Application Data Inside AppData?
While your system stores most of the application data inside the AppData folder, some apps will store data elsewhere.
For instance, some programs may save files inside their installation directory. Some also store data on the user profile and Documents folders.