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How to fix Windows 10 default apps missing

Windows 10 comes with a considerably large library of stock apps that aim to meet general user needs, and then some. The aim is to give users an OS that can do most basic things without the user needing to install third-party apps. It’s an attempt at giving a ‘complete’ product while still giving users the option to install a different app that has better features or that works more to their liking.

Windows 10 default apps

Windows 10 default apps missing

The default apps on Windows 10 are present on the OS when you fresh install it, and when you create a new user account. This means that, if you’ve removed some of the stock apps from Windows 10 when you first began using it, and then created a new user account much later, the new account will be created with all the default apps.

If the defaults app are missing on your Windows 10 system, here’s what you can do.

1. Install missing apps

Windows 10 doesn’t delete its own default apps, not even when it’s short on space for an update. If the default apps are missing, chances are you removed them yourself or that you installed a cleaning tool that did it. It’s easy to get them back.

  1. Open PowerShell with admin rights.
  2. Run this command: Get-AppXPackage | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml"
  3. The apps will return when the command completes.

2. Clean boot Windows 10

Default apps on Windows 10 are almost all UWP apps and many of them run in a suspended state even if they aren’t open. This can lead to problems opening the app. Try a clean boot.

  1. Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box.
  2. In the run box, enter msconfig and tap the Enter key.
  3. Go to the Services tab.
  4. Select the ‘Hide all Microsoft services’ option at the bottom.
  5. Select all other services and disable them.
  6. Click Apply
  7. Open Task Manager.
  8. Go to the Startup tab.
  9. Disable all apps from running at system boot.
  10. Restart the system.

Note: Once the default apps reappear, you can restart the system normally.

3. Check ant-virus settings

Windows 10 comes with a default anti-virus Windows Defender however, users are free to use any other antivirus of their choice. Many third-party antivirus tools tend to get overzealous and will flag some of the default apps as malicious. Check your antivirus settings to see if it might be blocking them.

4. Repair apps

The missing apps may very well still be present on your system but they might have been damaged. This can happen during in-place updates, system restore, and when migrating large amounts of data. The apps can be repaired easily.

  1. Open the Settings app with the Win+I keyboard shortcut.
  2. Go to Apps & features.
  3. Select the app from the list of apps and click Options.
  4. Select the repair option.

5. Create a new user

If you’re unable to get the default apps to reappear, it may be easiest to create a new user account. It will give you a fresh start, the default apps will all be present, and you won’t have to move too many files.

  1. Open the Settings app with the Win+I keyboard shortcut.
  2. Go to Accounts.
  3. Go to Family & other users.
  4. Click Add a user.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to create a new user.
  6. Once the new user account is set up, grant it admin rights and remove the old, problematic account.

Conclusion

Windows 10 allows users to remove quite a few default apps. This can be done from the Start menu or with PowerShell commands. It’s fairly easy to do and many users do it because they want to free up a bit more space (and the apps are useless). It’s easy to forget when you’ve removed a default app. This is usually why the apps can’t be found but they can always be installed back.

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