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How-To delete Xbox (Beta) for PC Orphan Folders

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Let me start by saying that I’ve been using the service for almost 2 months now, at the beginning was great then I found some deal breaking issues that just made me cancel my subscription . Maybe after a while it’ll be more polished but right now I can’t really pay for something so buggy and that is a nightmare to work with all the “security put into the WindowsApp” folder (more into this later).

I’ve tested the app in 3 different machines:

  • i5-4690k / RX 570 / 32GB of RAM
  • i7-4790k / GTX 1070 / 32GB of RAM
  • Ryzen 2700x / GTX 1080 / 32GB of RAM

All of them with fresh installs of Windows 10 1903 and the only thing that change when the micro stutters started was installing the Xbox (beta) app, this was replicated on all 3 machines. I got to this conclusion after weeks of troubleshooting because Intel systems had new hard drives and the i5 was delidded, I thought I might’ve broken my CPU but when I started to use other machines I realize that the only thing affecting all of them was the Xbox (beta) app. This is a deal breaker for me because the stutters are felt even by just hovering the mouse pointer over files in File Explorer, so at the end of the day it affects my PC experience in general. My wild guess is that this has something to do with the Game Bar or any other necessary Xbox “feature” necessary to access the service, not sure really. It’s worth mentioning that I tested all systems with Linux Mint, this has helped me in the past to identify faulty hardware, since if it’s hardware you will find issues in both Windows and Linux alike.

I’m posting this for people that might be experiencing unexpected frame drops in games where you didn’t have them to begin with, that’s how I discovered this issue. Right now all 3 machines have fresh Windows 10 1903 installs with Uplay, Origin, Steam and GOG installed and games running just like before I started testing Xbox Beta for PC.

**** Now into the NIGHTMARE that is Xbox Beta for PC as a gaming servicing & launcher ****

Like the gaming community has criticized the Epic Launcher for their lack luster set of features, here goes my rant:

  • App/Service doesn’t offer TRUE Cloud Saves , as a PC player I really don’t care if I can continue my play in Xbox, I want my progress to be safely uploaded to the cloud. If I install the app in different machine or decide to format my PC; my saves should be readily available (deep dive into this is below).

  • Browsing available games should be easy, I should be able to sort my library and games in the way I see fit: Date Added, Date Installed, Alphabetically, etc. You get the point.

  • Ugliest part: The cumbersome and unnecessary design of the Save Location Folder , I’ve seen way too many questions in the forums “Where are my saves?; Where are my games located?; How can I move my games folder to a different location or machine?” There’s no easy answer for those questions but I’ll try my best and why is headache to work with this service/app.

Where are my saves?

Your saves are located in different places in your Users folders, you actually need to hunt them down with advance searches and or file explorers like Total Commander (what I did). Try searching by the name of the game o Developer, search inside the Users Folders, eventually you’ll find your saves but not for all, I guess some games keep these files inside the WindowsApp folder, which you can’t access nor delete easily a common question in the forums too.

Where are my games located?

Your games located inside the WindowsApp which is located by default in C: and when you want to have your games on your mechanical drive (cheap storage) you need to go to settings and change the location from C: to any available drive then it will ask you to change you apps default folder in order to take effect. This will case apps downloaded from the Store to be saved in that drive location, not only games, why? I don’t know doesn’t make sense, I just want my games to be saved in different folder.

How can I move my games folder to a different location or machine?

This is where it gets tricky, to move it to a different location just do what I described above and it should take care of it for you. But if you want to move it to a different machine or if you format your PC because you are troubleshooting stutters in your machine , well you’re out of luck: Xbox Beta App won’t recognize the folder and will ask you to delete its contents before it can use the destination drive, like why??. This must be horrible for people that have data plans for their internet, having to re-download their entire Xbox library all over again. It is not my case but I also don’t want to waste my time if I already downloaded the game and I just formatted my PC, which by the way is the best way to clean it and troubleshoot issues.

BONUS: OK, I’ve had enough and I want out…

Well ladies and gents, it is not as easy as it sounds. App uninstaller will leave orphan folders and files that are a NIGHTMARE to delete , my guess is the security used to encrypt those folders/files. If uninstall I expect that you clean your sh**t when you leave my machine, but hey not even in Beta this was thought out in the developing process… anyways, to the workaround:

  1. First uninstall all the games you downloaded to trim the size down of the WindowsApp folder.
  2. In Settings change the games location folder back it’s default in C:, do it in Windows Settings too since it will not prompt you like it did when you first change it from C: to D:
  3. Uninstall Xbox Beta for PC.
  4. This will leave at least 4 orphan folders in your Games Drive (D: or anything else that you might’ve chosen): WindowsApp, Program Files, Delivery Optimization and a last one that is usually below the WindowsApp folder, I don’t seem to recall its name right now.
  5. To delete those you’ll need: A Linux distro in a USB Drive with a live desktop or a Reg Key called “Take Ownership” (just google: Windows 10 Take Ownership Reg Key) or by changing the security properties for each folder (which I will explain since I found to be cleanest). Just let me say that you can’t delete the WindowsApp folder in Linux.
  6. To change the security properties: Right click in the folder > Security Tab > Advance. In there change the owner to Everyone then click “Search Names”, this will allow you to change in the box below all the owners and services that have access to this folder. Delete everything but Users of your current machine or your account name. Click Apply. If everything went well in File Explore you should be able to press SHIFT + DEL and get rid of the folder.

I’m sure there are more knowledgeable users here but I wanted to share my workaround.

The best thing out of this is that I appreciate more all the seasoned game launchers (Specially Steam & GOG) they’re very easy to work with and I was spoiled by that experience.

Cheers ~

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Sounds like a nightmare. I have a 3 month key, maybe I will skip it for a few months.

Some of these new updates have really been a pain. It seems like Microsoft is determined to carve out sections of our pcs for their own use.

And you might think, that this is a solved Problem. I mean, say about steam and valve what you want, but steam has this whole experience nailed down. Just take it, make it Transparent and be done with it.
Everyone agrees that the way steam handles local files, librarys, moving stuff and Game Progress restore perfectly. Why do we need to change that at all?

Because the way steam does it, is proprietary. Nobody else knows how steam does it. And they aren’t about to release the source code to their platform. That would even the playing field too much.

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It wasn’t about specific code. More about the general Idea or Concept on how to do it. The way Steam saves files locally, makes games movable etc. isn’t tied to specific code. It’s the general idea of keeping files in a sane structure in folders that are accessible.

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