Avoid Windows 10 crapware: How to get rid of Candy Crush and all the rest
If you've installed a fresh copy of Windows 10 Pro lately, you've probably been unpleasantly surprised by the decidedly un-businesslike games and consumer apps splattered on the Start screen. Here are two ways to avoid installing Candy Crush and its companions in the first place.
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When you install Windows 10 Pro on a new PC and sign in with a local account or a Microsoft account, you get access to all the professional features that you'd expect from a business-class PC operating system.
You also get some unexpected apps splattered onto your Start menu whether you want them or not, including Candy Crush Soda Saga, Bubble Witch 3 Saga, and March of Empires.
Don't say that they didn't warn you. In every quarterly and annual report since mid-2015, Microsoft has reminded shareholders and customers that its business plan for Windows 10 includes "new post-license monetization opportunities beyond initial license revenues."
All of those apps can be uninstalled fairly easily, of course. Because they're Store apps, they can't install performance-damaging system files or run processes at startup. Aside from consuming a few megabytes of storage, these preinstalled apps don't even have a trivial impact on system performance.
But it's still annoying that those decidedly un-businesslike game icons have to be removed manually after you've paid a $100 upcharge for Windows 10 Pro.
So how do you avoid having that assortment of apps installed in the first place? Two options are fully supported; not surprisingly, each assumes that you're paying Microsoft for an additional business product or service.
Option 1: Install Windows 10 Enterprise and sign in with any account type. If you don't have a Windows Volume License subscription, you can pay $7 per month for an E3 subscription.
Option 2: Install Windows 10 Pro and sign in using either Active Directory credentials on a Windows domain or Azure Active Directory credentials, such as those associated with an Office 365 Business or Enterprise subscription.
Using either of those options results in a different set of additional apps being installed.
There is, of course, a theoretical anti-crapware argument that some have with any additional apps being installed as part of setting up a new account. But this assortment, at least, feels like it has more of an emphasis on productivity.
Of the eight apps, three were developed by Microsoft and are free: Remote Desktop, Bing Translator, and Office Sway. The others are a grab bag of utilities and productivity tools: Adobe Photoshop Express; Network Speed Test; Eclipse Manager, a free project tracker that offers a $1.99 a month Eclipse Pro subscription; Code Writer, a free text and code editor (shown below); and the language learning tool Duolingo.
If you have an older Windows 10 version than 1803, you might see Power BI (another Microsoft product) or Pandora.
As with the consumer-focused apps, you can uninstall or hide these extra apps with just a few clicks: Scroll through the Apps list on the Start menu until you find the icon of the unwanted app, and then right-click that icon and click Uninstall.
Of course, if you're deploying Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise in a large organization, you have access to specialized tools that let you build a custom image with only the apps you want your users to have. Those without a crew of IT overlords will just have to stay on the lookout for new crapware variants.
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