Why can’t I uninstall Microsoft Store Apps?

Microsoft Store apps, also known as Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, are designed to provide a consistent and reliable experience across all devices running Windows 10. Unlike traditional desktop programs, Microsoft Store apps are deeply integrated into the Windows 10 operating system.

The Nature of Microsoft Store Apps

When you install an app from the Microsoft Store, it is automatically updated by Windows Update along with the operating system. Microsoft Store apps share common frameworks and services with the OS for smooth integration. They adhere to strict runtime rules and API usage policies enforced by the OS.

This tight integration with Windows 10 confers certain advantages like:

  • Automatic updates delivered seamlessly via Windows Update
  • Consistent user experience across devices due to a common app framework
  • Tighter security controls and sandboxing of app data
  • Access to Windows features like live tiles, notifications, share contracts etc.

However, the flip side is that Microsoft Store apps are not fully independent programs like traditional Win32 desktop software. They rely on Windows 10 for much of their core functionality.

Why Uninstalling Microsoft Store Apps is Restricted

Given their close relationship with the Windows 10 OS, uninstalling Microsoft Store apps is not as straightforward as removing regular programs.

Here are some key reasons why uninstall is restricted for Microsoft Store apps:

Shared Framework and Services

All Microsoft Store apps utilize a common set of frameworks, libraries and services provided by Windows 10. Much of the app code runs inside common Windows processes like svchost.exe. The app data and components get dispersed across various OS folders during installation.

For example, some key locations used by apps include:

  • C:\Program Files\WindowsApps – Core app packages and dependencies
  • C:\Users\{user}\AppData\Local\Packages – App data folders
  • %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Application Shortcuts – Start menu shortcuts

Manually deleting these scattered files can break things and make Windows unstable. The complex way apps integrate with the OS makes it hard to cleanly uninstall apps.

App Info Stored in Unified Store

Information about all installed Microsoft Store apps, including app packages, licenses, associated user data etc. is maintained in the unified Windows Store. Windows treats the store as the definitive record of app installation state.

Indiscriminately deleting app files without updating the Store catalog can lead to inconsistencies where Windows still thinks an app is installed, even though files are missing.

App Functionality Interlinked

Modern Microsoft Store apps don’t work in isolation. App functionality is interlinked through shared components and runtime brokers.

For example, the Xbox app piggybacks on the Gaming Services component. Uninstalling the Xbox app without removing Gaming Services appropriately can break other gaming-related features.

Apps like Photos and Maps also share common Windows Runtime brokers and URI handlers. Incorrect uninstall can cripple features dependent on these brokers.

Integration with OS Features

Microsoft Store apps integrate tightly with various Windows 10 shell features like live tiles, notifications, share contracts etc. They also extensively use Windows Runtime APIs to deliver app functionality.

Indiscriminate uninstall may remove apps but leave behind orphaned hooks which can destabilize the operating system over time.

User Account Integration

Installed apps are linked to user accounts on the system. App data is sandboxed and tied to individual user profiles. Shared app components are installed under Program Files, but user-specific app data resides under user profile folders.

A regular uninstall process takes care of cleaning up all these artefacts neatly. Manual deletion can leave behind stray remnants tied to user accounts.

Safe Uninstall Options for Microsoft Store Apps

Given the complexities involved, Microsoft recommends using the purpose-built uninstall options for removing Microsoft Store apps cleanly and safely.

The supported options are:

Settings App

The Settings app provides a GUI option to uninstall apps installed from the Microsoft Store. You can find the full list of installed apps under Settings > Apps > Apps & features.

Select the app you want to remove and click Uninstall. This will safely remove the app and related components.

Windows Powershell

You can use the Get-AppxPackage and Remove-AppxPackage cmdlets to uninstall Microsoft Store apps through Powershell:

Get-AppxPackage -Name <App Name> | Remove-AppxPackage

This allows scripting uninstalls but ensures they are done in a supported manner. The Windows Store is updated appropriately.

Windows Configuration Designer

For enterprise environments, IT administrators can use the Windows Configuration Designer tool to customize provisioning packages. These packages can then be deployed to remove specific Microsoft Store apps.

This allows managing uninstalls easily across an organization through standard tooling like Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

Why Manual Uninstall is Risky

While the above options are safe and recommended, you may be tempted to just manually delete the app folders yourself using File Explorer.

However, as explained earlier, Microsoft Store apps integrate deeply into Windows 10 at multiple levels. Manually removing files can have unintended consequences:

  • Can break functionality of other apps that share common components
  • Can leave behind orphaned entries in the Store catalog
  • May not remove app hooks into OS features like notifications and share
  • Can destabilize Windows over time as remnants accumulate

Unless you are highly meticulous, it is easy to miss shared files and registry entries used by apps. Deleted app folders often reappear automatically as well.

Manual uninstall also bypasses the Windows Store, so there is no easy way to track proper app removal. Windows may try to reinstall or repair the app at a later point.

In summary, manual uninstall is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. The supported uninstall methods discussed earlier are the best way to remove Microsoft Store apps cleanly.

Tips for Safe Manual Uninstall

In certain rare cases, manual uninstall may be unavoidable like troubleshooting a badly broken app. If you have to go down this route, keep these tips in mind:

Use An Uninstall Tool First

Try an uninstall tool like the open-source Winstall first before attempting manual removal. Such tools can remove apps reliably in most cases.

Remove All Traces of App

Carefully look through all the folders where app components typically reside and delete all relevant files/registry entries for the app.

Key locations to check include:

  • C:\Program Files\WindowsApps
  • App-specific folder under C:\Users\{user}\AppData\Local\Packages
  • Start menu shortcuts
  • Registry entries – Use regedit carefully to find and remove app-specific keys

Reboot After Uninstall

Reboot your PC after manually deleting an app to clear any loaded components/DLLs from memory.

Remove All User Profile Traces

Sign into each local user account on the system and check the AppData folder to remove any stray user-specific app data.

Reset the Microsoft Store

Use the wsreset command to reset and re sync the Microsoft Store after manual uninstall:


This will clear any orphaned app entries from the Store listing.


Microsoft Store apps integrate deeply into Windows 10 so uninstalling them is not always straightforward. The optimal approach is to use the purpose-built uninstall options like Settings app, Powershell cmdlets or provisioning packages.

Manual uninstall is risky due to the complexity of app integration and can lead to leftovers destabilizing your system. If manual removal is unavoidable, delete all traces carefully and reset the Microsoft Store afterwards.

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