Frequently asked question

Will uninstalling ArcGIS Pro delete my existing projects or data?

Last Published: July 9, 2021


When users are asked to perform a clean uninstall/reinstall of ArcGIS Desktop, they often have questions about the potential impact on existing projects and data used with their current installation.

This is a different question than asking whether existing projects and data will be compatible with a different version of ArcGIS Desktop, which has been well documented in release notes.

The uninstall or repair process for ArcGIS Desktop applications modifies the application files stored in "C:\Program Files" or "C:\Program Files (x86)". This means contents in the "C:\Users\<username>\Documents\" and "C:\Users\<username>\AppData" subdirectories is not modified or deleted, and all existing contents in those subdirectories are preserved.

By default, ArcGIS Desktop's application files are stored in "C:\Program Files" or "C:\Program Files (x86)". By default, user's projects and data are stored in "C:\Users\<username>\Documents\", which is a unique folder created for each user profile on that computer. For example, Joe's projects and data are stored inside "C:\Users\Joe\Documents", while Jane's projects and data are stored in "C:\Users\Jane\Documents").

User-specific application preferences are stored by default in the "C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\ESRI" and "C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\ESRI" folders. These folders in the \AppData subdirectory contain files related to Favorite items, Styles, Caches, Service Definition drafts, and various log files.

The "C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\ESRI" and "C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\ESRI" subdirectories store user-specific application preferences. To avoid loss of these preferences and a potential impact on the user experience of ArcGIS Desktop, it is recommended to rename rather than delete these folders when performing a clean uninstall of ArcGIS Desktop. Renaming, rather than deleting, these folders allows for restoration of application Favorites and Styles after the uninstall/repair process. 

Deleting the contents in the  "C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\ESRI" and "C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\ESRI" subdirectories will not modify user's data or projects. 
Users can specify other folder locations to save projects and data, including other folders on the C: drive and external hard drives. It is recommended to avoid saving projects and data in the "C:\Program Files", C:\Program Files (x86)", and "C:\Users\<username>\AppData" directories. These folders contain application-specific files that are used in the installation and startup process. Projects and data stored in other specified subdirectories are preserved during the uninstall or repair of ArcGIS Desktop applications.


Article ID:000026009

  • ArcGIS Pro

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