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Preparing For Cyber Essentials: Bloatware

The Cyber Essentials Assessment

Welcome to the first of our Cyber Essentials (CE) series, where our sysadmin Neil Gibb* tackles the unattractively named Bloatware and shows why it’s a barrier to valuable CE certification.

Preparing your corporate network for the Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus assessment can be daunting, and often presents more questions than answers. In this series we set out to answer the common questions. We’ll share practical, step-by-step guidance and help you on your journey towards CE or CE Plus certification.

Perspective Risk is an accredited certifying body for the Cyber Essentials Scheme.

Bloatware: What It Is, Why You Need To Remove It

Cartoon depiction of Bloatware

Bloatware is a derogatory term for additional operating system (OS) components that come pre-installed, also known as bundled software. It takes up valuable memory space, slows down the OS and offers little or no value to your company’s operational needs.

Worse, it can contain privilege escalation flaws and other vulnerabilities, placing the host – i.e. the operating system, at elevated risk of compromise by malicious insiders and hackers.

Depending on the risk of the chained issues, this may present an obstacle to Cyber Essentials Plus certification.

Removing Bloatware from Windows 

Bloatware can be removed from Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012 operating systems. This is achieved by running the application’s package removal script from an elevated command line, which sounds harder than it is.

Follow these steps:

  • Insert the name of the bloatware you wish to remove to the following script: Get-AppxPackage -name ‘name of bloatware| Remove-AppxPackage
  • Run it in an elevated PowerShell command line as depicted below
  • Type powershell in the task bar search box
  • Windows PowerShell will appear under ‘best match’
  • Right click on Windows PowerShell
  • Select ‘Run as administrator’
Steps for removing Bloatware from Windows

Windows PowerShell – first stage for removing Bloatware

  • Within the PowerShell command line, type the removal script: Get-AppxPackage -name “name of bloatware” | Remove-AppxPackage replacing ‘name of bloatware’ with the name of the bloatware you wish to remove
  • Press enter
Removing Bloatware from Windows instructions

Windows PowerShell – second stage for removing Bloatware

  • Good job! You have successfully removed the pesky bloatware.

Automating the Removal of Bloatware

Erasing Bloatware packages one at a time is laborious. The solution is to Automate! As a Microsoft Systems Administrator, I’m often required to remove it. Consequently, I’m familiar with the Bloatware installed on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012 operating systems.

I have written a series of executable commands for removing the worst of it, namely the least useful and most vulnerable. You can edit the commands to meet your network requirements – just replace the name of the Bloatware within each individual command or remove the entire command.

Executable Commands for Removing Bloatware

To run these commands:

  • Follow the stages outlined earlier for Windows PowerShell
  • Paste the commands shown below into your elevated PowerShell command line
  • Press enter

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.ZuneMusic” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.XboxGameCallableUI” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.BioEnrollment” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.XboxIdentityProvider” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.WindowsStore” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.BingTravel” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.People” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.BingFinance” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.WindowsMaps” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.3DBuilder” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.BingHealthAndFitness” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.BingNews” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.Music.Preview” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.XboxApp” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.BingSports” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.WindowsCamera” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.Getstarted” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.BingFoodAndDrink” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.MicrosoftSolitaireCollection” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.BingWeather” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.Windows.Photos” | Remove-AppxPackage

Get-AppxPackage -name “Microsoft.WindowsPhone” | Remove-AppxPackage

Congratulations, you are now one step closer to being in good shape for your Cyber Essentials assessment. For more information and resources, please click here: Cyber Essentials or feel free to contact us.

*Neil Gibb was employed by the IT Lab group at the time of writing.

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