Removing Unwanted Windows 10 Apps That Don’t Want to Go Away

September 12, 2016

With each new version of Windows come improvements. Yet is also seems like Microsoft wants to force some things upon users whether they like it or not. At times in the past they have even gotten into legal trouble because of this.

Today I want to write about default apps for various file types and Microsoft’s annoying habit of changing defaults back to their own apps. Trying to stop this can be difficult. But I’ll offer a solution for some file types.

Below is the Settings page where you can choose some of the main default apps. When you first install Windows 10, every choice goes to a Microsoft app.


You’ll note that in this screen shot, there is no default app shown for a Photo viewer. Very strange, since I know it has been set on numerous occasions to be the awesome (and non-Microsoft) Irfanview. I find that every single time I install an update for Windows 10 that most all image formats (GIF, JPG, PNG, etc) get set back to the Photos app supplied as part of Windows 10. In short, I never want to use this app!

Some of the apps supplied with Windows 10 can be removed. I have removed nearly all of them as I find no value in them at all. But they don’t allow you to simply uninstall Photos. Thankfully, there is a way to remove it completely and I’ve now done this.

Open your Start menu and search for “Powershell”. Once it appears, right-click on it and select Run as Administrator. When it has loaded, some of you will think it is just a “DOS prompt”. In many ways it is, but it has more power. You’ll need to enter a special command to remove Photos and I’ve included it below. Highlight it, copy it (Ctrl + C), and then paste it (Ctrl + V) into Powershell. Press Enter and it will remove this annoying app from your computer.

Get-AppxPackage *photos* | Remove-AppxPackage

default-app-pngYou can also set the default app for any specific file format. Find a file in the format you wish to change. Right-click on the file and select Open With | Choose another app. At right you’ll see the dialog I get for a PNG file. Note that this often said Photos as the default even though I’d chosen Irfanview more times than I can count. Once you select the program you desire, make sure to check the “Always use this app” checkbox before clicking OK.

Another file format that Microsoft loves to hijack is PDF. Every update it gets reset to Microsoft’s Edge browser. Sadly it can’t be removed as with the Photos app. I just don’t understand why I would ever want to have any browser be my default app for PDF files when I have numerous other PDF editing apps on my system. If I can find out how to make the PDF madness stop, I’ll write a post about it.

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