What's in the Windows AppData folder, and how do you find it?

It is a question we often get asked in the editors: How do you get into the AppData folder and can you also copy files from it? For everyone who has this issue in their stomach, we explain it here in an understandable way...

The Application Data - or AppData - folder contains data created by programs. Almost every program you install creates its own folder in AppData and stores information there. In theory, users should not have to worry about these files. But in practice it is probably different.

My personalized Microsoft Word templates and Sticky Notes file are in AppData, for example. If you use an older version of Outlook, the data is probably also in AppData.

The map is not easy to find if you don't know the tricks. The AppData folder is in your user folder - the same location as Documents, Music, and other libraries (unless you moved them). But unlike those folders, AppData is hidden.

Unless you've set Windows to show hidden files or folders, you won't be able to see it. And if you can't see something, you can't click on it.

Open AppData quickly

But there is a trick that will allow you to enter the folder. click on Start or go to the Windows 8 Search charm, type %appdata% and select it roaming file.

Why Roaming? Because the %appdata% environment variable doesn't actually point to the AppData folder. It points to the Roaming folder inside AppData.

This is quite logical. The Roaming folder contains most of all the files in AppData - including the files you are most likely to need.

And if you really want to get to the AppData folder itself, once you're in Roaming you can click AppData click in the Path field at the top of the window.

Once you're there, you shouldn't have any problems copying (or backing up) files. But be very careful not to move or delete them, as that can cause a program to stop working.

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