How to Locate AppData Folder on Windows 11

The apps you install on Windows store much of their data in the AppData folder. You rarely need to access it, but we’ll show you how in this guide.

Having access to the AppData folder on Windows is important in different scenarios. However, the folder is hidden by default, and you might not know how to locate the AppData folder on Windows 11.

Each user account on your system has an AppData folder with content like custom setting files and other unique data for apps. It also includes the Local, LocalLow, and Roaming subfolders.

Each folder includes different data for apps like your browser, email client, and other installed software. While troubleshooting or backing up your app and game settings, you may need to access AppData.

What is the AppData Folder?

Microsoft introduced the AppData (short for Application Data) folder with Windows Vista, and it has been in every version since. The hidden folder contains data your system application needs to run.

The folder includes three subfolders and stores most of your app data, such as your browser’s bookmarks and cache, saved sessions, gaming settings, and more. You won’t need to access the folder very often, but you might need to when you’re trying to troubleshoot an app or backup specific settings.

The Local folder includes files for the current PC and is not synced with other systems. LocalLow is similar to Local but includes low-integrity apps with restricted Window security settings like temp files.

Finally, the Roaming folder contains critical app files—these are the files and folders an app needs to run. This data will “roam” from PC to PC with your user account. For example, your Spotify settings or Mozilla Firefox profile data roams with you from device to device.

Unless you’ve completely reconfigured your system, the folder is located in C:\Users\<username>\AppData (replace <username> with your user account folder). You can navigate to the folder manually, but it’s difficult to find to an untrained eye.

So, if you’re required to access something in your AppData folder, we’ll show you some simple ways to get to it.

How to Open the AppData Folder Using Run

Since the folder is hidden, it’s challenging to get to unless you make Windows show hidden files or open it directly. So, for example, you can access it easily from the Run dialog using a few keystrokes and a basic command.

To find the AppData folder from Run:

  1. Press Windows key + R to launch the Run dialog window.
  2. Type in the following and click OK or press Enter:

    Locate AppData Folder

  3. File Explorer will launch to the Roaming subfolder. Note that a lot of your installed application’s data is stored here, so if you don’t have a backup, know that it is not meant to be deleted.
  4. Click AppData in the File Explorer address bar to show all three subfolders in the AppData location.Locate AppData Folder

How to Unhide AppData and Use File Explorer

The AppData folder is vital to the apps you install on Windows. To protect these files, Windows hides the AppData folder by default to prevent unnecessary tampering. If you need to find it, you can unhide the folder and see it with File Explorer.

For instance, if you manually navigate to C:\Users\<username>, you won’t see the AppData folder, and you’ll need to unhide the folder to see it.

To unhide AppData on Windows 11:

  1. Press Windows key + E to launch an instance of File Explorer.
  2. Click View from the top toolbar.
  3. Select Show > Hidden items when the menu appears.Locate AppData Folder
  4. Navigate to C:\Users\<username>\ and you will see the AppData folder. Replace <username> with the correct folder for your user account. Note that it will be a bit transparent, indicating a hidden item in File Explorer.

Manage AppData and Other Folders from File Explorer

Whether you are troubleshooting an app or backing up your favorite game’s settings, the AppData data is essential. But remember, the files in AppData are crucial for applications to work. So, if you’re not an experienced user, it’s best to leave it and its subfolders hidden.

Of course, there are other ways to manage files and folders on Windows. For example, for improved file management, learn about File Explorer Tabs. Or, perhaps you prefer File Explorer to open to This PC instead of Quick Access.

To make items stored in OneDrive more accessible, you can open File Explorer to OneDrive. And sometimes, you may experience problems with files and folder management and need to fix File Explorer not working.

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