When you install Windows 11 (or 10), Microsoft will preinstall additional third-party bloatware such as Candy Crush, Netflix, Spotify, and others based on your region (“inbox apps”). All you need to skip installing the bloatware is to, temporarily, choose an unrecognized region during the installation.
Depending on your device region, you’re required to click 15–30 times to uninstall the bundled bloatware on a new installation Annoyingly, some of the bloatware even reinstalls itself if you’re unlucky with the timing of background updates. With two clicks during the installation, you can prevent them from being installed altogether.
The first three questions you’re asked during the installation are your preference for language, time and currency format (region), and your keyboard or input method. (Screenshot.) All it takes to avoid all the bloatware is to set the region setting to English (World) or (Europe). That’s all it takes; complete the rest of the installation process as usual.
World and European English are not a normal format (“locale”). Neither the Windows Installer program nor Microsoft’s servers know what to do with it, even though the installer offers it as an option. As a result, many online and some offline services, including the Out of Box Experience (OOBE) service, just don’t work.
You should expect to get an error message saying
OOBEREGION during the installation. (Screenshot.) This error message indicates that OOBE doesn’t recognize your region setting. You can gleefully ignore the message and click the Skip button to bypass installing any of the bundled bloatware.
After completing the installation, you should change to the correct region settings. You can change your device region from the Windows Settings app: Time and Language: Language and Region: Region: Country or Region. If you intend to create multiple user accounts on your computer, then add those before changing the region setting.
Some first- and third-party apps, including the Microsoft Store app, don’t work unless you select a country as your region. Preferably the country you’re in, but you can pick one on the other side of the planet if you prefer. Just don’t leave it as World or European English, or you can expect some non-obvious software breakage from time to time.
Microsoft will still install first-party bloatware such as the Office placeholder app, OneDrive, and Microsoft Solitaire Collection; to upsell you on subscriptions to spreadsheets and card games.
Additionally, your computer vendor may push bloatware to your system after the installation through the Microsoft Store. Some of this software may be useful software and device-specific feature drivers. These installs are tied to the manufacturer and model information in your computer’s firmware, and won’t be affected by changing the region.
Windows Home costs 99 USD and Professional costs 199 USD. Microsoft has already earned enough money from your license purchase, and the software giant shouldn’t need to include any first- or third-party bloatware.
Don’t want any bloatware or subscription services preinstalled on your computer? Consider installing Linux instead of Windows the next time you’re reinstalling your computer.