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Windows 11 Disable Background Apps

You can disable background apps in Windows 11 and stop them from running all the time. You can disable individual apps, or all apps at once. Also, you can apply this setting to the current user only, or for all users.


Windows 10 has a dedicated privacy page for managing apps running in the background. You can turn off the background work for an individual app or disable that capability altogether. Unlike many other settings, that page did not survive the migration from Windows 10 to Windows 11. As of this writing, the latest operating system from Microsoft has a different UI for preventing apps from running in the background.

For reference: In Windows, you can allow apps from Microsoft Store to run in the background to fetch data, send notifications, etc. Although convenient, that capability can reduce battery performance and increase data usage. By default, Windows allows every Store app to run in the background. If you are not OK with that, this article will show you how to disable apps running in the background in Windows 11.

Note: This article applies only to the apps you have installed from Microsoft Store. All the other apps downloaded elsewhere do not have corresponding settings for managing the background work. Also, preventing apps from running in the background does not mean you cannot use them. You can launch those apps and work with them as with any other program.

Disable Background Apps in Windows 11

You can use the Settings app to prevent individual Store programs from having the background activity. Also, it is possible to stop the background activity for all Store apps at once. Finally, you can use Group Policy to set the desired behavior for all user accounts on your computer. Let's review these methods.

Disable Background Apps in Settings

  1. Open Settings in Windows 11. You can use the Win + I shortcut or any other method.
  2. Go to the Apps section and click Apps and Features.
  3. Find the app you want to prevent from running in the background. Click the three-dots button and select Advanced Options.
  4. Find the Background Apps Permissions section and choose the value you want. By default, Windows 11 sets the Power Optimized mode. It allows Windows to manage how apps work in the background. For example, the system will automatically turn off all apps once you enable power-saving mode to preserve the battery.
  5. Select Never to prevent an app from running in the background. Note that you may switch from Power Optimized to Always if you have noticed that the program does not send you notifications, fails to update data, etc.
  6. Repeat the steps above for other apps.

You are done.

Unfortunately, Windows 11 does not include an option in Settings to turn off the background work for all apps with a single kill switch. However, while the GUI option is not present, this still can be done with a Registry tweak.

Prevent All Apps at Once from Running in the Background in Registry

  1. Open the Registry editor; for that, press Win + R and type regedit, then hit Enter.
  2. Open the following Registry branch: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\BackgroundAccessApplications.
  3. On the right, modify or create a new 32-Bit DWORD value GlobalUserDisabled.
  4. Set its value data to 1 to prevent all apps from running in the background.
  5. Sign out from your user account to apply the change, then sign-in back.

To undo the change later, change the GlobalUserDisabled value to 0, or simply remove it from the Registry.

Download REG files

To save your time, you can download the ready-to-use Registry files, and allow or prevent the apps from running in the background with one click.

  1. Download the ZIP archive with the REG files from this link.
  2. Extract the two REG files to any folder.
  3. Double click on Disable background apps in Windows 11.reg file to stop all apps running in the background.
  4. Confirm the operation, and sign out from your user account to apply the change.

You have successfully stopped all Windows 11 apps from running in the background. The undo tweak is named Enable background apps in Windows 11.reg. It is also included in the ZIP archive you have downloaded.

Besides the above options, you can use a Group Policy option to disable background apps. This will stop them for all users, too. However, the gpedit.msc tool isn't available in Home editions of Windows 11, so you should apply a REG tweak instead, reviewed in the next chapter.

Disable Windows 11 Background Apps for All Users with Group Policy

  1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor; press Win + R and enter gpedit.msc into the Run text box.
  2. Expand open the left pane to the Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\App Privacy​ folder.
  3. In the right, double-click the Let Windows apps run in the background policy, and set it to Enabled.
  4. Now, in the Default for all apps drop-down menu, select Force Deny.

This will disable all the background apps for all users in Windows 11.

Again, the gpedit.msc app is not included in Windows 11 Home editions, so you need to use a Registry tweak to apply enforcement to all user accounts in Windows 11.

Prevent apps from running in the background for all users in Registry

  1. Open the Registry editor (Win + R > regedit > Enter).
  2. Open the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\AppPrivacy. The AppPrivacy may be missing on your PC, so create it manually. See this guide for reference.
  3. In the right pane, create a new 32 bit DWORD value LetAppsRunInBackground and set its data to 2.
  4. Restart Windows 11.

You are done.

This will disable Windows 11 background apps for all users.

Again, to save your time, you can download ready-to-use REG files.

Download Registry files

  1. Download this ZIP archive and extract to to any folder.
  2. Open the file Disable Background Apps for all users.reg and confirm the changes.
  3. Restart the operating system to enable the enforcement.

The background activity for Store apps is now prohibited. Users won't be able to override the new defaults in the Settings app.

The included Default Settings for Background Apps.reg file will restore the options in Settings and will allow setting the background app behavior per user accounts by removing the Group Policy restrictions.

That's it.

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2 thoughts on “Windows 11 Disable Background Apps

  1. Michael

    GlobalUserDisabled registry key also works for Windows 10.
    Please keep it in mind for future articles. Otherwise it seems like a new feature of Windows 11.

    Reply
  2. Lorry

    Long time user of Winaero Tweaker. Your app and articles are a life-saver, thank you so much!
    How would I disable desktop apps (not store apps) running in the background in W11? Is there any way to simply view all currently running background apps in a single page and select which ones to disable like you could in W10?

    Reply

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