How to Hide Installed Programs in Windows 10

By | March 23, 2022

Don’t let anyone know what you have installed on your PC.

When you install a program on your PC, Windows 10 displays it in the Programs and Features in Control Panel and the Apps & Features list in Settings. What if you want to hide an installed program from this list on your computer?

While Windows 10 doesn’t have a built-in option to hide installed apps, there are three workarounds you can use to hide installed desktop apps from other users on your PC.

Why Hide Installed Programs on Your Computer

There are various reasons you might want to hide the programs installed on your Windows 10 PC. Here are some common reasons:

  • You might want to install a parental control or child monitoring app and you don’t want your kids to know about it. Well, if they can’t see it in the list of installed apps, they can’t delete it.
  • Hiding installed applications in Control Panel can be useful if you share your computer with friends or family and want to restrict certain ways of using the applications.
  • You may have installed certain games on your work computer and you don’t want your boss to know about it.

Regardless of the reason, the methods outlined below will help you hide the installed programs. This method only works for desktop apps and not UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps installed from Microsoft Store.

Hide Individual Programs in Control Panel Using Registry Editor

The Windows Registry has many tricks, and one of them lets you hide certain programs in the Control Panel. This trick involves creating a new DWORD value in the Windows Registry and here’s how you do it.

Incorrectly editing registry entries can damage your system. To prevent it, create restore point before you proceed with the steps below.

Then, follow these steps:

  • Press the button Windows + R to open Run.
  • In the Run box, type regedit and click OK. Click Yes when requested by User Account Control.
  • In Registry Editor, navigate to the following location:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionUninstall
  • For 32-bit applications installed on a 64-bit PC, navigate to the following location:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWow6432NodeMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionUninstall
  • You can copy/paste the above path in Registry Editor’s address bar for quick navigation. If you don’t see the app in the first location, navigate to the second registry path.
  • Inside button Uninstall, locate the program folder you want to hide. For this article, we will hide the browser Google Chrome. So, search for and select the Google Chrome key.
  • Right click on the folder Google Chrome and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  • Rename the new value as SystemComponent.
  • Double click on SystemComponent, insert 1 in the field Value data, and click OK.
  • Closed Registry Editor.

You have successfully hidden the Google Chrome browser. To confirm, go to Control Panel and try to find the app in the installed list.

Repeat these steps for all the individual apps that you want to hide. To make the app appear again, open Registry Editor and delete the value SystemComponent for app lock. Also, disable access to Registry Editor to prevent others from undoing changes.

While this is an effective solution, it may be a time-consuming task if you want to hide all the apps one by one. Luckily, you can use the Group Policy Editor to hide all the programs installed on your PC at once.

Hide All Installed Programs Using Group Policy Editor

Group Policy Editor is an MMC (Microsoft Management Console) snap—allows you to manage policy settings by tweaking Group Policy Objects.

You can use GPE to hide all programs from the uninstall list in Windows 10. However, Group Policy Editor is only available on Windows 10 Pro and above. Luckily, you can still enable GPE on Windows 10 Home edition with several solutions.

After you enable Group Policy Editor, follow these steps to hide software on your PC:

  • Press the button Windows + R to open Run.
  • Type gpedit.msc and click OK to open Group Policy Editor.
  • Next, navigate to the following location:
User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Programs
  • In the right pane, double click on the page Hide “Programs and Features” page.
  • When the pop-up window appears, select Enabled.
  • Click Apply and OK to save changes.

Now, if you go to Control Panel > Programs and Features, you will see a message Your system administrator has disabled programs and features with all installed apps hidden.

To show the app again, edit the policy and select Not Configured.

Be aware that doing this has two drawbacks: 1) you have to hide all installed apps, and 2) the message makes it clear that the app has been hidden by the user.

You can work around this weakness by using a third-party program designed to hide apps from Windows Settings and Control Panel.

use Hide From Uninstall List To Hide All Apps

Hide From Uninstall List is a free Windows utility for hiding one or more software settings in Programs and Features and Applications and Features settings.

Hide From Uninstall List lets you hide all apps without Your system administrator has disabled programs and features.

Here’s how to use this tool:

  • Download and run Hide From Uninstall List app. This is a portable application, so it does not require installation. This makes sense for apps that are supposed to hide installed apps.
  • Right click on the app name and Hide from the Programs and Features list.
  • If you want to hide all apps, click Edit and select Select All.
  • Right click on any app name and select Hide from the Programs and Features list.

To show the program, right click on the application and select Show under the Programs and Features list.

This is an excellent utility for hiding apps without leaving any clues in the Control Panel. However, anyone who knows the Windows operating system can find the installed applications in the folder C:Program Files.

Many Ways to Hide Installed Apps on Windows 10

Windows 10 does not offer a built-in feature to hide installed programs from the Control Panel and Settings. However, a little tweak in the Registry Editor or Group Policy Editor can make it happen. And, if you don’t want to fiddle with system settings or edit registry values, use the Hide From Uninstall List app to hide all your installed programs.

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