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The Windows 8 Start Screen is great but so very cluttered! Nineteen apps clog up the screen. While I am sure they have their purpose, most are not needed in an enterprise environment.
The default Windows 8 Start Screen
There are two main ways to uninstall Windows 8 apps globally. The first method is to use PowerShell. The second method is through DISM. These methods can then be combined with MDT to deploy your Windows 8 image. They can also be combined with Group Policy (specifically, logon scripts) to clean up existing Windows 8 machines.
Uninstall Windows 8 apps with PowerShell ^
PowerShell 3.0 has nine cmdlets to help manage Modern (.APPX) applications. Two cmdlets allow us to remove Windows 8 apps: Remove-AppxPackage and Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage. Remove-AppxPackage will remove an app for the user currently logged on. It will not remove the app from C:\Program Files\WindowsApps. Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage will remove an app from the machine (but will not remove the icons from any created user profiles).
As an example, I want to remove the Bing Sports app. To do so, I can enter Get-AppxPackage -name *Sports* | Remove-AppxPackage in PowerShell.
No more sports!
To remove all built-in packages, I can run Get-AppxPackage -name * | Remove-AppxPackage. You will get some errors as it processes; certain applications can’t be removed if another application depends on it. After a minute or so, your Start Screen should look like this:
Built-in Windows 8 apps are uninstalled
Because Internet Explorer and the Windows Store are considered core components of Windows 8, you can’t remove them on a per-user basis. You can use Group Policy to restrict access, though. For example, you can prevent users from being able to launch the Windows Store.
Remove Windows 8 apps with Group Policy ^
To globally remove Windows 8 apps from all existing users, you will want to use a PowerShell logon script. Either use Get-AppxPackage -name * | Remove-AppxPackage to remove all packages or use the script below to selectively remove applications.
Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Bing_126.96.36.199_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingFinance_188.8.131.52_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingMaps_184.108.40.206_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingNews_220.127.116.11_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingSports_18.104.22.168_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingTravel_22.214.171.124_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingWeather_126.96.36.199_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Camera_6.2.8514.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Media.PlayReadyClient_2.3.1662.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Media.PlayReadyClient_2.3.1662.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package microsoft.microsoftskydrive_16.4.4204.712_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Reader_6.2.8516.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.VCLibs.110.00_11.0.50712.1_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.VCLibs.110.00_11.0.50712.1_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps_16.4.4206.722_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package microsoft.windowsphotos_16.4.4204.712_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.WinJS.1.0_1.0.8514.0_neutral__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.XboxLIVEGames_1.0.927.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.ZuneMusic_1.0.927.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.ZuneVideo_1.0.927.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
If you are not running a 64-bit operating system, or if these package names change, you can use Get-AppxPackage * | Select-Object PackageFullName to update your script.
My GPO that uninstalls all Windows 8 apps on logon
When Group Policy processes synchronously, which is the default behavior, a user can be logged on while a logon script is still running. This can cause some funny results where a user’s Start Screen is constantly rearranging itself because apps are being removed. If you wish to prevent this, you can force Group Policy to process asynchronously by enabling Always Wait for the Network at Computer Startup and Logon in Computer Configuration > System > Logon. As expected, this will slow down your logons and startups.