Windows is a great OS, but it isn’t without its flaws—namely, the frustrating level of bloatware PC users have to deal with. Deleting these unnecessary apps one by one is irritating, and while there are workarounds to getting rid of them all at once, wouldn’t it be better if you didn’t have to manage the bloat in the first place?
As it happens, there’s a way to install a fresh copy of Windows 10 or 11 on your PC minus any of the BS apps, from Candy Crush to TikTok, that you probably don’t need to be on your computer. And even if you do want one of these apps on your PC, like Netflix or Spotify, it’s always better to install them on your own, since you’ll only download the ones you actually want.
This tip comes from tech YouTuber ThioJoe, who credits Ctrl.blog with the original reporting. The method is surprisingly simple: Because Windows varies what bloatware it installs based on your region (meaning different regions will receive different preinstalled apps), the solution is to temporarily set your region to an unrecognized location. The best way to do that is to choose “English (World)“ as the time and currency format:
Do that, and Windows won’t know which apps its supposed to download for this unrecognized region, so it will simply skip all of them. What you’re left with is as stock a Windows experience as you can get, which still isn’t perfect: The company still makes sure to install all its first-party apps, such as Office, OneDrive, and the Microsoft Solitaire Collection, regardless of region, so you’ll need to deal with those yourself if you don’t want them.
Be aware, though, that you can’t set your time and currency to English (World) and keep it that way forever. It’s fine during the install, but some Windows features—most importantly the Microsoft Store app—won’t work with this region setting. That said, Daniel Aleksandersen of Ctrl.blog recommends you wait to change this setting until you have all user profiles set up; if you change it before setting up a new profile, Windows may take that as a green light to install its bloatware apps to that account anyway.
Once your profiles are set up, head back to Settings > Time and Language > Language and Region > Region > Country or Region and update your location.