four coloured rubbish bins in a public park

Windows 10 was released almost a decade ago, and dreams of a slimline, clutter-free operating system from Microsoft were dashed. Instead, Windows 10 came stuffed with bloatware, unnecessary apps, and adverts everywhere. Some of this Windows 10 bloat is easy to remove. Here’s how:

Why is Windows 10 stuffed with unnecessary apps and bloatware?

It’s hard for OS manufacturers such as Microsoft to know exactly how you’re going to use your Windows PC. Many people simply want to unbox their machine, plug it in and get to work, without ever having to install another piece of software.

To help with this, your windows 10 PC comes with software of almost every type built in. There are shortcuts to Office Online for document creation, a drawing package, and some basic games. You’ll also find all the media codecs you’ll ever need and defunct application framework such as Silverlight.

When you open up your Windows start menu, you’ll see programs you’ll never use, tiles advertising apps you have to buy separately, and worse, Freemium games.

You don’t want these Windows 10 features, and you don’t need them. It’s time to get rid of them.

Uninstall Microsoft Solitaire Collection

Microsoft solitaire collection

There are few less pleasant computing experiences than clicking on a start menu tile, and finding out you have to download or buy yet another product, or that the product in question is a nagware laden Freemium app.

The Windows start menu is littered with these, and one major culprit is the the Microsoft Solitaire Collection app.

While Microsoft Windows used to come with a complete and full version of Freecell, this has been replaced by the obnoxious Microsoft Solitaire Collection.

To uninstall it, open your start menu and find the tile representing Microsoft Solitaire Collection. Right-click on it, then select Uninstall.

Windows will tell you that “This app and its related info will be uninstalled”. Click Uninstall again, and watch as Microsoft Solitaire Collection disappears from your Windows 10 system.

Remove Windows 10 XBox Live App

windows 10 xbox live app showing the xbox logo on a green background

Microsoft’s XBox series of consoles is an amazing success story, with the first iteration selling 24 million units in only five years, and the latest iteration shifting a staggering 8 million in under two years.

The XBox Live app is designed as a companion for the XBox and can give you messages activity alerts, achievements and more, we’re not really sure why Microsoft decided you’d want it on your PC- XBox apps are available on every mobile platform, and who sits down in front of a console with their laptop on their knee? No-one, that’s who.

The XBox live app is pre-installed with Windows 10 whether you have an XBox or not – either way, you should get rid of it.

Again, locate the entry in your start menu, right-click, and press Uninstall.

Get rid of Microsoft Silverlight from Windows 10

Microsoft silverlight logo

Microsoft Silverlight was designed as a competitor for the now defunct Adobe Flash. Sadly for Microsoft, Silverlight is now defunct. Sadly for you, Silverlight is still installed on your Windows 10 system by default.

You won’t find a start menu entry for Microsoft Silverlight, and you won’t find it in add or remove programs, either.

You’re going to have to remove Silverlight by hand.

Open a command prompt by typing cmd into the Windows 10 search bar. Right-click on the “best match” command prompt entry, and choose Run as Administrator. Click yes when asked if you want to allow the app to make changes to your device.

In the command prompt window, enter:

wmic product where caption='Microsoft Silverlight' call uninstall

That’s it!

Uninstall Microsoft Edge

uninstall microsoft edge through programs and features

Microsoft Edge is the successor app to Internet Explorer – simultaneously the most and least popular browser ever produced.

If you care about your privacy at all, you should get it off your Windows 10 system.

First make sure you have an alternative browser such as the privacy-respecting Firefox installed. When you search for FireFox using Bing the search engine may plead for you to keep using Edge instead. Ignore it, download FireFox, then uninstall the atrocity that is Microsoft Edge.

To uninstall Microsoft Edge, open your start menu and locate Edge in the Microsoft section. Right click, then select uninstall.

Windows won’t uninstall Edge right away, but will instead open up the Programs and Features app.

Find Edge in the list again, then click Uninstall. Tick the box to also clear all your browsing data.

Make a start on decluttering your hard drive

Uninstalling these four apps won’t miraculously make your machine run faster, or truly de-bloat Windows 10. But it’s a good start at making your desktop cleaner, more usable, and less frustrating.

Keep an eye on future Microsoft updates, and check that only apps you want are being installed.