Uninstalling the Uninstallable With Windows PowerShell

By Robert Benn

tech talkWindows 10 comes chock-full of applications and features that support the myriad needs of a vast user base. Unfortunately, Microsoft gives their users scant opportunity to choose which applications they want installed alongside their operating system. Worse still, after installation, some applications cannot be removed by traditional means. Fortunately, users that want to run leaner PCs, or that desire a more tailored experience, do have recourse native to Windows — no third-party applications required.

All user-installed programs and the majority of bundled applications can be removed from a Windows 10 machine via the add/remove utility. Certain programs, however, such as Xbox and Groove Music, have their uninstall buttons grayed out on this menu. Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player don’t even make it onto the list.
For finer control of Windows applications, and of the operating system at large, Microsoft has provided a utility called Windows PowerShell. PowerShell is less intuitive than a wizard, insomuch as it utilizes a command-line interface, but it has the power to alter nearly every aspect of a Windows system. Microsoft refers to PowerShell commands as “cmdlets.”

To get a more complete picture of installed programs, users can run the Windows PowerShell cmdlet “Get-AppxPackage –AllUsers.” This command will return a list of installed application packages for all user profiles. For a more targeted approach, “Get-AppxPackage *[Name]*” will search application package names for the characters between the asterisks. The output of these commands will include the full package name. The full package name can be used in conjunction with the “Remove-AppxPackage [FullPackageName]” cmdlet to uninstall the application. Alternatively, the output of “Get-AppxPackage” can be piped to the “Remove-AppxPackage” cmdlet. Extra care should be taken if using the second method, as PowerShell will attempt to remove all applications that meet the search criteria.

Not all applications can be removed using this technique; Microsoft prevents users from removing applications that will break the core functionality of the operating system. Still others are considered features, and so are not enumerated with the Get-AppxPackage command. Two such features are Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer, which can be removed by deselecting them from the Windows features utility available through Control Panel.

Robert Benn Is An Information Technology Major Graduating In May 2018.


To remove Groove Music: Get-AppxPackage *zunemusic* Remove-AppxPackage Microsoft.ZuneMusic_10.18011.13411.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbweOr: Get-AppxPackage *zunemusic* | Remove-AppxPackage

Apps and their names in PowerShell:

Office: officehubGet
Skype: skypeapp
Get Started: getstarted
Groove Music: zunemusic
Maps: windowsmaps
Movies & TV: zunevideo
People: people
Phone Companion: windowsphone
Xbox: xboxapp

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