What you need to know
- The HP Smart app is being automatically installed onto Windows PCs through the Microsoft store without permission, according to several users.
- Windows 11 and Windows 10 PCs appear to be affected, including those made by Dell and Lenovo.
- The HP Smart app allows you to print, scan, and share files by using HP Smart and an HP Printer.
An app has mysteriously installed itself onto several PCs, according to users on Reddit. Curiously, the HP Smart app is seemingly being installed on devices without any connection to HP. Several users shared that the HP Smart app had been installed automatically on Dell and Lenovo PCs. Those computers had the HP Smart app installed despite not having an HP printer or other HP device connected.
A Reddit post by user Zeuserlios1283 explained the odd occurrence:
"I made clean Windows 11 install, and the app named "HP Smart" just appeared," said the poster.
"I don't even have a printer. I thought there is a printer connecting to my network, when i open the app and scan for the printers in my network it found nothing. I tried 2 times clean install and it keeps coming up. Is this malware or something?"
They were eventually able to rid their PC of the HP Smart app after performing three clean installs. I'm not sure why the user felt the need to clean install their system three times when uninstalling the app would have accomplished the same thing.
A separate post in the WindowsHelp subreddit outlines a similar problem affecting Windows 10 PCs.
The behavior is rather curious, especially given that it seems to affect a wide range of PC setups and users.
The HP Smart app is a genuine app from HP designed to help print and scan documents and share files using HP Smart. But being genuine doesn't mean people want the app to randomly appear on their PC.
We'll have to wait to see an explanation from Microsoft regarding the HP Smart app installing on PCs automatically.
Windows 11 without bloat
Microsoft has been criticized for shipping bloat in Windows for years. Bloat is a bit difficult to define, however. For example, is Microsoft Edge bloat? It's hard to believe that Microsoft should ship a PC without a browser of some kind. But after installing another browser, some would consider Edge bloat and want to install it.
The Digital Markets Act seems to have taken the stance that Windows users need to be able to uninstall more applications from PCs. The legislation will require Microsoft to let some users uninstall Microsoft Edge, disable Bing in Windows Search, and turn off the Microsoft News feed and ads in the Widgets Board.
Microsoft has increased how many system apps can be uninstalled over the past few years. File Explorer and Phone Link are on the short list of system apps that cannot be removed from Windows.
Circling back to the HP Smart app, people just want to have control over what's on their PC. Hopefully, Microsoft will determine why the app is installing automatically and fix the issue.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.