Is there a way that I can disable a program without uninstalling it? Essentially, the program would no longer be listed in programs and the program itself wouldn't show up in search, but the physical files themselves wouldn't be removed. Attempting to launch the program while it's disabled would require it to be re-enabled. Re-enabling the program would be significantly faster than reinstalling and simply be a matter of allowing it to show up in programs and search. Is this a thing in Windows? Is this possible to do—with third party programs or otherwise?

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    Simply put, no. there are things you could do to acheive some of the goals you state, but some are impossible, and for the most part, its more work that just reinstalling the app, – Frank Thomas May 27 '18 at 3:43
  • Why not install this app by itself in a virtual machine, and keep it separate? Startup/Shutdown the VM as needed. Also depending on the app, there maybe a portable edition of the app that runs off a USB stick or a folder on your hdd. – cybernard May 28 '18 at 3:20
  • Define significantly faster. How long does an install take in hours and minutes? – cybernard May 28 '18 at 13:23
  • You may rename the man executable file. Like if you rename firefox.exe without uninstalling it would not work. You've to run just a single ren command to rename. – Biswapriyo May 29 '18 at 13:06

I don't know if this is a solution that works the way you want it, but you can try it out and see for yourself. Also, I don't think it'll work 100% the way you want it

Normally all programs/applications will be shown if you start typing the name in the start menu. If you right-click on them, you can select "Go to file location". This will send you to StartMenu\Programs directory. If you move the required program away from this folder (to the desktop for example), it will no longer appear in your start menu when searching it in the start menu. You can move it back in if you want to reuse it.

Optimally, you can write a script (I presume you are familiar with this) that automatically copies the program that's linked in the start menu to a seperate folder and back.

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There are three methods I can think of off the top of my head on how this can be done, all permissions related. You can either remove a user or group's read access to a folder and/or files in the File Permissions dialog. Alternatively, you can remove the execute permission in the advanced permissions of the aforementioned dialog.

With the former method, the affected users will not be able to read the files or folders contents, thereby making it unable to be executed. Be aware, all files with this change cannot be read at all, meaning a text file in the folder, or a configuration file, will not be able to opened or edited. You can limit the permission change to just the executable.

With the latter method, it is more targeted and only the executable would be affected and unable to run.

Lastly, you could mark the files/folders hidden. This wouldnt make them non-executable, but unable to be seen without some snooping.

Of course, you would manually remove the Start Menu entries manually.

I wont go in to much detail on how to do it, as there are countless guides you can Google on how to do this. Here is one example.

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Easy- use windows registry

Press Win+R and type regedit and hit Enter to open the Registry Editor. Now navigate to the following key:


If you are looking for an application which is 32-bit and your system is 64 bit use the following instead:


Now inside this folder, find the folder for the application that you want to hide. Right-click on the application folder, select New and then click on DWORD. Name the new value SystemComponent and give it a value of 1.

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As @Biswapriyo mentioned in the comments, I just rename the executable file. (I add -disabled to the end of the name.) Then if I want it to work again, I just rename it to the original name. Of course, this doesn't fully hide it from all menus, as you requested, but it's very fast and easy.

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Take a look at the procedure here: https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/8739/restrict-users-to-run-only-specified-programs-in-windows-7/ This may also work in Windows 10. It's done by registry keys/values.

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