Wednesday, 20 October 2021 11:41

Windows 10 21H2 Built-In Apps: What to Keep

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The development of the Windows 10, version 21H2 is finished and the update will soon be available for download from Visual Studio Subscriptions and the Software Download Center - as well as through Windows Server Update Services  and Windows Update for Business. I can't stress it enough that you should start testing the newest features and functionality in this Semi-Annual Channel release as soon as possible in preparation for broad deployment to the devices in your organization. As part of this process, you should take a look at provisioned apps - most likely you want to ensure that only a choice selection of apps is being installed, whenever a user logs on either for the first time or after installing a feature update on a Windows 10 computer, since app installation directly impacts logon times.

There are a few changes to the provisioned apps in Windows 10, version 21H2 compared to the last list I put together way back in 2019, so it time to don the latex gloves and reach for the KY in order to carry out yet another thorough examination of the removable apps. First of all, the main problem with removable provisioned apps, the delightful ability to remove system apps, is that sometimes this can go too far and break supportability. Following the proud tradition of Microsoft.WindowsStore being marked as removable (i.e. SignatureKind equals Store), you can now attempt to remove Microsoft.VCLibs.140.00 (i.e. C++ Runtime framework package which allows applications to reference the C++ runtime from desktop applications distributed through the Microsoft Store). Additionally, starting with Windows 10, version 2004, Microsoft has separated Cortana personal assistant from the underlying operating system and includes it as an inbox app Microsoft.549981C3F5F10. For more information on Cortana related enhancements and to learn about additional updates, see the Microsoft 365 Blog. As a side note, Microsoft.Print3D app has been deprecated and removed. Going forward, 3D Builder is the recommended 3D printing app. Finally, Microsoft.Messaging and Microsoft.OneConnect - while still supported - are now distributed in a different way. OEMs can now include these apps in Windows images for cellular enabled devices. These apps are removed for non-cellular devices.

Below is a list of applications which are flagged as removable in Windows 10, version 21H2 - color coded from Enterprise client standpoint for your convenience.

Please be aware, that the decision which applications should be removed can be tricky and very dependent on your usage scenario. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution and there are many tradeoffs to consider. Consider the list below - based on my interactions with various customers - as food for thought.

  • Microsoft.549981C3F5F10
  • Microsoft.BingWeather
  • Microsoft.DesktopAppInstaller
  • Microsoft.GetHelp
  • Microsoft.Getstarted
  • Microsoft.HEIFImageExtension
  • Microsoft.Microsoft3DViewer
  • Microsoft.MicrosoftOfficeHub
  • Microsoft.MicrosoftSolitaireCollection
  • Microsoft.MicrosoftStickyNotes
  • Microsoft.MixedReality.Portal
  • Microsoft.MSPaint
  • Microsoft.Office.OneNote
  • Microsoft.People
  • Microsoft.SkypeApp
  • Microsoft.ScreenSketch
  • Microsoft.VCLibs.140.00
  • Microsoft.StorePurchaseApp
  • Microsoft.VP9VideoExtensions
  • Microsoft.Wallet
  • Microsoft.WebMediaExtensions
  • Microsoft.WebpImageExtension
  • Microsoft.Windows.Photos
  • Microsoft.WindowsAlarms
  • Microsoft.WindowsCalculator
  • Microsoft.WindowsCamera
  • microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps
  • Microsoft.WindowsFeedbackHub
  • Microsoft.WindowsMaps
  • Microsoft.WindowsSoundRecorder
  • Microsoft.WindowsStore
  • Microsoft.XboxApp
  • Microsoft.Xbox.TCUI
  • Microsoft.XboxGameOverlay
  • Microsoft.XboxGamingOverlay
  • Microsoft.XboxIdentityProvider
  • Microsoft.XboxSpeechToTextOverlay
  • Microsoft.YourPhone
  • Microsoft.ZuneMusic
  • Microsoft.ZuneVideo

Explanation:

  • Green: "Keep"
  • Gold: "Consider keeping in order to ensure full Windows 10 functionality"
  • Red: "Consider removing in an Enterprise scenario".

Important: Do not remove DesktopAppInstaller, StorePurchaseApp and WindowsStore apps for supportability reasons. Office.OneNote is now recommended for removal following the announcement to introduce a unified OneNote experience going forward. Unfortunately, I do not know if removing the "new" Cortana experience will impact your supportability.

Additional considerations: In a multi-language image you may experience issues localizing built-in apps. See my blog for additional details.

Read 2055 times Last modified on Wednesday, 20 October 2021 12:26
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