What is the AppData Folder in Windows?

The AppData folder found on Windows systems contains, as its name suggests, data from various applications. These are not the core executable files of the programs, though, as those files are typically placed in the 'Program Files' or 'Program Files (x86)' folders. The main purpose of AppData is to contain user-specific information pertaining to settings or customization options for the particular application.

How to Access the AppData Folder

The AppData folder may be hidden by default on your Windows systems. So, to find and open it, you will have to make the folder visible. 

  1. Go to the File Explorer menu.
  2. From the available options, pick 'View' followed by 'Options.'
  3. In the 'Folder Options' window, select the 'View' tab.
  4. Locate and enable the 'Show hidden files, folders, or drives' option.
  5. Click the 'Apply' and 'OK' buttons to save the changes.

Now, follow the C:\Users\<username>\ path to locate the folder. Keep in mind that instead of <username> you should see your specific username. To access the AppData\Roaming folder you can open the Run dialog box by pressing the Windows key + R and typing %AppData% in it. 

AppData Contents

Inside the AppData folder, you will find three subfolders named Roaming, Local and LocalLow. Each is used to store a specifying type of information. Roaming contains data that is connected to the user profile and can migrate from system to system. Local, on the other hand, stores data that is relevant only to the specific system. The third folder, LocalLow, is used to store low-level data such as temporary files, caches, etc. 

What is the Purpose of AppData

The advantages of having the AppData folder are mostly felt when you have multiple users on a single system. The folder contained in the AppData folder is specific for each user and cannot be accessed by the others. This also helps in maintaining the preferences of each user without any interference when it comes to using the same application. The files found inside AppData also are considered of lower priority and thus require only basic permissions to be accessed and modified when compared to the core application files in the Program files folder.