Microsoft’s Unremovable Windows 11 Backup App: The Hidden Truth

Microsoft’s decision to not allow users to uninstall the new Windows Backup app on Windows 11 has generated some controversy. Here’s a summary of the key points:

  1. System Component Label: Microsoft categorizes the Windows Backup app as a “system component,” which is why there is no option to uninstall it through the “Installed apps” settings page.
  2. No Uninstall Option: Users are unable to remove the Windows Backup app, even if they have alternative backup solutions installed on their system.
  3. Enterprise Installations: The restriction also applies to enterprise installations of Windows 11. Users with Azure Active Directory (AAD) or Active Directory (AD) accounts can see the app but cannot use it.
  4. Future Update: Microsoft has acknowledged the concerns and is working on an update to hide the Windows Backup app on specific configurations. This means it will still be part of the system but won’t be as prominently visible.
  5. OneDrive Integration: The Windows Backup app is designed to use OneDrive as its storage medium for backing up files, apps, settings, and credentials. However, it doesn’t work like a traditional backup application.
  6. Limited Restore Options: Users can recover files from the OneDrive folder, but restoring apps, settings, and credentials individually is not supported. The app is primarily intended for restoring user data in case of hardware failure or when transferring to a new computer.
  7. Reinstallation of Apps: When restoring apps, Windows Backup won’t reinstall the applications themselves. It will restore icons in the Start menu and Taskbar, and the actual apps will be downloaded again from the Microsoft Store when users click on them. For non-Store apps, users will be directed to download the installer to reinstall the application.
  8. Existing Backup Settings: Windows Backup essentially provides an interface to access the same backup settings that were already available through the “Windows Backup” settings page in Windows 11.

In summary, Microsoft has made the Windows Backup app an integral part of Windows 11 as a system component. While users cannot uninstall it, the company is working on a future update to make it less visible in specific configurations. Users should keep in mind that the app is primarily designed for specific backup and restore scenarios and is tightly integrated with OneDrive for data storage.

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