Is your laptop gummed up with useless apps? You’re just a few clicks away from a faster PC! Microsoft and third-party companies cram your computer with a truck-load of bloatware and plain old crapware. Why? Because if you use them—they stand to profit. So, making them easy to uninstall isn’t in their best interest. Most obnoxious apps and programs bundled with Windows 10 don’t take much space. But they’re a menace to productivity. If you’re as compelled as we are to delete useless apps from your machine, we’ve curated 12 highly effective methods for shredding apps like a ninja.
(We DO NOT receive a commission for any of the links on this page.)
Delete Useless Apps
Before we begin the crusade for a cleaner PC, don’t be hasty like we were. Think about how the apps you want to eliminate relate to the ones you want to use:
For instance, deleting Bing News might cripple Cortana’s ability to bring you stories. Deleting an app like Alarms and Clock might damage the digital assistant’s ability to set reminders.
Think before you uninstall.
You’ll be grateful for exhibiting the foresight to create a recovery point if something goes wrong. We recommend that you take this time to do so right now.
Go to: Control Panel > Recovery > Configure System Restore > System Protection tab > and Create. Or, you can even create a full backup of your PC like this.
NOTE: Some apps like Cortana, Edge browser, Camera, Photos, Contact Support, and Feedback cannot and should not be removed.
1. Settings App
The ability to uninstall the apps you don’t want is an essential feature that comes with almost all operating systems.
After deciding which Windows 10 apps to uninstall, by far the easiest way we’ve found to eliminate them is the traditional uninstall method.
The Settings app is Windows’ very own built-in uninstaller.
It’s uncomplicated to use and works easily for several apps, including: Money, News, and Sports. It also uninstalls Windows Store apps (which are added with forced Windows updates) like 3D Builder, Photos and Mail.
The Settings app is our #1 go to method for freeing PCs from the oppression of pointless apps. We love how quickly you can uninstall modern apps from the Microsoft Store and classic desktop applications. (It also works like gangbusters to remove Windows 10 bloatware and similar apps.)
The thing to remember is that Windows 10 also includes inbox apps like: Mail, Calendar, Xbox, Camera, Maps, Movies & TV, Calculator, Paint 3D, Snip & Sketch, Voice Recorder and the like which are deeply baked into the OS–The ones Microsoft considers part of the core Windows 10 experience have the uninstall option purposely grayed out.
Add to this the fact that not all programs show up in the Programs and Features Control Panel. Use the Settings app as the first line of defense for removing irritating apps. But, what do you do once you’ve exhausted all normal avenues for removing unwanted apps from your PC?
You’ll just need more oomph to get rid of them.
Let’s get aggressive.
2. Windows 10 Powershell
This is the secret to uninstalling apps that only insiders know. Despite the graphical nature of Windows, Command Line offers the kind of power and flexibility that just can’t be achieved with a point-and-click interface.
We’ve discovered that when applications simply won’t budge with a click of the mouse, the one-two punch of PowerShell along with the use of some specific commands rightly does the trick.
On the surface, Command Prompt and PowerShell look undistinguishable. But in practice, the tools are vastly different.
PowerShell (formerly: Monad) is a free open-source project that can be installed on Windows, MacOS and Linux platforms. It allows you to use a series of commands and scripts to hide or delete bundles of unnecessary apps taking up precious storage space – individually or simultaneously.
But the most important feature of PowerShell for your situation is PackageManagement. Formerly OneGet, PackageManagement lets you browse packages instead of hopping from website to website.
You can uninstall Windows 10 apps with PowerShell, even the ones that don’t offer an “Uninstall” option! It’s a convenient way to manage all the apps you download, install, and delete. And it offers more for power users, like: the ability to create commands and scripts using C# programming language for remote execution tasks; background tasks; task automation; command piping and more. You can use commands to remove and reinstall an app to fix a specific problem.
Cutting unwelcome apps with PowerShell is a straight-forward process. But it’s not that efficient since any user can reinstall an app at any time with a few commands. And, important built-in apps like Cortana, Contact Support, Microsoft Edge, and Windows Feedback won’t budge. Even if you try to delete them, an error message will let you know that they can’t be removed. Of course, you could always find ways to uninstall apps like these. But this will likely cause more harm than good.
PowerShell has a bit of a learning curve–it requires some fiddling to get right. Don’t expect to understand how to use it immediately.
3. DISM PowerShell Script
Standard commands in PowerShell do a good job of hiding vexing apps with the obvious advantage of obscuring them from view without the commitment of deleting anything from your PC.
The problem is: You or any user of the system can easily relocate any app at any time with just a few commands.
Depending on your situation, to truly expel an undesired app from your system requires the might of a little-known command tool known as DISM.
Deployment Imaging Service and Management is a different command tool that allows you to remove all built-in apps from the Windows image itself.
These apps will never appear again and won’t let you restore them using commands (even if you create a new account or log into your PC via another account).
Be Forewarned: running a DISM script/command is powerful stuff. Not only will it completely “obliterate” the loathsome app from your account. It’s a PowerShell script that completely removes Windows 10 apps for all users on your PC – be careful.
The glaring caveat for using this tool to erase unnecessary Windows 10 programs is you better be 100% convinced you no longer want them and can’t foresee any need for them in the future.
Use DISM commands to eradicate irrelevant apps completely from your system. But only if your positive you and other users will never need them again.
4. Windows10Debloater PowerShell Script
Now that you’re familiar with the more rudimentary ways to remove apps using your PC’s built-in programs. Let’s shift our attention to uninstallers you can download onto your PC to delete useless apps.
After learning what the DISM PowerShell script can do for deleting apps, you might be wondering, what could be more powerful than that?
Windows10Debloater is a free collection of PowerShell Windows 10 bloatware removal scripts developed by Sycnex.
It automates the DISM process to remove almost every additional Windows 10 package from the operating system.
Since the program will remove certain apps, components and tasks, and makes changes to the Windows Registry. Creating a system backup before you run Windows10Debloater is highly recommended.
But here’s a catch-22 situation for you: Ideally, you want to use Windows10Debloater right after a Windows 10 installation. But script execution is blocked by Windows 10 by default. So, you won’t be able to run the Windows10Debloater scripts on a regular Windows 10 installation.
The author of the scripts lists several methods for executing the scripts on the GitHub page. There are 3 scripts that (at first blush) seem to do the same thing. The difference is in the level of control you get once you choose one to run on your PC.
Windows10Debloater is a specialized tool designed to remove the components and features of an app from Windows 10. It goes one step further than the DISM PowerShell script to eliminate associated Windows Registry entries after the app gets axed. And since it’s a PowerShell script, customization is easy.
Since this script removes all Windows 10 apps and associated features for all users, (including apps you might find useful, like TuneInRadio, PowerBI, and the Windows Netflix app). Keeping the one you like will require re-enabling and reinstallation after running the script. Or you could manually remove the apps you don’t want. Either way will be time consuming.
Use Windows10Debloater when you’re not sure where to get PowerShell scripts for Windows 10. And only if you’re super comfortable running commands on your PC.
We know, we know. Downloading one app to get rid of another makes about as much sense as sending a mouse to catch a cricket. Then sending a snake to catch the mouse.
But if it works…
One of the easiest programs we’ve found to delete useless apps cluttering up the Start menu in Windows 10 is to use the 10AppsManager.
Developed by The Windows Club, it’s a program like the Windows 10 App Remover, which was developed by Jonah McPartlin.
Just like Windows 10 App Remover, 10AppsManager is a portable executable, which means you can run it from a USB flash drive.
It’s freeware that removes Windows 10 apps quickly and quietly with a simple, clean interface. Default applications display on start. And all it takes to rid yourself of vexing apps is to click on the offender.
Eliminating apps using 10AppsManager is easy. We’re convinced that once you try it, it’ll be the one killer tool you’ll ever need to delete useless apps. There’s even a prompt that requires your confirmation before the app is uninstalled completely to avoid mistakes. Then you won’t be able to find it in the Start menu. And get this–the program also lets you restore an app if you decide you need it after all!
The problem we see is that this can become mundane: you must repeat this process over and over again for each app you want to delete (imagine doing that for 15 apps). Plus, there are few options. For instance, there’s no help or support. And though you can reinstall apps, doing so requires running PowerShell commands.
Use 10AppsManager to vanquish an overabundance of apps without any hubbub. For deleting more than a handful, we have another app removal method in mind.
6. Microsoft Program Install and Uninstall Troubleshooter
When a suborn app refuses your eviction notice, this may be the result of a broken Registry key. Formerly called “Fix It”, Microsoft Program Install and Uninstall Troubleshooteris a hidden gem of a tool. It addresses a lot of common issues preventing an app from uninstalling correctly with a diagnosis.
Like a good physician, Troubleshooter fixes other problems too, like:
- Corrupted registry keys on 64-bit operating systems.
- Corrupted registry keys that control the update data.
- Problems preventing new programs from installation.
- Issues preventing existing programs from completely uninstalling or updating.
- Complications blocking the uninstallation of a program through Add or Remove Programs (or the Programs and Features method) in control panel.
It’s part of Microsoft’s larger collection of “fix-it utilities”. But surprisingly, it’s not part of the universal Fix-it Center toolkit. In fact, finding out about it is like knowing a Wall Street insider in order to get the juiciest stock tips.
Now that you’ve got the insider information, you’ll need to download the program separately from Microsoft. Then run it and follow the prompts to uninstall an app.
The Microsoft Program Install and Uninstall Troubleshooter isn’t a third-party program. It’s compatible with Windows 10 and earlier versions of Windows up to Windows 7.
Part of what adds to its exclusivity is that Vista users are left out in the cold. Troubleshooter works easily enough. But it’s worth noting that you can only remove classic desktop apps. And it can’t be used for un-seating built-in apps or apps installed from Store in Windows 10.
Use Microsoft Program Install and Uninstall Troubleshooter when you want to abolish determined apps while remaining safe within the Microsoft ecosystem.
7. Revo Uninstaller Free
Revo Uninstaller Free is a handy freebie that offers basic features for finding and removing irksome apps. There’s even a portable version for USB drives so you can run it on any PC without installation.
It does a thorough cleanup of unwanted apps by automatically hunting leftover Registry entries and program files to ensure nothing is leftover.
Don’t know about you, but we’ve had the situation where we found a piece of crapware and agonized over whether to remove it.
Revo eliminates all that guess-work by tapping into the collective wisdom of other users: apps are color coded according to the percentage of users that have removed them (the ones in red are the most uninstalled).
What we like most about Revo Uninstaller is that 1) the Force Uninstall feature goes one step further than most app uninstallers to remove leftover files after a classic uninstall. 2) Multiple uninstall features remove several programs simultaneously. And 3) it creates a system restore point before each removal. You even get the option of creating a full registry backup before deleting an application. Plus, the free version comes with Hunter mode to remove an app even if it’s not in the apps list.
Coming up with a list of negatives for this impressive tool is challenging. But if we had to nitpick–you need to download the Pro Version to remove leftover services, drivers, file associations, shell extensions, etc. And you need a program like Autorun Manager to organize startup applications (more about Autorun Manger below).
Use Revo Uninstaller to quickly search and uninstall Windows applications along with any old files it may have created from your PC when terminating apps the normal way isn’t an available option.
8. IOBit Uninstaller Free
A direct competitor to Revo is IOBit Uninstaller Free.
When apps can’t be uninstalled normally, IOBit is a dead-shot.
It’s a free, lightweight, portable alternative to most downloadable uninstallers. The program comes with a batch of uninstall features to help you easily and securely dispatch unwanted Windows apps.
It hunts every piece of the app and terminates them leaving no useless junk files behind so you’re left with a clean and secure PC.
Use it in Standard mode for basic uninstalls, or Advanced mode to look for leftover Registry entries and files to ensure the bothersome app is completely ejected from your PC.
Forced Uninstall and Easy Uninstallare two worthwhile features ready to further enhance the uninstallation process depending on your specific situation.
What we love about this tool is that it ousts apps that don’t come with an uninstaller. Or that can’t be found in Windows’ Programs and Features. For headstrong apps like these, a tidbit we found helpful is to click Forced Uninstall to select the app file after a deep scan. IObit will then find the Registry entries and files needed to remove the app.
Obviously, there’s much to like about IObit Uninstaller. But setbacks include that other programs might ask to be installed during setup. And the free version only alerts you about pieces of bundleware without giving you the power to remove them.
If Revo Uninstaller Free doesn’t work. Use IObit Uninstaller for rude apps that don’t come with their own uninstall feature.
9. Geek Uninstaller
Geek Uninstaller is a completely free uninstaller that’s popular for its ability to completely evict apps from the Windows OS without much fuss.
And unlike many app uninstallers, it’s completely portable so you don’t have to download it on your PC.
The file size is less than 10 MB!
It can forcibly uninstall corrupt apps and software that aren’t uninstalling properly in Windows 7-10, including Windows Vista, Windows XP and most Windows Server versions!
The View menu gives you the flexibility of switching between uninstalling desktop apps and Windows store apps. Right-click on any app from the list to view it in the Registry Editor, open its installation folder, and search the Internet for more information about the app.
We love that the simple user interface makes it relatively easy for anyone to use. The export feature generates an HTML file that’s formatted in a way that’s easy to read. It includes everything you need to know about the app you want to delete including: the name, size, install date as well as total hard drive space used by all the apps on your PC. And Geek Uninstaller updates often with new versions.
While it’s a wonderful tool you’ll be positively buzzing to have work for you. The downside is some features like batch uninstall only function in the professional version. And it doesn’t create a restore point before removing a program.
Use Geek Uninstaller when the situation calls for forcibly removing an app. You’ll likely be able to do so with as little fanfare as possible.
10. Wise Registry Cleaner Free
It’s time to get in there with a switchblade.
The following tools are designed to help you delete useless apps manually when encountering specific problems that prevent you from uninstalling an app with its own uninstaller.
Certain registry entries are left once you uninstall an app or program from your PC.
Wise Registry Cleaner scans your registry and removes leftovers and obsolete entries then deletes them.
But cleaning your registry isn’t a simple task: Removing certain entries can cause other problems with your current installation of Windows 10.
Wise Registry Cleaner not only gives you the option of Safe and Deep scans, you can even add exclusions. It also supports automatic cleaning, so you can easily schedule the next cleaning session for routine system maintenance.
We love Wise Registry Cleaner for its ability to automatically backs up your Registry before cleaning it. This way if an issue appears after cleaning, you can easily restore it by using the tool.
Yes, the tool is free to use. But for tasks like simply scanning and fixing the Registry of other users on your own computer, you’ll need to purchase a license.
WARNING: Only employ Wise Registry Cleaner if you know what you’re doing.
Autoruns (developed by: SystInternals) was recently acquired by Microsoft.
This eagle-eyed program is invaluable to your software toolkit for tracking and controlling apps (and their components) that start automatically with Windows.
Autoruns proves handy for hunting down any startup items an app you removed has lurking behind. In general, it helps you see what’s set to start with your PC.
Autoruns is a standalone utility, which means it doesn’t need to be installed on your PC. This makes it ideal for adding to your collection of portable fix-it programs on your thumb drive.
This solution is best for advanced users.
12. File Governor
Using File Governor should be your absolute last hope.
It can delete just about any app or file.
Some apps won’t uninstall simply because other files are in use. When this happens, reboot your PC and try again. Or look for a Notification icon to shut the app down.
If this should fail, right-click the Taskbar and select Task Manager > then the Processes tab. Locate the app’s process, select it and click End Task.
Then try again to remove the app.
If that doesn’t work, send in File Governor.
Ready to declare war on tedious apps? You’ve put up with the tyranny of worthless new-fangled apps long enough. Many of them you’ve never used since your PC was new. Some are outdated. And others are downright malicious or dangerous. Yet there they are, stingily clogging up your hard drive and stealing resources from the apps and programs you actually need even at this moment. But no more. Don’t learn to live with pernicious apps robbing your computer of the efficiency you need for time-sensitive tasks that need your immediate attention. You now have 12 different methods for deleting useless apps from your PC.