How can I prevent my UWP app from showing up in the Start menu?

Raymond Chen

Customers developing UWP applications have asked if there is a way to prevent the app from appearing in the Start menu. For example, printer manufacturers have a UWP print extension app that is launched automatically by the Print Settings UI. They don’t want the user launching their print extension app directly; they want the user to do it through the system printing UI. Is there a way to remove the app from the Start menu?

Yes: In your manifest, go to the VisualElements element and add the attribute AppListEntry="none".

This removes the app from the Start menu, as well as from Search. The app does remain visible in the Apps & features list of all apps, so that the user can uninstall it. If the app is registered for any extension points, such as file types or protocols, the app will show up in the corresponding UI for controlling those extension points.

Disappearing from the Start menu does not render your app unlaunchable. The app can raise toast notifications that will launch the app when clicked. And the app can be launched programmatically by methods such as Launcher.Launch­Uri­Async and Launcher.Launch­File­Async, say because the application is the registered default handler for the URI or file type. If the app is a handler but not the default handler, the caller can specify an explicit Target­Application­Package­Family­Name to get the app to launch.

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    A lot of this is moot now because the Windows 11 shell is such a mean-spirited power play that more people are going to write their own without all of these rules. Custom Taskbars and Start Menus are easier to create in XAML now than anyone realizes. Converging the Windows desktop to Apple’s look and feel when Apple can’t move desktop machines out the door to save their lives is hilariously suspicious. Apple is a two-hit-wonder. Nothing they do justifies their income or stock value.

    The only sticking point is a nasty little discovery…. Aero Glass appears to be software-rendered inside the explorer.exe Taskbar process, so if you replace the shell you don’t get Aero Glass. And if Explorer is slow for any reason the effect doesn’t get applied to the target window fast enough. Let’s see how good the Feedback Hub is at getting that fixed…

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