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Hey, Microsoft, stop installing third-party apps on clean Windows 10 installs!

Before Windows 10, a clean install of Windows only included the bare essentials a user would need to get started using their PC. That included software built by Microsoft, such as Mail, Paint, and its web browser, and it never included "bloatware" or "trialware" that one might find on hardware purchased from a third-party OEM that preloaded all kinds of crapware.

The clean install process was simple. With Windows 7, you'd do the install, and once you hit the desktop, that was it. All the programs that were preinstalled were Microsoft-made and were often considered essentials. This changed with Windows 8, with the addition of auto-updating apps such as Travel, News and more. Still, these were acceptable, preinstalled Windows apps and were not really classed as bloatware.

With Windows 10, a clean install stays that way for about two minutes, because the second you hit the desktop, the Microsoft Store immediately starts trying to download third-party apps and games. And these apps keep trying to install themselves even after you cancel the downloads.

Six too many

There are six such apps, which is six too many. These apps are often random, but right now they include things like Candy Crush, Spotify, and Disney Magic Kingdoms. You should not see any of these apps on a fresh install of Windows 10, yet they are there every single time.

There are policies you can set that disable these apps from automatically installing, but that's not the point. On a fresh, untouched, clean install of Windows 10, these apps will download themselves onto your PC. Even if you cancel the installation of these apps before they manage to complete the download, they will retry at a later date, without you even noticing.

The only way I've found that gets rid of them permanently is to let them install initially, without canceling the download, and then uninstall the apps from the Start menu. If you cancel the initial download of the bloatware apps before they complete their first install, the Microsoft Store will just attempt to redownload them later and will keep doing so until that initial install is complete.

This is not a good user experience, Microsoft.

In the past, bloatware issues were usually the fault of third-party OEMs, but with Windows 10, bloatware is just as much Microsoft's fault. It may only be six apps that are installing themselves, but that's more than what Apple automatically installs on Macs.

For comparison, I recently did a clean install of macOS High Sierra on a Mac, and that experience was sublime. Once I hit the desktop, I didn't need to go in and start uninstalling extra bloatware that was automatically trying to install itself. All the apps that show up on the OS are Apple-made and not considered bloatware.

This is a new problem for Windows

This never used to be a problem. A clean install of Windows 7 was exactly that. But with Windows 10, a clean install includes apps from third parties, even if I don't want them. This also happens on the Windows 10 Pro edition, not just Home.

Microsoft uses a couple of the Live tiles in the Start menu as advertisements for apps available in the Microsoft Store. These apps look like they're installed, but they aren't until you click the Live tile. I'm not all that bothered about Microsoft using the Start menu to advertise apps in the Microsoft Store, but I cannot stand apps that automatically install themselves.

I'd much prefer if Microsoft treated the six apps that automatically install themselves like it treats the rest of the advertisements in the Start menu; as placeholders. These apps should not download unless I click on them first. We already know Microsoft can do this because it's doing it with Drawboard and Minecraft. The rest, however, just download on their own. And that sucks.

I hope Microsoft is aware of the terrible clean install experience in the latest version of Windows 10, and I hope it changes the behavior so apps don't automatically install unless they're Microsoft made. That would make for a much better experience for people who often do clean install Windows.

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

77 Comments
  • Absolutely agree Zac! It's very annoying (especially on PRO SKUs) and when I uninstall them before they are downloaded, the Microsoft store still downloads them. Again after each major update. And the same for each user at the computer. I think it's okay that they pre-install the Office-tile (to guide users to the Store-version), but I would also argue that installing Minecraft and Solitaire is bloatware. They could do this on the "free" S mode versions or probably Home, but not pro!
  • You have to use Enterprise or Education editon for that to happen.  At least I know the Education edition does not have the third party "featured" apps installed when doing a clean install so I assume the Enterprise edition does the same.
  • I can confirm that Enterprise editions also come bundled with the same crap and so we have opted for Windows 10 LTSB.
  • Well said. They boasted so much that we were finally able to get a bloat-free version of Windows only to start adding the bloatware themselves. And it’s not even just Home and Pro, the Enterprise version also has those annoying apps preinstalled. Why would I need Candy Crush on a work machine? The only clean version is the LTSB edition, but that’s not for general usage. Stop wasting our HD space and bandwidth with pointless apps, Microsoft
  • Same reason OEMs install bloatware on their PCs, they get paid to. Microsoft obviously needs he bucks so here we are......
  • Lol that's why I keep finding Candy Crush in me start menu
  • If this is the biggest problem with Windows 10, than MS has built a very solid OS :D
  • Spotify I can sort of understand. With the death of Groove, Spotify is the go-to music service Microsoft is encouraging, and enough people want music streaming for it to be about 50% justifiable. Disney Magic Kingdoms, though? What?
  • I think it's just MS trying to make people install apps from the store and drive up the installs number for existing ones. People obviously still aren't using the Store as much as MS wants and maybe that's why devs aren't in a hurry
  • You're right. It's not the biggest problem. It's not even amoungst the top 100 problems. Still,using the OS for promotional purposes and to shove advertisements in my face after I paid $200 for it is disgusting behaviour. This doesn't belong in anything labeled "professional".
  • Couldn't agree more. Great writeup.
  • I think the clean install should be minimal install and the apps you download as you want, and this includes mail photos maps etc.theres loads I don't use and can't delete.the candy crush etc is just anoying
  • kind of true, but at least we're not talking about software that ruin the starup, registry, setting that cannot be fuuly cleaned unisntalled... they're UWP just right click -> unisntall and EVERYTHING is cleaned
  • Seems obvious, Myerson either has been ordered or believes that they need to monetize to keep active development going. I bet they are always afraid the M (maintenance) word could be used to restructure the team. Its more desperation then anything.
  • I suppose it was a condition for those companies to even make an app for W10, cause let's be honest, it is sorta a wasteland in the store there.
  • Microsoft's problems with Windows 10 run much deeper than just this. In the past, management of Macs was a pain in the ***, but JAMF has changed that, and management of Macs is fairly decent. This might work for all enterprise grade scenarios ( but it works for many like IBM ), but importantly, it works for education scenarios. Is InTune free for education yet? Because if it isn't, it should be. I manage both Windows and Macs, but honestly at this rate, I expect Mac adoption to continuely increase while Windows adoption continues to decrease. The moment the iPad Pro came out, artists ditched any notion of a Surface for that device. Long story short, people ask for Apple devices still. iOS apps will run natively on Macs next version. Microsoft's hope is PWAs, but I don't know if it'll be enough. If PWAs don't work out, I think Windows has a bad future ahead of it. Also, my Edge browser crashes constantly. Having that work as seemlessly as Chrome or Firefox would be nice.
  • Just to be clear, if MS can't correct the trajectory of this ship, I'm not losing my job by not training for other platforms. Not going to become a Novell admin in the 90s.
  • I experienced this problem a few days ago when I reset my laptop and clean installed Windows 10. I did not have these bloatware apps before the clean install.
  • You know this was done to combat the app-gap.  Short memories, the lot of you.  They are contractually obligated to include these apps.  If they stop including them, those apps will disappear from the store. Period.  wah wah app-gap wah wah preinstalled apps pick your ditch. Fools. 
  • What a fickle community we are. No wonder MS doesn't know what consumer message to drive, the consumers have no idea what they want. Sinofsky tried to decide for us, like Apple and he was ousted and shamed for it.
  • MS kept pushing Windows 10 hard at the Enterprise, insisting that the upgrade from 7 or 8.1 to 10 would be easy, and far more user-friendly and manageable. I like Windows 10 overall, but it's not really more manageable, as the Control Center is steadily deprecated.  And now, I have 45 PCs in the office with all this preinstalled BS eating away at bandwidth.  On the Pro versions, I shouldn't have to consider that I might have 45 weather apps checking for updates every 5 minutes and eating bandwidth, both on the LAN and WAN.  I shouldn't have to deal with users playing Candy Crush instead of working.  I shouldn't have to be burdened with finding ways to diable or unistall all this BS.  AT EVERY MAJOR VERSION UPDATE.
    It's just a way for MS to annoy buisness owners and IT staff, and force business to move up to the (very costly) Enterprise version, even when most SMBs do not remotely need the additional features that you get when paying for Enterpise.  Instead of creating a true value proposition for their more expensive product, they turn their functional but lower-priced product into an app ghetto dumping ground.
  • You're pretty bad at your job if you haven't figured this out.
    Why aren't you updating from your own WSUS or through System Center?
    Why are you not setting group policies to prevent these things from installing as this article clearly states? Why are you still employed there?
  • How have you remained employed at your company?  Haven't you ever heard of GPO's, System Center etc etc?  Your users & company are receiving a lousy expereience because you don't know what you are doing.
  • Enterprise version also comes bundled with crap. If you do end up going for Enterprise though, get the LTSB.
  • Nice of them to assume everyone has unlimited reliable high-speed internet.
  • My internet provider currently offers 250Mbps connections for 10$ a month, so I wouldn't worry. We do have cheap internet connections compared to other european countries. Also normal users can just uninstall what they don't want on their pc. If people used and downloaded store apps more, this wouldn't happen
  • Couldn't agree more. I mean its called "clean install" ffs.
  • I haven't done a clean install in a while but I don't think those apps are actually installed since you are redirected to the store to download the said apps. But as I had said it's been a while since I did a clean installation of windows. At least you can delete them.
  • I bought a tablet that I had to reset 3 times to get to work right, I had to delete these apps 3 times. I'm sure Candy Crush (King) is paying them to install this but it's not worth it if the users are not happy about it.
  • I don't think it is about them paying, I think it was a condition for them to build for Windows. I think that is a fair tradeoff.
  • I've never realized it since I've never used the (ugly) tiles.
  • It isn't just the tiles, it is in the start menu as well.
  • Agreed entirely
  • I agree with this article.
  • Okay, when I had these tiles up, they were only ads taking me to the store to actually download them. They have never got to be installed by default.
  • I don't know if uninstalling 6 apps is as much of a big deal as you've made it. Just a couple right clicks and you're good to go. It's not changing your registry or causing your computer to run poorly.
  • Ya, its hard to take the article seriously, especially since he defends Paint and Mail.  I'm sure to others those apps are bloatware too.  Plenty of people said Windows shouldn't have come with IE back in the day.
  • The problem is, it keeps coming back after you uninstall them. More crap gets installed randomly. Like Duolingo, Power BI and Adobe Photoshop Express. What I do is create a script to run powershell: Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers | Remove-AppxPackage and set gp policy: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\WindowsStore, AutoDownload = always off.
  • How come it did not keep coming back for me? I just right clicked and uninstalled all these apps. Rebooted multiple times. Went to the store, pressed "Get Update" and nothing happened. I also did not get Duolingo, Power BI or Adobe Photoshop automatically installed ever. So how did you get these apps to come back automatically?
  • Because you waited for them to install and then removed them. It's exactly like zac says. If you try to remove them before they are fully installed and updated, they'll keep comming back.
  • Hear hear!
  • I have a laptop with no touchscreen so when I upgraded to Windows 10 I completely disabled all the tile menu and uninstalled some of the apps. I may be wrong buy I think that there should be a shortcut script in powershell to do this with a simple command
  • Get-AppXPackage -PackageName "*app*" | Remove-AppXPackage Something like that.  IDK cuz I'm not on a Win10 system now.
  • Meh. I feel like I clean install more often than only the most avid tinkerers, and I've never thought it was a big deal. If they couldn't easily be uninstalled, it would be different. Yeah, in a perfect world they wouldn't be there, but I just can't get worked up over the very short time it takes to get rid of them.
  • I am with you, this garbage isn't needed or wanted.  Hell even in Enterprise this crap shows up and the current IT is too lazy to create the scripts to remove the garabge.
  • Actually windows should install Apps-that-you-want automatically, even from separate web sites and not just store based on preferences. If to install apps supported by OS like spotify, if that app microsoft miss in OS for better experience, they should either do not install it again or give suggestion of alternative at max. Its not something W10 cannot run without, its pretty ''funny'' otherwise that they act like that.
  • Everybody does this nonsense. Setup a new Android phone and get ready to puke. I am glad that Windows allows to easily uninstall this junk.
  • It's acceptable to me when everyone else is doing it.  It's not acceptable to me when Microsoft does it.  I'm the consumer.  I pay for these products.  I have final say in who's allowed to do what.  Stopped using all MS products a good 10 years ago (except for Hotmail..)   I can't stand Microsoft.
  • I hate this so much that I made a system image of a clean install right after I uninstalled all of the bloat. Now I use that to do clean installs.
  • I absolutely have to agree with everybody. I appreciate that Microsoft brings popular apps to its platforms, but they have to learn to respect those who don't like these apps automatically installed and slowing down their PC's performance. The signature experience they put on every PC they sell in their retail stores should be part of the standard Windows install experience. This isn't Android, after all.
  • These are yep apps.they don't run in the background and they don't effect performance. They are also easily uninstalled without leaving files and registry entries like the windows 7 bloatware. This is more of a nuisance than a problem.
  • Exactly. Nadella talked a few years ago of wanting people to 'love' Windows again. This sort of rubbish does the exact opposite, and may drive people to the competition. There's really no need for any of it, or are they that desperate for more money? The fact that unless you do it right, these unwanted Apps would then reinstall themselves is infuriating. Like Zac says...it needs to stop.
  • This article should really just be a single paragraph.  Each subsequent paragraph is just a repeat.
  • Really, chaps. Is this site becoming a third grade writing competition? Just uninstall them, Zac.
  • Willingly ignoring this allows a more alarming precedent to be set - unremovable bloatware like android where on some tablets and phones you have to root the tablet or phone just to remove them.
  • Do these apps work? I ask because the Windows Central UWP desktop app won't allow me to comment. And the W10M app spin locks while updating content causing A N N O Y I N G L Y long periods of pausing. I reluctantly uninstalled both, b/c it looks like the app is being/has been abandoned on the Windows 10 platform.
  • Reason #17 why I am avoiding Windows 10.  
  • Your bad, the good stuff greatly outnumbers a couple of negatives.
  • This is definitely annoying. Just got a Razer Blade Stealth last week and sure enough on the first day I had Candy Crush, some other game freemium games and Spotify. The only thing I kept was Spotify since I actually use it. But this should not be happening even on new devices that typically would not have any form of bloatware.
  • I agree BUT Windows Central, what about the serious pop-under ads I get that appear when trying to read this article? It completely ruined my experience on the page!
  • I don't really mind.
  • On the other hand, Sketchbook is great. Like truly GREAT. It makes my Surface Book 2 a true creativity tool. So while I understand the annoyance at programs not of your choosing being installed, it should just be remembered that they're not all by definition bad software.
  • Those apps aren't actually "installed", you have to tap/click on them and they install before launching. You can get rid of them by right clicking and selecting uninstall.
  • I agree and also allow us to uninstall other apps easly without the need for text commands or thrid party sofdtware.  
  • I am hoping this is not a misguided monetisation method driven by the want of short term profit growth. Because if it is then it's one alarming precedent especially the store auto installing the bloatware when cancelled as it's one step away from a complete uninstall lock out. Like android where you have to root the tablet or phone just to get rid of them. Microsoft better stop this practise if they don't want to burn any more bridges especially enterprise users.  
  • With windows surface mobile devices due in a couple of years (not for us mere mortals as they keep reminding us, solely aimed at business users. but im calling bs on that) i wonder are they setting 10 up for cell provider bloatware?
  • this is what happens when your computer belong to microsoft, they do whatever they want.
    And there are a bunch of sheeps defending these tactics, jaja, I suppose they work for microsoft so everything's right. I will install Linux, people say now is easy to install and works great! Let's try.
  • I think it's a decent way to let people know there is an MS store... as aren't they kinda just short cuts ? if not, I think most people don't venture to the store much, just don't know it's there... these apps are gateways.
  • They are not gateways at all, they are full blown apps. I was not interested in Cnady Crush when it became the thing to play a few years back, so I am certainly not interested in it now or Minecraft for that matter.   
  • Great article. Thanks.
  • "bloatware" I agree with the article, although a couple of the Apps kind of make sense; however, technically they are not 'bloatware' in traditional terms. Bloatware implies products that are always running and that consume system resources, aka RAM, CPU.  An argument could be made for the MBs of HD space they consume, but it is pretty small and not going to affect any user.  PS If you are installing Windows 10 'frequently', you probably should take a few minutes and just create a custom installation, then you can remove these Apps and also setup other preferences you like.  
  • Apps that do this immediately land on my sh** list. It feels gross and invasive.
  • Microsoft has simply invalidated the "Signature Edition" brand. We also can no longer blame OEMs for bundling crap, since it's now clear that it's something Microsoft embraces and does themselves. I wonder if it's something to do with Microsoft begging developers to use the store: "Oh please develop an inferior version of your app and put it on the store, we'll even force it onto everybody for you, wouldn't that be great?". Give it 1-2 years and that stuff will be un-uninstallable. And the worst thing of all, all this candy crush crap is bundled with ENTERPRISE EDITIONS AS WELL!!! Are they insane? This, as well as the fact that UWP apps are very unstable, crash and break often, prompting you to re-install them via a Windows Store, which also crashes on start-up, or gives you an error, is the reason my workplace has now opted for Windows 10 LTSB. It has no Edge, no Microsoft store, nor any UWP crap at all. It still uses classic accessories like calc.exe that will not break randomly, requiring you to play with PowerShell for hours. The only updates it receives are security patches.
  • Strange, when I create my own Windows installer disks and I skip the "ModernApps" packages, I cannot see such applications on clean install
  • I totally agree. Windows acts like malware. This was the last time i installed windows on my private machine outside a virtual machine. Its a ******* joke what they do to us. Hallo Linux
  • So all of you complain, but NONE of the messages I read had a link to upvote in feedback hub.
    Feedback Hub is Microsoft's new go-to tools, for guaging consumer opinions, and especially if you want them to change something.
    So use it, like Jez from Windows Central did, don't just write about the issue. Invite to action! Feedback Hub link here: https://aka.ms/Ookkyi
  • And here is a piece of feedback in the feedback hub with nearly 2000 upvotes asking MS to stop pre loading Candy Crush. "We've got it" status, no other response given.
    https://aka.ms/AA24it3 Or this one with over 3000 up votes, submitted at least a year ago, still getting more upvotes as of today - "We've got it" status, no other response given.
    https://aka.ms/AA20pbe