Removing bloatware from a new PC is a rite of passage for most Windows users whenever they get a new machine. And for years, desktop users have turned to third-party programs such as PC Decrapifier to automate bloatware removal.
But removing all those pre-installed “Metro” apps in Windows 8 hasn’t been so easy, and boy, does Microsoft pre-install a lot of them. (Around 20 in the Windows 8.1 Update, if you’re counting.) For the most part, the only option was to go through each modern app one-by-one, right-clicking the ones you didn’t want, and then selecting “uninstall”—not too difficult, but very manual.
A new, free program aims to change all that. Called Windows 8 App Remover, this desktop program automates the process of uninstalling modern UI apps by letting you remove them all at once with just a few clicks, kind of like a Live Tile-hating version of PC Decrapifier.
Although pre-installed modern apps are less offensive than typical desktop crapware, there are still good reasons to dump the ones you don’t use. Beyond the hard drive savings, removed apps mean fewer updates from the Windows Store, and erasing apps makes it a lot easier to organize the Start screen or cut down on clutter in the All Apps view.
From the drop-down menu, select your version of Windows 8. You have three choices: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows 8.1.1 (choose this last option if you installed the spring update for Windows 8.1 that puts the Windows Store app on your taskbar).
Next, click the List Apps button.
You should now see a list of all the Windows 8 apps installed on your PC, with checkboxes that are no longer greyed out.
Now, all you have to is select the checkbox next to the apps you don’t want and then click the Remove Apps button.
Next, you’ll see a final warning window that lets you know what you are about to do can’t be undone. If you’re sure you want to remove the apps click Yes.
After a few seconds, the apps you selected will be greyed out, meaning they’re gone from your system.
You could also remove all the standard issue apps by clicking the Select All button and then clicking RemoveApps—but while this is a tempting feature, you’ll want to be careful. Selecting to remove Communication, for example, means dumping Calendar, Mail, and People, which come packaged together from the Windows Store. Since those apps are handy, and require some configuration, you may not want to lose them.
Also, keep in mind that the Start menu is set to return to Windows 8.1—possibly as soon as August. When the Start menu does come back it will include the ability to display some at-a-glance data from modern apps such as local weather and calendar appointments. So some modern apps may be worth keeping even if you don’t use them right now.
That said, if you ever want any of your deleted modern apps back, they are always available for download from the Windows Store.
Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn't like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he's not covering the news he's working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.