What's in the hidden Windows AppData Folder, and how to find it if you need it

Frank Hammond asked how to access the AppData folder and copy files from it.

The Application Data—or AppData—folder contains data created by programs. Almost every program you install creates its own folder in AppData and stores information there. At least in theory, users don’t have to worry about these files.

But in reality, you probably do. For instance, my personalized Microsoft Word templates and Sticky Notes file all reside inside AppData. If you’re using an older version of Outlook, that program’s data is probably in AppData, as well.

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Avoid typos: Disable the Caps Lock key

Peter asked for a way to “remap the Caps Lock key so it does nothing.” He wants to avoid accidentally hitting that key and finding himself typing ALL CAPS.

You can go into the Windows Registry and change how Windows interprets the keyboard code, so that Caps Lock can do something else or nothing at all. That way, you won’t accidentally switch to all-caps.

But even by the standards of Registry editing, it’s a tough hack. So I’m supplying an easier fix.

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When to buy a flash drive, an external hard drive, or an external SSD

Mrinal Thakur asked “What should I buy, an external hard drive, an external SSD, or a pen drive?”

My quick answer: Use an external hard drive for backup. Use a flash drive or an SSD if you want to move files from one computer to another and a network isn’t practical.

The long answer: It all depends on how much storage you need, how much you worry about physical damage, and how much you’re willing to spend. Flash-based storage such as external SSDs or flash drives (also known as pen drives or thumb drives) tend to be more robust: Drop one to the ground, and it’s still likely to work. But hard drives provide more storage for the dollar.

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