What is AppData and what are Local, LocalLow, and Roaming?

If you have a Windows PC, you’ve probably heard of AppData. It’s a folder with three subfolders: Local, LocalLow, and Roaming. Understanding the different types of AppData folders and their uses can be helpful in troubleshooting, managing storage space, and more. If you’ve ever wondered what these folders are for and why they’re so important, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will explain the difference between the three main types of AppData folders and the types of information that are usually stored in each of them.

What is AppData?

When you install a program on Windows, it will usually be installed in either C:\Program Files Or, in the case of a 32-bit program, to C:\Program Files (x86). The app will be installed for all users on the device and will require admin access to write to it. Any application settings stored in this folder will also be published to all users.

This is where AppData comes in. It is a hidden folder located under each user folder. located in C:\Users\ \AppData It contains software-specific information that may not relate to the software’s ability to run, such as user configurations. In your AppData folder, you will find files like:

  • User installations
  • Application configuration files
  • Temporary files

If you’ve ever installed a program that asked if you wanted to install it for all users, it was basically asking you if you wanted to install it in Program Files or AppData. Python is one program that does this. In addition, there are three subfolders in AppData, and it is important to note the differences between them.

What is Local?

The local folder is for storing files that cannot be moved from your user profile and often also contains files that may be too large to sync with the server. For example, it may contain some files needed to run a video game or the cache of a web browser, files that may be too large or it doesn’t make sense to move them anywhere else. The developer may also use Local to store information about file paths on that particular device. Moving these configuration files to another device may cause programs to stop working, because the file paths will not match.

What is LocalLow?

LocalLow is very similar to Local, but the “low” in the name denotes a lower level of access granted to the application. For example, a browser in incognito mode may be limited to accessing only the LocalLow folder to prevent it from accessing regular user data stored in Local.

What is roaming?

If you’re using a Windows machine on a domain (ie a network of computers with a central domain controller handling your login), you may be familiar with the Roaming folder. The files in this folder are synced to other devices if you are logged in on the same domain as they are important to using your device. This could be your web browser’s favorites and bookmarks, important application settings, and more.

This folder is recommended when the stored data can be transferred from one device to another without any problems. For example, Minecraft stores its world files, screenshots, and more in the Roaming folder because those files can all be taken and migrated to a new machine, where they are expected to work.

How to find AppData on Windows

Finding AppData on any default installation on Windows is pretty simple, though you shouldn’t mess with it unless you know what you’re doing.

  1. Click on Windows key + R. At the same time.
  2. Writes “%Application info%or%localappdata%depending on whether you want to go to the roaming folder or the local folder.
  3. He presses Enters.

The percentage signs around the words tell the launch prompt to look in your local system variables to find where the AppData and LocalAppData folders are located. Since these locations change for each user, they cannot be a system variable that manages them, so they are created with each new user account.

appdata-hidden-items are watermarked

In Windows 10, make sure you can see hidden folders by clicking on Opinion at the top and make sure of it hidden items is ticked. In Windows 11, click Opinion At the top, hover your mouse over it showand click hidden items.

Windows 11 hidden files

Alternatively, you can go to C:\Users\ \AppData In Windows Explorer.​​​​​​​

You should now be able to find your AppData, whether you’re using Windows 10 or Windows 11. It’s hidden by default, and in most cases, you shouldn’t be accessing it, and doing so can disrupt how your computer works. But if you need it, now you’ll know where to find it.

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