While you continue working, enjoying, and connecting on your PC, developers are constantly creating new apps to enhance your Windows experience.
You’ll find great apps for almost anything you need on the Microsoft Store. However, it’s not good to download and save all apps in one location—particularly the C: drive. Read on to explore why, and how to save space by saving apps in different locations.
Why Not Just Save Everything Onto the C Drive?
Be it social, entertainment, productivity, or music apps—all the apps you download from the Microsoft Store get saved on the Local C: Drive. That’s the default Windows setting.
The Local Disk C: is also the drive where the Windows OS files are installed, along with other important data. If you have only one drive, it would be the C: drive, and that would house Windows files, user documents, videos, and image folders.
It’s good practice to partition a computer’s hard drive into separate drives when a new PC is bought or built—you might have got that done too. Doing so ensures that the Windows installation files are in a separate location on your PC, the C: drive. And you can keep your data and folders on other drives.
So, supposing the C: drive gets corrupted, you can reinstall Windows, but your files installed on other drives will be safe.
Also, and importantly, you need to have space on the C: drive for Windows files and the various software updates that you must install regularly to keep your PC running smoothly. Plus, hard drives also need space for virtual memory.
If the C: drive is getting filled up, there are chances your PC might slow down. You can also make space on the C: drive by deleting specific Windows files to free up space and solve the problem of a sluggish PC.
You should ensure that around 10%-15% of space is always free on your Local C: drive. One way to do that is to manually change the location where new apps from the Microsoft Store will be installed. You can store apps on other internal drives and even external storage devices like hard drives and USB drives. Let’s see how.
How to Save New Apps in Different Locations
It’s easy to save Microsoft Store apps to locations other than the C: drive.
- Open Settings by pressing the Win + I keys together, or right-click the Windows icon on the taskbar and select Settings. You can also use one of the many ways to open Settings on Windows.
- Then click on System in Settings.
- Click on Storage to open the storage settings.
- On Windows 10, under More storage settings, click on Change where new content is saved.
If you’re on Windows 11, click Advanced storage settings > Where new content is saved. The next page will have options for you to choose locations where new apps, new documents, new music, new photos and videos, and new movies and TV shows can be saved.
- On top of the page under the option New apps will save to: you will see the default option, Local Disk (C:). Click the down arrow next to Local Disk (C:) to open the drop-down listing that will have all the drives on your computer. In the screenshot below, you can see the drives on my PC: Local Disk (C:), (E:) drive, which is named Movies&Music, and New Volume (F:) drive.
- Now, select the drive where you want to save new apps. The Apply option will appear next to the drive name you have chosen. Click on Apply to set the drive as the default location for new apps. In the same way, you can select drives for saving new documents, music, photos, and videos.
- Now all new apps that you download will get saved to the new drive you have chosen. And when you download new apps, Windows will create a WindowsApps folder in that drive and all the apps will be saved in that folder.
How to Save New Apps in External Drives
You can also choose to save new apps on external drives like USB drives, external hard drives, SD cards, and USB flash drives.
It’s handy, especially if you’re heading out for a presentation in the city or for a project out of town. You can download and carry the apps you need on a USB or hard drive. Though, make sure to format these new storage drives using NTFS before changing the Save location to it.
- First, connect the USB drive or hard drive to your PC.
- Open Settings > System > Change where new content is saved.
- On top of the page, under the option, New apps will save to: click the down arrow next to the default drive name. The external drives you have connected will also be listed here, along with the internal drives of your computer. As you can see in the screenshot below, a USB drive named NEERAJ (G:) and a Seagate Backup Plus Drive (H:) is also listed with the internal drives of the PC.
- Now, select your external drive and click on Apply to set the drive as the default location for new apps.
Apps installed on external drives will open and work only if those external drives stay connected to your PC. If an external drive chosen to install new apps is disconnected, then Windows will install new apps to the Local Disk (C:) until the external drive is connected again. Apps installed while the external drive is disconnected will stay on the C: drive only—and will not automatically move to the external drive if it is connected again.
How to Move Saved Apps to a Different Drive
When you choose a new drive or location to install Microsoft Store apps, only the new apps will get installed on that drive. Existing apps on your C: drive will stay on your C: drive as before.
However, to make more space on your PC’s C: drive, you can move apps from it to another internal drive. For apps you will not be using often, you can choose to move them to an external drive.
To know how to do that, you can read our guide on how to safely and easily move apps and installed programs on Windows 10 and 11. And be sure to check out these fixes if you experience that the C: drive is filling up by itself.
Enjoy All the Apps You Want and Keep Windows Running Smoothly
There’ll always be more and newer apps you’d want to enjoy and use to take your Windows experience to the next level. Don’t let a shortage of space deter you from downloading them. Now you know how to install new apps in different internal and external locations—and save space on the Windows drive.