My grandson was using my Windows PC and installed some gaming software including “Xbox”. How can I safely remove programs from a modern Windows 11 computer without leaving anything at risk for malware?
It may surprise a lot of Windows users, but it turns out that the latest generation of Microsoft Windows 11 actually includes some gaming components that are identified as being Xbox related. The most interesting of them is the Xbox Game Bar, which offers some pretty cool features even for non-gamers, like an on-screen performance monitor window that shows how much your current set of active programs are impacting your performance. Still, having programs you don’t want on your computer is not great so removing them makes sense.
In the future, I would highly recommend that you set your grandson up with his own account on your Windows PC. You can check out my How to Add a Child User to a Windows PC tutorial for how to set that up. It would ensure he doesn’t inadvertently delete any of your files or read your email messages, plus give him his own area for new programs and files of his own.
Right, let’s get on with it!
HOW TO FIND ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS
As with most everything, I recommend that you start by doing a search for what you want to accomplish. For example, I’ll search for “uninstall” and it’ll show me exactly the right Control Panel as the top result:
Easy enough, now just click on – or tap – the “Open” link to launch the Windows Settings app in exactly the right spot (which is Settings > Apps > Installed apps):
There are a few tweaks you can do to change the display, but generally you’ll see a list of registered programs on your Windows PC listed by install date and approximate size (or some other unrelated number, like the 16KB shown for all three extensions to Windows 11 above).
HOW TO REPAIR OR RESET AN APP
One nifty trick you can access from this Settings area that few people know about can be very helpful if you have a program that’s not working correctly or has started misbehaving. Scroll down to the app in question, then click on the “•••” on its line. For example, the Xbox application:
Notice that there’s a separate Xbox Game Bar application too. I would recommend you leave the Xbox Game Bar as it’s part of the standard Windows distribution.
On this context menu, don’t jump to Uninstall, however, go to “Advanced options” then scroll down until you see the below options:
These are very handy options to know about; you can immediately stop a program from running with Terminate and you can try to fix a misbehaving app by using the Repair option. A more aggressive attempt at repairing is Reset (as explained in the window).
UNINSTALL OR REMOVE A PROGRAM FROM YOUR PC
Don’t want to fix things, you really want to uninstall it? You can access the uninstall feature from the Advanced Options window or just choose “Uninstall” from the “•••” menu. When you do, it’ll prompt:
Click on “Uninstall” again and it’ll go through all the necessary steps to cleanly remove the app or program. You’ll see it in the apps list for just a few moments longer:
Then it’ll vanish. Mission accomplished!
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about Windows since the beginning. Please check out my extensive Windows help area for lots of useful tutorials and how-to guides while you’re visiting! Thanks.