Here’s the situation:
- You have Windows 8.1. Possibly you reinstalled Windows recently.
- One of the apps on your start screen is now blank and just says “app” when your mouse is over it.
- The app no longer has an uninstall option.
- The app no longer appears in the ‘all apps’ part of the 8.1 start screen (clicking the down arrow icon in the lower left corner).
- The Windows Store app landing page for your problem app says the app is installed. Also, the store app does not provide an option to uninstall or reinstall the app.
- You *can* run the app… but only by searching “everything” on the start screen.
Does that sound kind of frustrating? It was for me. An Internet search revealed numerous articles on how to uninstall Windows 8 apps, all predicated on the start screen icon appearing and behaving in the expected fashion. Yet more digging revealed information about how to uninstall all apps using PowerShell. Not quite what I wanted since I have numerous apps installed. Plus a link to this PowerShell script:
A neat script which lists all the installed apps and lets you uninstall what you want. This didn’t work for me either; when I selected the problem app I got an exception from the script. I didn’t particularly want to spend time trying to diagnose and fix this script, since this seems to be a one-off problem for me. Just something very quick and dirty to uninstall the app so that I can reinstall it again, thank you very much.
Getting started with PowerShell
If you’ve never used PowerShell before, read this section, otherwise move on to the steps below.
PowerShell is the modern Windows replacement for the command prompt. Essentially it is a scripting platform built on the .NET framework. While the command prompt is still available in Windows 8, PowerShell gives so much more power and flexibility, the scenarios where I would prefer to use the older technology are few and far between.
There is a lot to PowerShell we could get into (and I am by no means an expert on it), but we’ll keep things basic here. To get PowerShell running, go to the Start screen and type “powershell”.
Once PowerShell is launched, you’ll see a window which bears an uncanny resemblance to the command prompt:
Get information about installed modern apps
Now that we’re in PowerShell, type the following command, and press the Enter key:
PowerShell will display detailed information about all of the currently installed modern apps (apps that run on the start screen) on your computer. Scroll through this list and find the details of the app you want to remove. The property we will need to know to perform an uninstall is called PackageFullName. For instance here are the details of a Windows 8 app called “Pomodoro Sauce”, with the package name highlighted:
I would not want to have to retype that name! This being Windows, we can copy the name by highlighting it, then clicking the right mouse button.
Now that we have the package name in the windows clipboard, type the following command at the PowerShell prompt:
If you right-click at the end of the line, the package name in our clipboard will be appended to the command we’re executing:
Now we're ready to execute the command; press the Enter key to start uninstalling the app. When the app is being uninstalled, a message will briefly appear in the PowerShell prompt:
When the message disappears, the app will have been removed. That’s it. App uninstalled!
Hopefully Microsoft will realize they need to provide another way to uninstall modern apps than from the start screen.