What is the .GamingRoot File on Windows?


You may have stumbled upon a strange hidden file called .GamingRoot on your Windows PC and wondered what it is. This tiny system file with the cryptic name has likely puzzled many users who don’t use Xbox gaming services.


The .GamingRoot file serves an important behind-the-scenes purpose for installing and running Xbox games on Windows. But for those not actively gaming, it can seem like an obscure anomaly.

This in-depth guide will demystify the .GamingRoot file – from why Xbox creates it to whether it can or should be deleted.

What is .GamingRoot File on Windows?

What is .GamingRoot File on Windows



The .GamingRoot file is created by Microsoft’s Xbox app included with Windows 10 and 11. It allows the Xbox software to identify valid storage drives for installing games.

In essence, .GamingRoot acts as a marker that labels drives as authorized game storage locations. By placing this tiny file on drives, the Xbox app establishes them as places users can download and store Xbox Game Pass titles and other games.

Here are some key facts about .GamingRoot:

  • It’s a system file created by the Xbox app – part of standard Windows, not anything added by third-party software.
  • The file is usually hidden from view in File Explorer. You’ll only see it if you enable the option to show hidden files.
  • It’s located in the root folder of drives where games can be installed e.g. C:\.GamingRoot.
  • The file size is extremely small, typically only 28 bytes. It serves as a simple flag rather than storing meaningful data.
  • You may find .GamingRoot files on multiple drives if you have installed games in different storage locations.

So in summary, while strange looking, .GamingRoot is a legitimate file with a purpose tied to Xbox game installations. It poses no risk or harm being there.

Why Does the Xbox App Create .GamingRoot Files?

The Xbox app needs a reliable way to identify valid storage spaces for games without prompting users each time.


By dropping a tiny .GamingRoot in relevant root folders, it establishes drives where game installs are permitted.

Here are a few reasons why Xbox uses .GamingRoot for this:

  • Allows games to be installed to various drives, rather than filling just the C: drive by default.
  • Simplifies game management by avoiding prompts for where to install each title. Locations are pre-established instead.
  • Can check for sufficient disk space on each drive before attempting large game installs.
  • Creates a clear relationship between .GamingRoot locations and the drives listed as game install options within the Xbox app settings.

Ultimately, the .GamingRoot approach ticks all the boxes for a practical marker file. At under 30 bytes each, storage impact is negligible, especially relative to multi-gigabyte game installs.

Can You Delete the .GamingRoot File?

While harmless, you may be wondering if you can remove .GamingRoot files if you want to reclaim that tiny bit of drive space or just don’t like seeing unnecessary files.


Technically yes, you can delete .GamingRoot if desired.

However, doing so is not recommended if you actively play or install Xbox titles on your system!

Potential issues from removing .GamingRoot include:

  • Errors in launching or updating previously installed games.
  • Inability to install or download new games from Xbox services.
  • Games fail to recognize their designated install location without the marker.

Ultimately, because .GamingRoot occupies almost no drive space, there is no practical benefit to removing it if you use Xbox gaming services. It’s generally best to just leave it alone.

If you do choose to delete it and experience problems with games afterward, you may need to either:

  • Reinstall affected game titles.
  • Reset your custom game install drives in the Xbox app settings.

This will reinstate the necessary .GamingRoot files and restore normal functionality.

But Why Is It .GamingRoot and Not GamingRoot?

If you have Linux or programming familiarity, the dot prefix  .GamingRoot will look very familiar. But for less technical Windows users, this naming convention could seem odd.

  • In Linux and Unix-like operating systems, files and folders beginning with . are hidden by default in directory listings.
  • So .GamingRoot is designed to be hidden from view, unless you explicitly enable showing system protected operating system files.

Microsoft likely chose this . prefix naming convention to leverage existing behaviors across platforms. But it does add some initial intrigue and mystique around .GamingRoot for everyday Windows users.

Is the .GamingRoot File Related to Malware or Viruses?

The unknown .GamingRoot file suddenly popping up on their system can make some users apprehensive about security issues or malware at first glance. However, rest assured .GamingRoot is completely legitimate and poses no risk.


As covered earlier, it is created by the standard Windows Xbox app developed by Microsoft – a core component of Windows 10/11 rather than anything suspicious. It serves an intended, helpful purpose rather than having malicious intent.

That said, if you have general concerns about malware or viruses, it couldn’t hurt to run a full system scan using your preferred antivirus tool.

This will check for infections across all files. But almost certainly it won’t flag any problem with .GamingRoot itself.

FAQs About the Mysterious .GamingRoot File:

  • 1. Where does .GamingRoot comes from?

The .GamingRoot file is created by the Xbox app included with Windows 10 and 11. It is an official Microsoft application rather than anything from a third-party.

  • 2. Is .GamingRoot some kind of virus or malware?

No. .GamingRoot is harmless and comes from legitimate software – the Windows Xbox app.

  • 3. Can I just go ahead and delete .GamingRoot?

You can delete it but this may cause problems with installed/updated games afterward. We recommend leaving it alone if you actively play Xbox titles.

  • 4. Why do I have .GamingRoot files on different drives?

If you’ve enabled game installs to various drives in the Xbox app settings, it will create a .GamingRoot on each as a installation marker.

  • 5. Does removing .GamingRoot recover any useful disk space?

No, the file is extremely small, under 30 bytes. So deleting it won’t free up any meaningful drive capacity.

  • 6. How can I hide .GamingRoot in File Explorer?

The easiest way is to disable showing hidden system files within File Explorer’s view options. This removes it from sight without actually deleting it.

  • 7. What happens if I uninstall the Xbox app?

Uninstalling the Xbox app would make any .GamingRoot files obsolete. Windows would likely automatically remove them in that case.

  • 8. Why is the file prefixed with a dot like . ?

This naming convention indicates a hidden system file in Linux/Unix environments. It was likely chosen for consistency/familiarity across operating systems.

  • 9. What could happen if I delete .GamingRoot?

Potential issues include games failing to launch, install, or properly recognize their designated storage location without the marker file present.

  • 10. Who will have .GamingRoot files present?

Only users who actively utilize Xbox gaming services and have installed games via Xbox Game Pass or related Windows integration will have .GamingRoot files.

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The .GamingRoot file plays an important role but remains relatively obscure to average Windows users outside of Xbox gaming ecosystems.


Rightly so, unexpected system files can raise some alarms – especially with anomalous names like .GamingRoot.

Hopefully, this demystification provides better clarity on why .GamingRoot exists, how it functions, and how to safely interpret its presence.

While strange on the surface, .GamingRoot carries no risks or downsides at the end of the day.

In summary, .GamingRoot is a legitimate file created by Microsoft’s integrated Xbox services in Windows.


It allows proper installation and organization of Xbox Game Pass titles across various drives by designating valid game storage locations.

And while it may seem redundant to have stray .GamingRoot files occupying 28 bytes unnecessarily, they ultimately pose no substantive impact. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – and that mantra applies here.

.GamingRoot is no threat and is best left unbothered in most cases.

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