I have several Windows 8.1 Pro machines connected to my domain controller which is a 2008R2 server. I cannot figure out how to remove the Windows Store, Sky Drive and Photos from the start screen. Can I do this with a GPO or ??

Edit: Actually I would like to remove all access to the Windows store as well as remove those icons from the start screen.

  • What research did you do? technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn467928.aspx. – MDMoore313 Apr 15 '14 at 15:26
  • I found only ways to customize the start screen with an XML, nothing about access to the windows store. – Brandon Bearden Apr 15 '14 at 15:28
  • You should update your question with what you've done so far, settings, research, etc. It's part of the criteria for a good question on this site. – MDMoore313 Apr 15 '14 at 15:30
  • A Google Search for your title pulled up technet's article on the subject as the very first link. In that article, there is a link titled Manage Client Access to the Windows Store. This makes me believe you did little, if any, actual research before asking here. – HopelessN00b Apr 15 '14 at 15:34
  • No, you are completely wrong. I said 2008-R2 NOT windows server 2012. There is nothing I can find that shows how to disable the windows store on Server 2008 R2. I can edit the GPO on each machine directly, but this is not what I want. Also, a google search for me doesn't show the result you are talking about. – Brandon Bearden Apr 15 '14 at 15:41

You can easily do this using the Administrative Templates that ship with Windows 8.1

You can import the Administrative templates by copying the *.admx and *.adml files from %systemroot%\policyDefinitions on your Windows 8.1 machine to your Domain Controller (preferably to the Central Store, alternatively to %systemroot%\policyDefinitions)

Alternatively, install RSAT on a Windows 8.1 and launch the Group Policy Management Console from there

Windows Store

(Computer and/or User Configuration setting)

You can Turn off the Store application entirely from:

  • Administrative Templates
    • Windows Components
      • Store

Enable the Turn off the Store application policy


(Computer Configuration setting only)

This policy will only work for Windows 8.1, almost the same place:

  • Administrative Templates
    • Windows Components
      • SkyDrive

Enable the Prevent the usage of SkyDrive for file storage policy

Update: As you probably know, SkyDrive is officially being renamed to OneDrive. So if you’re reading this after the change, instead of looking for SkyDrive, Locate OneDrive — also in the Components section.

The Start screen

(User Configuration setting only)

To deploy a customized Start screen, please follow this guide:

  1. Customize your start screen as you want it, using the GUI. All live tiles can be customized from a right-click
  2. Use the Export-StartLayout cmdlet to export your new customized start screen as an XML file
  3. Copy the xml file to a network share (ie. SYSVOL)
  4. Reference the UNC path to the XML layout in the following Policy:

    • Administrative Templates
      • Start Menu and Taskbar
        • Start Screen Layout
  • 1
    This has to be done locally on all 9 computers though right? I can't do this with server 2008 R2? And thank you for the answer instead of comments saying "you didn't research". – Brandon Bearden Apr 15 '14 at 15:44
  • That's a GPO you can do on Server 2008 R2 so you don't have to do this locally. My recommendation is to look up Group Policy and how they are utilized. If you're using a domain it is much easier to use server side GPO. – Travis Apr 15 '14 at 15:51
  • Hm. Okay, I will look closer. When I found that particular GOP in some documentation before I asked the question it said it is only applicable to Windows Server 2012 or later. – Brandon Bearden Apr 15 '14 at 15:52
  • I take that back. It's for Server 2012. I verified on it a 2008 machine that it is not there. Give me a second and I'll post an answer alternative. – Travis Apr 15 '14 at 15:56
  • 2
    I've updated the answer to include instructions on how to deploy it from Windows 2008 R2, you'll just need to import the ADMX files from a Windows 8.1 machine – Mathias R. Jessen Apr 15 '14 at 15:57

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.