Software Windows

Why the hell is TikTok installed on my Windows 11 PC?

TikTok logo
Ticked off: users are finding TikTok on their PCs

When unwanted software is installed on your PC without your knowledge or permission, it’s malware. When Microsoft does it, it’s a marketing opportunity. Many people have found TikTok installed on a Windows 11 PC without their knowledge. Ditto Disney+ or Instagram or any other number of apps. Find out how to get rid of these unwanted apps here.

Unwanted apps on Windows 11 Taskbar or Start Menu

Many people have found apps such as TikTok appearing on the Windows 11 Taskbar or Start Menu after performing an update. Note, these are not apps that have been pre-installed by the PC manufacturer (another curse) but apps that have appeared as a result of Windows updates.

Even though these look like pre-installed apps, they are often nothing more than placeholders for apps. When I click on the Instagram app that’s been inserted in my Start Menu, for example, only then does the application download and fully install, as you can see in the screenshot below:

Windows 11 Instagram app in Start Menu

Sometimes the app is already pre-loaded, taking up (often a small amount) of valuable disk space.

How to get rid of unwanted Windows 11 apps

The simplest way to get rid of these unwanted intruders is from the Windows 11 Settings menu.

Open Settings and click Apps in the left-hand menu, then Installed apps. Find the lurker in the list of installed apps, click on the three dots next to its name and select Uninstall.

If the app you want to remove is not on the list, it’s probably just a placeholder, as explained above. In which case you remove its icon by right-clicking on it in the Start Menu or Taskbar and selecting Unpin from Start or Unpin from Taskbar.

It’s a shame users have to clean up their own PCs in this manner, but there we are…

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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  • Great post! It’s frustrating when unwanted apps appear on our PCs without our knowledge, but it’s good to know that there’s a simple way to get rid of them. I was just wondering, is there any way to prevent these apps from being installed in the first place?