Microsoft refuses to permit removal of Windows Backup application

Microsoft has announced that it will not allow users to remove the Windows Backup app, stating that it is a ‘system component’. However, the company will hide the app on unsupported Windows 11 and 10 PCs, particularly on enterprise systems or LTSC machines. Despite being hidden, the app will remain in the operating system as it is considered a system component. So, whether users like it or not, the Windows Backup app is here to stay.

Following our previous report on the installation of the ‘Windows Backup’ app on Windows 10 LTSC and enterprise systems where it does not even function properly, Microsoft has released a support document explaining the situation. The document highlights some key features of Windows Backup, including its ability to back up various files, folders, credentials, settings, and apps. However, there is a catch that has led some people to despise the new cloud backup app.

Currently, Windows Backup primarily focuses on consumer devices. Microsoft has also confirmed that it is a new ‘system component’ designed for consumers and requires users to sign in to a Microsoft account or OneDrive. This app enables users to create a full system backup of their important files, documents, pictures, apps, and settings, allowing them to easily transfer their old experience to a new PC or installation.

While the cloud backup app of Windows 11 or 10 may be useful for some users, many are dissatisfied with its installation in environments where it does not work. Some have even referred to the Backup app as bloatware or Microsoft’s attempt to promote OneDrive cloud storage.

Although Windows Backup is being marketed as a consumer app, it is also being installed on Windows 10 LTSC or Windows 11 Enterprise PCs. The OneDrive-powered backup app does function on LTSC or Enterprise versions of Windows, but businesses or enterprises encounter the error message “This feature is not supported by your organization” when they attempt to launch the app on systems using Azure Active Directory (AAD) or Azure Directly (AD) accounts. This limitation exists because the app only works on devices using personal Microsoft accounts, such as those ending in *@outlook.com or *@live.com.

Microsoft clarified that “Windows Backup is not supported for Azure Active Directory (AAD) or Active Directory (AD) users” or if Group Policy blocks the user’s Microsoft account. However, the app will not be removed on unsupported systems because it is now considered a “system component”. Windows Backup has joined the list of select apps, such as Settings and Microsoft Store, that cannot be uninstalled unless users follow a specific trick, which involves removing the Windows Experience Pack. The Windows Backup app cannot be uninstalled because it is bundled with the ‘Windows Experience Pack’, which also powers features like the Snipping Tool’s Win + Shift + S keyboard shortcut and Emoji Panel. The Windows Experience Pack is a system component that prevents the removal of the Windows Backup app.

If users want to force uninstall the Windows Backup app, a simple trick tested by Windows Latest can be followed. However, note that this process will also disable the Emoji Panel and the Win + Shift + S keyboard shortcut. To do this, users can open PowerShell in elevated privileges and run the following command: Remove-WindowsPackage -Online -PackageName “Microsoft-Windows-UserExperience-Desktop-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~10.0.19041.3393”. After that, reboot the system by typing “Y” in the terminal. This process will remove Windows Backup, Emoji Picker, and “Win + Shift + S” from the PC.

As always, users can restore the missing features and return to the previous state by running the following command: DISM.exe /Online /add-capability /CapabilityName:Windows.Client.ShellComponents~~~~0.0.1.0.

Microsoft has also stated that it will hide the app on unsupported Windows PCs, specifically on enterprise systems or LTSC machines. In the support document, Microsoft has hinted at an upcoming Windows Update that will hide the app when the system detects an AAD or AD account, particularly for users with Pro, Education, or Enterprise editions of Windows 10/11. After the next update, Windows Backup will no longer appear in user interface areas such as “All apps” or “Installed apps” listings, but it will still exist in the operating system.

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