One of Windows 11’s most frustrating habits is filling your PC with apps and games you don’t want or use – but a new trick has been discovered that lets you install Windows 11 without all that junk.
As Windows Latest found, the trick is pretty easy to pull off – all you need to do is set your region to English (World) during the setup process.
Choosing this (or European English) in the ‘Time and currency format’ drop-down list during setup causes an issue where Windows 11’s setup services cannot communicate with Microsoft’s services, due to them using the en-001 and en-150 language codes.
This causes an “OOBEREGION” error message to appear. While that might seem a little scary (it even puts the error name in red, just for emphasis), you can select ‘Skip’ which will continue with the installation.
Even better, it means you’ll end up with a fresh Windows 11 installation with no annoying bloatware – just the basic, essential, apps.
“Bloatware” is the less-than charitable name for apps and games that come pre-installed on your devices. If you’ve ever bought a PC or laptop from a major manufacturer, you’ll likely find that the first time you boot up Windows 11, there are a load of additional applications already installed, such as trials for anti-virus software.
While some pre-installed apps may be useful, for most people, these applications are never used, and simply take up space on your hard drive, slow down Windows when it boots, and can even throw up annoying pop-up notifications asking you to subscribe.
Sadly, in recent years, Microsoft has been getting in on the act as well, which means even if you build your own PC, or perform a clean install of Windows 11, there will still be unwanted apps included.
So, this rather useful trick is certainly welcome, as it’ll mean you’ll get a much cleaner experience, and your Start menu will only be filled with essential Windows apps, as well as any apps you install yourself.
This doesn’t stop third-party apps from your laptop manufacturer appearing, but if you want to perform a clean install from Microsoft’s own installation software (rather than from the software your PC/laptop manufacturer provides), then you’ll get a fresh bloatware-free version of Windows 11.
You’ll need to put your region back to your current location when done, to make sure everything works as normal.
Unfortunately, this workaround may not last forever, as Windows Latest reports that a Microsoft spokesperson told the website that the company was aware of it, and is looking into it.
That means Microsoft is likely to patch this out in an upcoming Windows 11 update. This is a shame, but not entirely surprising. Like manufacturers of the best laptops, Microsoft likely gets money from the makers of the apps and games it preinstalls, so it’ll want to make sure they get installed.
This workaround also exploits an issue with how Microsoft’s services struggle to handle some language codes, and the company will also be keen to fix that, especially if it could lead to other, less useful, side effects.