How to Access the Application Data Folder

The Windows AppData folder is admittedly obscure and hidden, but it contains information that you may occasionally need to access. For example, iTunes backups are stored in this folder, as are Web browser bookmarks and information from other apps. The fastest way to access the AppData folder is to simply type "%appdata%" in Windows Search. The second way is to change your Control Panel options to make all hidden files and folders visible in File Explorer.

Stressed out businessman
The AppData folder and its files are hidden by default.
credit: nelik/iStock/Getty Images

Using Windows Search

Step

Click the "Search" icon on the Windows Start screen. Type "%appdata%" and press "Enter." This opens File Explorer and takes you directly to the AppData Roaming subfolder. Alternately, you can open any folder on the desktop and type that into the Navigation bar at the top.

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Type "%appdata%" in Windows Search.
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Navigate through the subfolder you need.

Step

Double-click any folder within the Roaming subfolder that you need. These folders contain information that is designed to move with you from one computer to another, like iTunes data or Web browser bookmarks.

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Click "AppData" to get to other subfolders.

Step

Click AppData in the Navigation bar at the top of the window to access any of the Local or LocalLow subfolders. The files in both of these subfolders contain data that stays only on this computer, like Web browser history and files that are too large to sync online.

Making Hidden Folders Visible

Step

Open the Control Panel. Depending upon which version of Windows you have, you will see this in the Start menu, or you can type "Control Panel" in the Windows Start screen Search field and press "Enter."

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Launch Control Panel.
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Open "Appearance and Personalization."

Step

Select "Appearance and Personalization" in the Control Panel, then click "Folder Options."

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Make hidden folders visible in the Advanced Settings.

Step

Click the "View" tab and then click the "Show Hidden Files, Folders, and Drives" option located in the list of Advanced Settings. Click "Apply." All hidden folders, including the AppData folder, are now visible in File Explorer.

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Navigate to the AppData folder in File Explorer.

Step

Go to the Windows desktop and click the "File Explorer" icon at the bottom of the screen. Select "Windows (C:)" from the left menu, then "Users," and then your Username. Double-click the "AppData" folder that is now visible in the right pane.