With the advent of Windows 11, Microsoft introduced the Windows Backup app, a cloud-based solution designed to help users back up files, settings, credentials, and more. Although the app comes with promising features, it has also sparked a fair share of controversies. Specifically, Microsoft has made it clear that the app will not be removable, labeling it as a ‘system component.’ However, recent updates suggest that the company is planning to hide this app on certain unsupported systems, including enterprise and LTSC machines.
Windows Backup: A Controversial ‘System Component’
Windows Backup is now considered a system component, meaning that users cannot remove it from their systems. This has been a point of contention among users, especially those on enterprise systems where the app doesn’t even function correctly. The app is designed mainly for consumer devices and requires a Microsoft or OneDrive account for full utilization. Yet, it gets installed on Windows 10 LTSC and Windows 11 Enterprise PCs, where users encounter the error message “This feature is not supported by your organization” if they try to launch it.
In the Eyes of the Enterprise
The issue is particularly vexing for enterprise users who find this app automatically installed on their systems. It’s even more baffling when they discover that the app doesn’t work with Azure Active Directory (AAD) or Active Directory (AD) accounts. Essentially, Windows Backup is a consumer-focused feature that has ended up in an environment where it can’t even function as intended.
The Trick to Uninstalling Windows Backup
Though Microsoft insists that the app is not removable, a workaround tested by Windows Latest proves otherwise. It involves using PowerShell with elevated privileges and executing the following command:
Remove-WindowsPackage -Online -PackageName "Microsoft-Windows-UserExperience-Desktop-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~10.0.19041.3393"
After a system reboot, not only will Windows Backup be removed, but so will the Emoji Picker and the Win + Shift + S keyboard shortcut. However, these features can be restored by running another command:
DISM.exe /Online /add-capability /CapabilityName:Windows.Client.ShellComponents~~~~0.0.1.0
Upcoming Changes: Hiding Rather Than Removing
In a more recent update, Microsoft has announced plans to hide the Backup app in enterprise systems or LTSC machines. According to a support document, an upcoming Windows Update will make the app disappear from user interface areas like “All apps” or “Installed apps” listings. Nevertheless, the app will continue to exist in the operating system, hidden but not gone.
FAQs and Microsoft’s Stance
Microsoft has released a detailed FAQ section in their support document KB5032038, explaining the rationale behind the Backup app and its limitations. They reiterate that the app is a system component and highlight its primary focus on consumer devices that use personal Microsoft accounts like *@outlook.com or *@live.com.
Although Windows Backup has its merits, its forced integration into environments where it is neither wanted nor functional has led to a public outcry. While Microsoft has shown some flexibility by planning to hide the app on unsupported systems, the core issue of user choice and system flexibility remains unaddressed. Time will tell if the tech giant will make further adjustments to its approach, especially in response to the needs and feedback of its diverse user base.