[Windows 10 Tip] Remove Cortana, Microsoft Edge, Contact Support and Feedback Apps
This exclusive Windows 10 tutorial will help you if:
- You want to remove Cortana Search app completely from Windows 10
- You want to get rid of SearchUI.exe service running continuously in background
- You want to remove Microsoft Edge web browser, Contact Support and Feedback apps in Windows 10
- You want to remove Lock Screen app completely
- You want to permanently disable Action Center and don’t want any notification in Windows 10
- You want to disable new modern (metro) style Start Menu and Taskbar jumplists in Windows 10
- You want to disable new fly-out UI of icons in Taskbar notification area (system tray)
All these things can be done with the help of a few simple steps which we are going to tell in this detailed tutorial.
We know that Windows 10 comes with lots of built-in modern (metro) apps such as Calculator, Mail, Messaging, Phone, Skype, Bing, etc. By default Windows 10 doesn’t allow you to uninstall or remove any of these default apps but you can remove these apps using Powershell commands as given in following tutorial:
[Guide] How to Remove All Built-in Apps in Windows 10
Although Powershell commands help us in removing built-in apps but following 4 apps can’t be removed using Powershell:
Cortana Search – This app provides Microsoft’s personal digital assistant Cortana in Windows 10. Cortana app uses the SearchUI.exe process which continuously runs in background and can’t be disabled. Even if you kill or end task of SearchUI.exe process using Task Manager, it comes back again within few seconds.
Microsoft Edge – Its a new web browser from Microsoft which supports modern web standards and technologies. If you use Internet Explorer or a 3rd party web browser such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Opera, you might want to remove this new web browser.
Contact Support – This app can be used to contact Microsoft support team for help and assistance.
Windows Feedback – This app can be used to provide feedback about Windows 10 to Microsoft. Its said that this app regularly collects data and sends it to Microsoft but we can’t confirm it.
If you want to remove any or all of the above mentioned system apps in Windows 10, this guide will definitely help you. Today in this tutorial, we are going to share an easy way to disable or remove these system apps in Windows 10.
Windows 10 Modern (Metro) Apps Storage Location
Lets tell you first about these apps location in Windows 10. Actually all modern (metro) apps are divided into following 2 categories by Windows:
- Standard Windows apps
- System apps
All apps which you install from Store and all built-in apps such as Mail, Messaging, etc which can be uninstalled using Powershell method are called Windows apps and can be found in following location:
This folder is restricted and you can’t access this folder. But if you take ownership of this folder, you can open it. To take ownership of this folder, add the “Take Ownership” option in file/folder context menu with the help of following article:
[Tip] Add “Take Ownership” Option in Files / Folders Context Menu in Windows
Now right-click on “WindowsApps” folder and select “Take ownership” option. It’ll take some time in taking ownership of the folder and in granting you permission on the folder. Once the process completes, you can double-click on “WindowsApps” folder and can see its content.
This folder contains several sub-folders which contain files of all modern apps installed in your computer. We have already told you about this folder in past in following tutorial:
How to Change Metro Apps Default Installation Location in Windows 8?
The other category “System Apps” contains essential apps which are required by Windows to provide several UI elements to users. System apps include Microsoft Edge web browser, Cortana search app, Contact Support, Windows Feedback, Lock Screen app, Action Center, Parental Controls, etc. You can find these system apps in following location:
There is also another folder which contains both Windows apps as well as System apps. You can find it in following location:
Replace username term in above mentioned path with your user account name in Windows 10. You can launch this folder directly using following command in RUN dialog box:
This “Packages” folder is used to install apps for user accounts that’s why it contains all apps files.
Now lets come back to our main article!
If you want to remove Cortana Search, Microsoft Edge, Contact Support and Windows Feedback apps in Windows 10, you just need to either delete or rename their respective folders present in “C:\Windows\SystemApps” folder. We’ll not recommend to delete any app folder. Just rename the folder and it’ll do the same job. Once you rename any app folder, Windows will be unable to find that app’s folder and executable file, thus it’ll not be able to run that app in your computer.
Remove Microsoft Edge Web Browser
If you want to remove Microsoft Edge web browser, go to “C:\Windows\SystemApps” folder and rename “Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe” folder. Just add anything before the original folder name. For example you can add BACK or ! (Exclamation mark) or any desired text before folder name.
We renamed the folder to “BACK_Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe” and it disabled Microsoft Edge web browser completely in Windows 10.
Now if you try to launch the Edge browser from Start Menu, it’ll do nothing as Windows will not find the folder and files related to Edge browser.
Remove Contact Support App
If you want to remove Contact Support app, go to “C:\Windows\SystemApps” folder and rename “ContactSupport_cw5n1h2txyewy” folder to “BACK_ContactSupport_cw5n1h2txyewy” or any desired name. It’ll disable the app completely from running in your system.
Remove Windows Feedback App
If you want to remove Windows Feedback app, go to “C:\Windows\SystemApps” folder and rename “WindowsFeedback_cw5n1h2txyewy” folder to “BACK_WindowsFeedback_cw5n1h2txyewy” or any desired name. It’ll disable the app completely from running in your system.
Remove Cortana Search (SearchUI.exe) App
Removing Cortana Search app is a tricky task as Cortana app always runs in background using SearchUI.exe service. To remove Cortana app, you’ll need to rename “Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy” folder in “C:\Windows\SystemApps” folder.
But since SearchUI.exe file runs in background, Windows will not allow you to rename this folder. You’ll get an error message that “The action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program. Close the folder or file and try again.”.
Keep the error message dialog box opened and then open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys together or by right-clicking on Taskbar and select “Task Manager” option. Now select Cortana from the background processes list and press Delete key or click on “End Task” button.
Now immediately click on “Try Again” button present in “Folder in Use” error message dialog box. Now you’ll be able to rename Cortana folder and SearchUI.exe file will no longer run in background.
Once you remove Cortana, you can remove the Search box from Taskbar using following tutorial:
How to Remove Cortana Search Box and Other Icons from Windows 10 Taskbar
BONUS TIP 1: Disable or Remove Lock Screen App
As we know Windows 10 shows Lock Screen just before the Login Screen (or Sign-in Screen) and you can disable the Lock Screen using Group Policy Editor or Registry Editor as mentioned in following tutorial:
How to Disable Lock Screen in Windows 8 and Later
If you don’t want to restrict Lock Screen using the methods given in above mentioned link, you can remove Lock Screen completely in Windows 10 using following steps:
In “C:\Windows\SystemApps” folder, just rename “Microsoft.LockApp_cw5n1h2txyewy” folder to “BACK_Microsoft.LockApp_cw5n1h2txyewy” or any desired name. Now Windows will not show Lock Screen whenever you log out or lock your computer. It’ll directly show Login Screen.
BONUS TIP 2: Disable or Remove Action Center and Notifications
If you don’t like the new Action Center and its regular notifications in Windows 10, you can disable them using following tutorial:
[Tip] Disable Notifications and Action Center in Windows 10
But still you’ll receive a few notifications regularly in Windows 10. If you want to completely disable and remove Action Center and notifications, you can open “ShellExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy” folder in “C:\Windows\SystemApps” folder and then rename “Windows.UI.ActionCenter.dll” file to “BACK_Windows.UI.ActionCenter.dll” or any other desired name.
BONUS TIP 3: Disable Metro Start Menu, Taskbar Jumplists and New Fly-out UI
Similarly if you want to disable Start Menu or Jumplists, open “ShellExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy” folder in “C:\Windows\SystemApps” folder and rename “StartUI.dll” and “JumpviewUI.dll” files respectively.
Following 4 DLL files are responsible to show new fly-out UI of Battery, Clock, Volume and Network icons in Taskbar notification area:
You can rename these DLL files to disable the new fly-out UI of these icons. Alternatively you can restore classic UI of these icons with the help of following tutorial:
[Tip] Restoring Classic Programs and User Interface in Windows 10
PS: If you rename the “ShellExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy” folder and restart your computer, it’ll disable Start Menu, Jumplists and right-click on Taskbar Notification area. It’ll also stop “ShellExperienceHost.exe” process running in background as this process is responsible for showing the new modern (metro) UI of all Taskbar and Start Menu stuff.
1. You can safely rename “C:\Program Files\WindowsApps” folder to any name to prevent any installed app from running.
2. You can safely rename “C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Packages” folder as well to prevent any built-in app from reinstalling itself in future.
3. DO NOT rename “C:\Windows\SystemApps” folder as it’ll break down Windows functionality. You can rename sub-folders present inside it. But keep following 2 folders unchanged:
As we told above, the first folder “ShellExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy” is responsible to show modern UI of Start Menu and Taskbar so renaming this folder will not allow you to use Start Menu and right-click on Taskbar items and system tray icons.
The second folder “Microsoft.LockApp_cw5n1h2txyewy” will disable Lock Screen, so if you want to use Lock Screen, do not rename it.
4. If you find any difficulty in renaming any file or folder, take ownership of the file or folder first as mentioned in the beginning of the tutorial and then rename the file/folder. You can also take the ownership manually as described in following tutorial:
[Guide] How to Take Ownership of a File or Folder Manually in Windows
5. You may need to restart your computer to take effect.
6. In future, if you want to restore any app, just restore the original name of the file/folder.