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How to uninstall, remove or otherwise hide UWP apps from the start menu. RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    I am currently approaching that head on desk stage with this one...

    I am deploying W10 at the school I work at; When a staff member or pupil logs in, (test accounts so far) they get a selection of UWP apps show up in the start menu. How do I get rid of these icons?

    The start menu is redirected using group policy (Windows Settings>Folder Redirection) The UWP shortcuts aren't in that directory so the machine is picking it up from somewhere....

    Based on current reading I have done the following:

    GPO: Turn off Microsoft consumer experiences, enabled
    GPO: Turn off the Store application, enabled
    Scripts: tried numerous scripts from others and my own to "Uninstall" the apps, they all share similarities with this: https://community.spiceworks.com/scripts/show/4378-windows-10-decrapifier-18xx-19xx?page=12 

    On the subject of "uninstalling" the apps using scripts (as mentioned above), I have had 'some' success here, it has worked on some machines (seemingly permanently) but not others. This in itself baffles me. I have cleared the test account's roaming profile between each test just to make sure preferences/settings are not to blame, seemingly to no effect. 

    If I log in as a pupil, I can see the app icons in the start menu. If I run get-appxpackage in powershell, I can see that the app is not currently installed. If I click the app icon, it installs and runs the app! (running get-appxpackage again will show it in the list)

    TL;DR: How do I remove the xbox, solitaire etc UWP apps from the start menu for all users. 

    Thanks,
    Robin.

    Friday, July 19, 2019 2:37 PM

Answers

  • I assume what you're after here is the apps in question gone from the start menu entirely, not simply that they don't appear in the tiles on the right?

    If so, I don't believe there is a way of doing this short of fully uninstalling them.

    We've found it more reliable to remove the apps from the starting installation materials (using DISM on the mounted install.wim) rather than attempt to remove them after installation. That way, they're never there in the first place, and you can ensure that they can't reinstall themselves.

    e.g. something like this:

    dism /Image:[folder where install.wim is mounted] /Remove-ProvisionedAppxPackage /PackageName:Microsoft.XboxApp_48.48.7001.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe

    Repeat for all the apps you want to remove. Use dism /image:[as above] /Get-ProvisionedAppxPackages to list them and get the names. The downside to this is that you have to do this to the starting installation materials and then wipe&re-install the PCs from that image.

    One other thing - you mention roaming profiles. These can interact strangely with the start menu such that you may get different results on a user's first login (where they actually went through profile creation), compared to subsequent logins or logins on a different PC. The setting as to whether to keep cached copies of roaming profiles will also affect this, as it determines whether files in appdata\local are persistent.

    Alternatively, LTSC lacks all these applications in the first place, which makes life a lot easier (and is something I would generally recommend anyway for other reasons for student use). NB, Microsoft's recommendation would be different, but for us LTSC is a better fit for our needs on our student PCs.

    Friday, July 19, 2019 3:12 PM

All replies

  • I assume what you're after here is the apps in question gone from the start menu entirely, not simply that they don't appear in the tiles on the right?

    If so, I don't believe there is a way of doing this short of fully uninstalling them.

    We've found it more reliable to remove the apps from the starting installation materials (using DISM on the mounted install.wim) rather than attempt to remove them after installation. That way, they're never there in the first place, and you can ensure that they can't reinstall themselves.

    e.g. something like this:

    dism /Image:[folder where install.wim is mounted] /Remove-ProvisionedAppxPackage /PackageName:Microsoft.XboxApp_48.48.7001.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe

    Repeat for all the apps you want to remove. Use dism /image:[as above] /Get-ProvisionedAppxPackages to list them and get the names. The downside to this is that you have to do this to the starting installation materials and then wipe&re-install the PCs from that image.

    One other thing - you mention roaming profiles. These can interact strangely with the start menu such that you may get different results on a user's first login (where they actually went through profile creation), compared to subsequent logins or logins on a different PC. The setting as to whether to keep cached copies of roaming profiles will also affect this, as it determines whether files in appdata\local are persistent.

    Alternatively, LTSC lacks all these applications in the first place, which makes life a lot easier (and is something I would generally recommend anyway for other reasons for student use). NB, Microsoft's recommendation would be different, but for us LTSC is a better fit for our needs on our student PCs.

    Friday, July 19, 2019 3:12 PM
  • Look at LayoutModification.xml: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/configuration/start-layout-xml-desktop

    When Win10 is installed, it has a list of 'placeholder' tiles that correspond to apps in the MS Store.  After install, it will try to drop these apps per user.  You can tell which ones they are if you install Win10 without a network connection, as they have the down arrow logo.  

    Through LayoutModification.xml, you can remove these placeholders from the Start screen on a fresh install, so the apps never get downloaded at all.  It may not do 100% of the stuff you want (Solitaire for example, is pre-packaged), but it depends on what your particular environment requires.  For mine, simply removing all of the Start tiles and having just basic stuff like Notepad etc. in there removes everything I care about.

    Note that this only works when creating NEW accounts.  It will not modify existing user layouts.
    • Edited by S.SubZero Friday, July 19, 2019 6:40 PM
    Friday, July 19, 2019 6:39 PM
  • If you don't want to use DISM and Layout Modification to customized your own image.

    Then following is another way to do it (powershell)

    https://james-rankin.com/articles/how-to-remove-uwp-apps-on-windows-10-v1803/

    The key is after you remove those apps by following

    Get-AppxProvisionedPackage -online | Out-GridView -PassThru | Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -online

    Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers | Out-GridView -PassThru | Remove-AppxPackage

    You need to set group policy to shut down your store

    

    Saturday, July 20, 2019 6:04 AM
  • Remove-ProvisionedAppxPackage is actually something that I had tried; I have found that this has to be run as a local admin and not as a domain admin...

    I will mark this as the answer as removing the apps from the image is the smartest option and I will be making that change. 

    As for the machines I've already deployed, I will just uninstall the apps with a powershell script.  

    I did fall victim to Microsoft encouraging the semi annual version over LTSC; live and learn. 

    Monday, July 22, 2019 9:41 AM