What type of data are stored in Local, LocalLow and Roaming folders in user/AppData in Windows 7?

sahil January 4, 2011
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Everytime when I search for a new thing about Windows on the internet, it turns out that you have to change something or deal with something in

Can someone tell me that how the data is segregated or what type of data is stored in what folder. I need to know so that I can solve my problems on my self in future. Thanks.

  1. Anonymous
    January 5, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Windows Vista and 7 also has changed the Application Data folder structure. Previous user profiles did not logically sort data stored in the Application Data folder, making it difficult to distinguish data that belonged to the machine from data belonging to the user. Windows Vista addresses this issue by creating a single AppData folder under the user profile. The AppData folder contains three subfolders: Roaming, Local, and LocalLow.

    “Local”, “LocalLow” and “Roaming” which has been created by Microsoft intentionally for the following reasons

    • Better performance during logon
    • Segregation of application’s data based on the usage level

    Windows uses the Local and LocalLow folders for application data that does not roam with the user. Usually this data is either machine specific or too large to roam. The AppDataLocal folder in Windows Vista is the same as the Documents and SettingsusernameLocal SettingsApplication Data folder in Windows XP.

    Windows uses the Roaming folder for application specific data, such as custom dictionaries, which are machine independent and should roam with the user profile.

    The Roaming folder is to preserve user data. Imagine a company with 1000 workstations, and employee use different workstations each day. By roaming the user profile data (copy to server), the custom data is always available regardless of any workstation the employee uses.

    The applications choose whether to save to local or roaming, and roaming is used by default by most applications, it acts as local to people not on a domain, and to people that are, their settings follow them.

    Local is only typically used when explicitly preventing settings following a user across a domain. This will be usually due to size of the settings folder to prevent having to transfer gigabytes across a domain in cases such as cache. For example Chromium (web browser) uses local instead of roaming as it's cache folder is within the user settings folder. Most other applications separate the cache and settings for this reason.

    The naming of local and roaming is unfortunate, as most users at home aren't on a domain and can easily be confused by such terms.

    Roaming is the folder that would be synchronized with a server if you logged into a domain with a roaming profile (enabling you to log into any computer in a domain and access your favorites, documents, etc. Firefox stores its information here, so you could even have the same bookmarks between computers with a roaming profile. It is worth to remember that “Roaming” folder is synchronized with the server meaning bigger the size of roaming folder longer the time required to logon to a PC. The folder “Roaming” by design ensures that ONLY absolutely essential data like “Favorites” “Desktop” and “Documents” travel with the user thereby making it as a roaming profile.

    Local is the folder that is specific to that computer - any information here would not be synchronized with a server. This folder is equivalent in XP to C:Documents and SettingsUserLocal SettingsApplication Data.

    LocalLow is the same folder as local, but has a lower integrity level. IE8, for example, can only write to the locallow folder (when protected mode is on).

    • Peeyushjai1983
      August 30, 2011 at 2:56 am

      Thanks to you!!

      after a long search I found a good article at this place.

      Kudos to you :)

  2. Mike
    January 5, 2011 at 12:24 am

    In general the AppData folder is where Applications and Windows itself stores user data.

    is the equivalent to the Windows XP folder
    C:Documents and SettingsyournameLocal SettingsApplication Data

    AppData contains 3 specific folders with everyone having it's specific purpose.
    This layout has something to do with Roaming Profiles but I think you get the idea with the short version:

    AppDataLocal ... userdata to big to roam or machine specific
    AppdataLocalLow ... as above but for low level acces (e.g. protected mode of IE)
    AppdataRoaming ... userdata that are capable of being "roamed"

    As for "LocalLow" it is about protection for the user. For example when you run IE in protected mode you don't want it to access any of your userdata. So instead of giving it access to those Windows will only grant access to the "LocalLow" folder to store and read data from.