How To Install Apps On SD Card In Windows 8

If you own a Windows 8 tablet or notebook and running out of storage space, you can utilize the microSD memory card slot on your tablet/notebook to add a microSD memory card and then configure Windows to install Modern (Metro) apps on it.

Windows 8

While most of the desktop programs out there offer an option to select the installation drive during the product installation or can be moved all installed programs to a different drive, Modern apps (also known as Metro apps) that you install from the Windows Store don’t allow you choose a custom location for installation and get installed in WindowsApps folder located under Program Files.

Since Windows 8 doesn’t let you choose a custom installation location for Modern apps, we need to manually edit the Registry and set the memory card as default installation location for Windows Store apps.

As mentioned earlier, Windows 8 creates a folder named WindowsApps under Program Files directory located in the root of Windows installation drive and installs all Modern apps in this location by default.

Complete the below mentioned instructions to set your SD card as default installation location for Store apps in Windows 8.

NOTE: We suggest you create a manual system restore point before changing default system settings.

Step 1: Add your microSD memory card to your tablet or notebook (see your tablet’s owner manual for instructions) and back up all contents on the SD card to a safe location. Please note that some tablets including Microsoft Surface might not support more than 64GB memory card.

Step 2: Before editing the Registry to change the installation location, we need to first make sure that the SD memory card is formatted in NTFS file system. To do this, right-click on the SD card in My Computer (Computer), and click Properties.

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If the file system is FAT or FAT32, right-click on the SD card again, click Format, select NTFS as file system, and then click Start button to begin formatting the memory card.

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Note that formatting will erase all data on the SD card. Be sure to backup data before formatting the memory card. If the memory card is already in NTFS file system, you need not to format it.

Step 3: To be able to change the installation location of apps, we need to take the ownership of Registry key that we’re going to edit with the help of native Registry Editor tool. If you try to edit the below mentioned Registry key without ownership, you will see “Cannot edit PackageRoot: Error writing the value’s new content” error.

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While it’s possible to take the ownership of Registry without using third-party tools, we’re going to use a free tool named RegOwnershipEx to keep the procedure simple.

Download the zip file of RegOwnershipEx, extract the contents to a folder to see two folders named Windows 7 and Windows 8. Open up Windows 8 folder, and then double-click on x86 or x64 folder depending on the version of Windows 8 you’re running, and then double-click on RegOwnershipEx.exe file to launch the same.

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Step 4: Once the program is launched, enter the following Registry key in Select the registry key box, click Take Ownership button and then click Open in Registry Editor button to open the required key in Windows Registry Editor.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Appx

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Install Apps On SD Card In Windows 8

Step 5: On the right-side, double-click on PackageRoot and change the default value data to the location of your SD memory card. For instance, if your SD card’s drive letter is “G”, then enter G:\ in the value data box, and then click Ok button to set your SD card as default location for apps.

Install Apps On SD Card In Windows 8

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We suggest you create a new folder under the root of your SD card and enter the path of that folder so that you can use the SD card to store other files as well. That is, create a folder named WinApps on the SD card, enter G:\WinApps (replace “G” with SD card’s drive letter) as the location in value data box.

That’s it! Close Registry Editor and RegOwnershipEx programs, and then reboot your PC. From now on, whenever you install a new app from the Store, Windows 8 will install them on your SD card.

Please note that all previously installed apps are located in the original location and will continue to work without any issues.

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Comments

  1. Beans & Bullets says

    I have attempted the same thing still no luck. I get same the error code I have renamed the directory and I have attempted to install multiple apps. . .. It makes me wonder why MS would limit the customer buy not giving us the choice to install an APP wherever we want to install it. . .so not cool. Todays APP’s are getting to be as big as standard size x32/64 programs. Another reason it becomes harder to love this new operating system with such a crutch. . .

    I’ll continue to search for alternate ways to install apps on the SD card.

  2. john says

    I think this worked for win 8, not 8.1. my guess is they closed a loophole that allowed you to buy a less powerful tablet and upgrade with third party (cheaper) hardware.

  3. Scott says

    Seems like something has changed since this article. As soon as I change the install folder, no previously installed apps work any more and new apps error during install. Any ideas?

  4. Chris Marotta says

    This procedure works great for new apps. However, when Windows Store has (previously installed) apps to update, they will not successfully update. It errors out with a message “Something happened and this app couldn’t be installed. Error code 0x80073cf9″. There are several troubleshooting tips online, but none work.

    If I change back the install directory to the default c:\Program Files\WindowsApps, the updates install fine. It would seem that the updates are now looking for the currently installed apps to update in the new folder.

    Has anyone else encountered this? Is there a fix or alternative procedure to allow the older apps to install to the default while keeping the new folder?

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