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Is it possible to avoid the "WindowsApps" directory getting cluttered with outdated versions of apps?

Similar questions exist about uninstalling preinstalled apps, but I haven't seen any that were suffering from the presence of countless versions of the same app.


As my storage was running low, I checked my C:-Drive with "Space Sniffer" and found that the hidden C:\Program Files\WindowsApps folder had a size of over 20 GB – Most of which were multiple versions (!) of games that I had previously uninstalled.

C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.BubbleWitch3Saga_5.0.2.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.BubbleWitch3Saga_5.0.3.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.BubbleWitch3Saga_5.1.5.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.BubbleWitch3Saga_5.2.8.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.BubbleWitch3Saga_5.3.3.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1251.1.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1280.3.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1310.1.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1320.2.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1340.3.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1340.5.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1341.1.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1360.3.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1371.1.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1380.6.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1390.3.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1400.5.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1410.4.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1411.1.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1420.4.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1430.6.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1440.2.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1440.3.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1440.4.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1450.3.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1450.4.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1450.5.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1461.2.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1461.3.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1461.4.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1461.5.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1471.2.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1471.4.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.1471.5.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.100.600.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.118.400.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.122.200.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.123.200.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.125.200.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.125.300.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.125.400.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.127.300.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.129.200.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.129.201.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.131.300.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.132.300.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.133.200.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.133.300.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\king.com.CandyCrushSodaSaga_1.134.300.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_1.10.101.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_1.10.7.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_1.4.200.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_1.5.201.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_1.5.300.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_1.6.100.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_1.6.14.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_1.7.100.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_1.7.13.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_1.8.102.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_1.8.24.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_1.9.15.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe

At 200MB+ per directory, this added up to over 10 GB of storage, which Windows didn't consider worth freeing on its own, when it warned about "low storage".

The programs are not listed as installed, neither in the Microsoft Store app nor in the "Apps & Features" part of the system settings.

I was able to delete them by taking permissions with

takeown DIRNAME /F
icacls DIRNAME /GRANT "*S-1-3-4:F" /T /C /L
rmdir /S DIRNAME
:: (note: S-1-3-4 is the SID denoting the owner.)

but I was left wondering, if there is a better way to clean up this directory, and maybe even avoid having it become cluttered in the first place. After all, why would the system even keep multiple outdated versions of apps and uninstalled apps in the first place?

  • This may help: superuser.com/questions/958562 – Biswapriyo Apr 2 at 12:52
  • @Biswapriyo While that link provides a cleaner method of removing unwanted stuff manually, it doesn't allow automating the removal of apps, that by all means shouldn't have any data except maybe for user settings left on the PC. Sadly, I can't test if it would have taken care of removing outdated versions, but it definitely does not take care of removing outdated versions of programs that I want to keep. – kdb Apr 2 at 16:00

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