With the popularity of Modern Device Provisioning using Windows Autopilot or AirWatch, using a “Generic Image” (Microsoft OS without OEM added-value software added) as the baseline OS is a very common practice.
I have been asked multiple times if a generic image (ISO from Microsoft) contains any bloatware. – The short answer is NO. It is the OS version as published by Microsoft. Let me explain further.
Bloatware and Windows Bundled-Apps
Customers that have been getting the standard OEM loaded OS receives PC manufacturer specific trialware and other bundled software, commonly referred as bloatware.
By definition, bloatware is referred to any unwanted software included on a new computer or mobile device by the manufacturer. This could be trialware, utilities, adware, and such, which is not originally included in the Microsoft Operating System ISO file.
Microsoft changed the game a little, when they introduced “bundled-apps” into Windows 10 published OS. Although these apps were not introduced by the manufactures, many people have called these bloatware as well. They include:
|Apps that can be removed||Apps that can not be removed|
Alarms and Clock
Bubble Witch 3 Saga
Calendar and Mail
Candy Crush Soda Saga
March of Empires
Microsoft Solitaire Collection
Movies & TV
Most OEMs have the capability to ship devices with the “Generic” Windows 10 ISO version. In Microsoft’s case:, for their Surface devices they call it Signature Edition. OEMs have different names.
Removing Bundled Apps
For obvious reasons, businesses and enterprises do not want to include these kinds of apps when they provide Windows PCs to their end-users.
There are two ways of removing (for those apps that can be removed) Microsoft’s pre-installed / bundled OS applications:
- Reset Windows 10 – using the Refresh Tool (also known as Start Fresh) in Windows 10 settings options.
- Use a PowerShell Script to remove them
Both of these options can be called as part of the device provisioning process (either called via Intune, script or task sequence)
Screenshot of Freshly Installed Windows 10
Below is an screenshot of a freshly installed Windows 10 Pro created with the Win10 v1803 ISO – You can clearly see the “bundled apps” Microsoft has allowed.
- GitHub – WurstCommander/Win10AppRemove: A Powershell-Script for removing / debloating Windows 10 apps. Mandatory apps which can’t be uninstalled via start menu will be removed too.
- Win10 – Uninstall Apps Via PowerShell – TweakHound
- How to uninstall Windows 10 apps using PowerShell, in 3 steps | Digital Citizen
Hope this helps!
Please ping me on Twitter if you have any questions!