How do I open this Applications Directory in Windows? I use this folder to write AutoHotKey shortcuts which work on any one of my computers regardless of where an application has been installed, but then I forgot how to open it. Typing "Applications" into the url-esque bar of File Explorer does nothing. Does anyone know how to open it?



4 Answers 4


Actually I found the solution: open the run dialog, and use the command "Shell:AppsFolder"

  • 1
    It looks like a flattened version of your start menu and the system start menu. %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu and C:\programdata\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu. Quite cool, thanks :)
    – mt025
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 22:09

shell:appsfolder is a shortcut for explorer.exe shell:::{4234d49b-0245-4df3-B780-3893943456e1}

{4234d49b-0245-4df3-B780-3893943456e1} is called the CLSID Key, it's a GUID to access special folders.

I found a list of other valid GUID : here


You can run explorer.exe shell:::{4234d49b-0245-4df3-B780-3893943456e1}

  • Works in windows 10 for me
    – Journeyman Geek
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 12:38
  • While this may answer the question, it would be a better answer if you could provide some references.
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 12:41

More as an academic answer than anything else, but it's somewhat like your desktop, in that it is a combination of multiple locations. As is well known, your desktop shows the union of the contents of C:\Users\<Your name>\Desktop and C:\Users\Public\Desktop

shell:appsfolder is likewise a union: it shows both your "regular" installed apps, i.e. those things found in C:\Program Files and C:\Program Files (x86) together with any Windows Store Apps you have installed.

Windows Store Apps do not show in either of the C:\Program Files* directories, they are instead placed in C:\Program Files\WindowsApps.

So in effect, it is the combination of all three of those locations.

It's trivial to show that normal installed files, seen in the Programs and Features page of the old style control panel are visible there, showing that Store Apps are installed where they are takes a little more effort.

C:\Program Files\WindowsApps is not directly visible, it requires an elevated command prompt to look inside (*). If you type command dir there, you can see the full name of the installed store apps you have, and empirically, it appears that even apps that have been uninstalled, e.g. Zune Music and Zune Video in my case, still leave a small footprint behind. This presumably makes it easier to reinstall them if so desired.

(*) Note that it is possible in a Domain environment for a group policy to lock this folder down even more tightly such that only a command prompt with TrustedInstaller credentials can view it. Overall a smart move on the part of the IT department involved IMEHO, since it's possible to do damage in there if you don't know what you're up to.

To demonstrate that Store Apps are located there, by far the easiest method is to download Sysinternal's Process Explorer, start it up, then start a Store App, and find it in the Process Explorer. Display the Image Path, and it will show that it's in a subfolder of C:\Program Files\WindowsApps. You can also see this information in the built-in Task Manager by enabling the "Command line" column.

TL;DR it's not one single location, but a combination of several locations combined into a unified view.

  • No, the Applications folder the OP refers to is a virtual folder. It does not exist in the file system. Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 0:33
  • The folder you describe in your edit exists. BUT IT IS NOT THE SAME FOLDER AS IN THE OP's SCREENSHOT. As far as the WindowsApps folder is concerned, it's not as hard to view its contents as you make it seem. An Admin PowerShell Console is sufficient. Look at the folder displayed when you type shell:AppsFolder in the Explorer Address bar. IT'S NOT A COLLECGTION OF VERSION-SPECIFIC DIRECTORIES. The Applications folder is a virtual folder, it's contents have a unique context menu as it is a collection of progfram shortcuts that have no direct file system analog. Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 22:09
  • On the other hand, C:\Program FIles\WindowsApps is an actual file system folder. Two different animals! Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 22:11
  • I'd describe it more as a specialized view of the folder. Much the same as taking a command prompt to C:\Windows\Fonts and doing a DIR in there, you'll see a bunch of .TTF and .OTF files. Type Explorer . into the same command prompt and you see the regular fonts view, exactly as if you had typed shell:fonts into the explorer address bar. BTW, I suspect the reason I'd had to use a TrustedInstaller cmd prompt originally was that I tried this first on my work machine, and I'd guess that there's a group policy in place across the domain to lock that folder down hard.
    – dgnuff
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 23:36
  • 1
    I've edited my answer to reflect your comments.
    – dgnuff
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 10:40

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