How to empty cache of Microsoft Windows 8 Photo application (my hacky approach)

At first you might ask, why one would like to do this kind of thing and why even write a whole damn article about that. Well the answer is not so common but simple.

Picture a situation where you need to return notebook or PC or any device with Windows 8 installed. I have Windows 8 on my dev box since beta and when I received notebook at work, I have chosen to link my account on the machine with one of my live ids (or Microsoft account as they call it now). I wanted to see how good is the new Photo application so I linked my personal Facebook and it downloaded a bunch of photos. So far so good. Now I need to return the notebook and I wanted to unlink my Microsoft account. I had luck to quite easily find how to do this in Store, in Mail and People app but though I unlinked my account from photo app, pictures were still there, cached somewhere in my HDD. Damn, now what? No clear, no empty, no remove everything option…. :/

Just to speed you up, here is what you can do and what I find the best and easiest to do, then I will dig a bit into the second possible scenario.

  • create new user from the scratch in Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\User Accounts\Manage Accounts (say admin, something, just that the machine has some root account when you return it back and then erase your personal account from that new root account), but this is the way you loose all your data associated with that account on this particular machine
  • you are not giving the machine back, just want to switch to another Microsoft account, so please read on, in short, you can uninstall the Photo application, remove directory where it is storing its stuff and then install the whole app back

(just a small side note – I have tested them both after it hit me, that new user is also a way to go and it will give you really clean account)

The first option is the cleanest, since Windows 8 apps are living in this folder :


You can quite easily hack there and sniff what they are doing. The folder that I had to find was this one :


This is the folder where all my photos were stored. First I tried to removed all .jpg files. Just a partial success, app was working, but it was able to somehow retrieve its pictures back. Part of them. There is one big file, I suppose its some kind of local DB, but didn’t had the time to investigate on that more. So I just removed all of the files. Rerun the app – bam – app didn’t even started… Good job guys… Now what? OK, I tried to uninstall the app (with empty folder), you can easily right click on the tile and uninstall it. Then I installed it back and its in the default state… So that was my path to those two bullets that I would advice you to choose from, when you are in the need of unlinking your Microsoft account from Windows 8 for any reason.

But maybe I am just wrong and overlooked some option somewhere, so please if you have any better/faster/this is the way it was supposed to be done, share it please in the comments.

Thank you and enjoy.


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  1. Christoffer · January 8, 2013

    Just remove or move the images to a folder where the Photo application doesn’t look and then clear the Tiles Cache.

    On the start screen (the one with the live tiles) do:
    1) windows + c (or go to one of the right corners)
    2) settings
    3) tiles
    4) clear (clear personal info from my tiles)

    • dusan · January 8, 2013

      Hello sir.
      Thanks for your comment and sharing of this one.

      As far as I remember, I tried this, but didn’t succeeded for an unknown reason. I wrote this with maybe 2nd update of photo app installed. As far as I remember there were updates to this, anyway if this is working, its faster solution 🙂

  2. Extra-44Trac · January 8, 2013

    Hey Buddy, the reason could be that you CANNOT FIND THE SETTINS of ‘Tiles’ using Windows key + C > settings > tiles, as the guy said is because your copy of Windows 8 at the time wasn’t activated legit. There’s a blog on clearing caches and all the data using simple Windows + C > settings utilities – they will only work once the copy of Windows have been activated, and not within the initial non-activated period. Thanks.

    • dusan · January 8, 2013

      Hi Extra-44Trac.
      Well (as far as I remember) I was using my MSDN legit version of Windows 8 with all patches at that moment on my business notebook.

      The problem was, I linked my own outlook account with account on that machine (I wanted to install W8 apps) and I copied over some pictures. So first I unlinked the outlook account and than I erased the data but still I wasn’t able to clear the app fully (at the end, I created another admin account and erased my own and handed over the machine like that).

      I searched setting in Photos app, but only thing you can find there is “Shuffle photon in Photo tile” switch.

      Yes, I am able to find “Clear personal info from tiles” in “start screen” but it doesn’t fell logical to me. What if I only want to erase cache from Photos app? I was searching all over the Photos app and really didn’t found that I can erase all of them in root start screen. Hence the the title : my hacky approach….

      From my point of view, I would expect to find either option to clear tile by right clicking it, or in Settings of the particular app.

      So I wrote this short article about this problem.

      Greetings to CZ sir,