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The company I work IT for is planning ahead for a full roll-out of Windows 10 computers to replace ageing Windows 7 computers in 1-2 years time. With Windows 7 Professional, or setup process was easy - build an image void of all manufacturer bloatware, install industry-specific software, and deploy to computers and activate as necessary. The only securing of computers that was necessary is UAC not allowing users to download programs without the admin credentials. Easy. Effective.

With Windows 10 (and 8.x) there is a new elephant in the room - The Windows Store and the UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps it brings. For personal users, great. But not so much for businesses. Up until November 2015, it was possible to use Group Policy or AppLocker to restrict user access to these resources. However, after the November update (beyond version 1511), Microsoft removed the ability to do this in the Pro edition of Windows 10, restricting it to Enterprise and Education. For many small businesses, it is not efficient to get windows through Volume Licensing programs, so Pro was the way to go. Answered below are two ways to remove the Windows Store and select apps entirely - on per-user basis after they have logged in, or entirely and forever for all current and future users of a machine.

  • Scratch that, apparently I lack the reputation to post my own solution because of the links and images it contains. The raw data of my solution can be found here if a mod could post it on my behalf! – grahamhoyes Jul 5 '16 at 13:17
  • Post a filler answer, and I'll edit your text into it. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jul 5 '16 at 13:18
  • @Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Can't accept my own answer right away either, you can mark it as the answer or I'll come back in 2 days and do that. Thanks for the help! – grahamhoyes Jul 5 '16 at 13:21
  • No problem, Oh jeezus. You scored a down vote in the 10 seconds you had the posted "filler". Good reviewing job folks.. :/ – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jul 5 '16 at 13:22
  • Only you can mark it as accepted. Note tho, this may get closed as a duplicate to superuser.com/questions/957813/… – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jul 5 '16 at 13:22
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Edit: When removing apps using Method 2, the apps may still show up in search but will close immediately when opened. To make them not show up, use Method 1 AFTER Method 2.

Edit 2: I am investigating an issue where I no longer have any access to any Windows Apps (including those I left) on my testing PC. Until then, please avoid using Method 2.

Method 1 - Remove for Existing Users using Administrative PowerShell

This method uses the PowerShell included in Windows 10 Pro to remove UWP apps, also known as Appx Packages, from pre-existing users on a computer.

First, run PowerShell as Administrator by searching for it in start and right clicking > Run as administrator.

Open PowerShell as Administrator

Next, get a list of installed packages. To do this, we could type Get-AppxPackage and read the million things that come up. Instead we will pipe it to the select command that only output's the packages short name, and then we will pipe it to the sort command to sort it alphabetically (just to look nice).

Get-AppxPackage | select name | sort name

This will produce an output like this:

Packages

For this example, we're going to delete all Bing apps (News, Sports, Weather, etc.) To do that, we again get the Appx Packages, but this time use wildcards to get them by name. We then pipe them to the Remove-AppxPackage command, which is pretty self-explanatory.

Get-AppxPackage -name *Bing* | Remove-AppxPackage

PowerShell will display a deployment process, then give you back control. Getting the Appx Packages by name afterwards returns the following, void of all Bing apps:

Bing apps gone

To remove the Windows Store itself, do the same as above:

Get-AppxPackage -name *WindowsStore* | Remove-AppxPackage

These commands only remove apps from the current user. To remove them for all users on the computer, add the -allusers flag like so:

Get-AppxPackage -allusers -name *Bing* | Remove-AppxPackage

Method 2 - Removing for All Users by Restricting Access to the WindowsApps Folder

This method is more complicated, but also more robust. We will be removing System's access from the folder where Windows Apps are installed to then deleting the ones we want gone, so they can't come back.

Windows Apps are are stored in C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\. This is a hidden folder, so you'll have to show hidden folders first:

Show hidden items

If you try to modify the folder properties right now, you won't be able to. This is because TrustedInstaller is the owner of the folder. To change this, right click on the folder, choose Properties, then go to the Security folder. Click the Advanced button.

Advanced security

The Owner: field will either show TrustedInstaller or Unable to display current owner, as it does for me. Click Change next to Owner to change the owner.

Change folder owner

Change the folder to a local or domain administrator (I did this using a domain administrator, but am using a local administrator for this tutorial). Make sure the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects box is checked.

Owner changed

After this step, you will need to click OK and close all open dialogue and properties boxes for changes to take effect. Then, re-open folder properties and go to the security tab. You will now be able to change folder permissions. Click Edit.

Fully remove SYSTEM from the list of Groups and user names (this means it won't be able to reinstall apps back into the folder once they're gone). Next, add your local or domain administrator to the list and give yourself Full control.

enter image description here

Finally, go close all dialogue boxes and go into the WindowsApps folder. Select and delete whichever apps you like.

Delete apps

I would recommend KEEPING the .NET framework, as well as the Photos, Calculator, and windowscommunicationsapps to ensure that the computer continues to work properly. I removed Zune video and music (the packages for Films & TV and Groove), but this left the computer without music and video playing programs, so you will have to install other programs if you want this functionality.

Final Remarks

Please note that this is a solution-in-progress, I have confirmed that it works across new users and restarts, but do not yet know if it is rock solid. Do NOT perform the steps above if you don't know what you're doing, as it can seriously break your computer if done wrong. I assume no responsibility for anything negative or problematic which may result as a result of following the above steps.

Feel free to add to this solution, as I hope it is one that other admins (or just annoyed users) can follow in the future.

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