How to find the installation path of Windows store apps for default program settings in Windows 10

Recently, I faced a problem to choose a Windows Store app as the default app for a specific file type. The app was not found by using neither Windows 10’s Settings page or the “Open With” option from the right-click menu of the files. So I need to go for the “Look for another app on this PC” and locate where is the program (.exe) file.

Windows typically installs conventional programs to C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86), while it stores the store apps in a different folder called WindowsApps under the C:\Program Files directory. You can find the folder by enabling the display of hidden files in File Explorer, but Windows will alert that you do not have permission to access the folder. To browser the folder, you might change the owner and the permission under its Advanced Security Settings. However, it can turn your system at risk. A better way is to look for the installation path from the Windows Registry.

Find the key using Registry Editor

The Windows Registry contains the keys and values for all store apps, including their installed locations. You can find them by following this procedure:

  1. Press Start, search for regedit.exe and then open it.

  1. Registry Editor will open.

  2. Navigate to Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\AppModel\Repository\Packages.

  3. Look for the key with the app name, or press Ctrl + F to use the “Find” dialog for a quick search under the registry tree.

  4. Open the app key you found, there should be a subkey called PackageID and another called PackageRootFolder, shown as the example below.

  1. Double-click the name of the subkey PackageRootFolder, and copy the value data to the clipboard.

Use the “Open With” command to change the default program for the specific file type

  1. In File Explorer, right-click on a file whose default program you want to change. Select Open With > Choose Another App.

  2. Scroll down and click on Look for another app on this PC.

  3. In the “Open with…” dialog, paste the copied path to the field “File name:” and hit Enter.

  1. The app root folder will open. Find and choose the Program (.exe) file inside the folder and in its subfolders, for the application you want to make as the default.

The specific file type should now associate with the application. You can try to double-click a file to open it with the default program.

Have a question or suggestion? Let us know in the comments below.

Chris F. Author of this blog, M.Phil.
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