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One reason to keep the Mail & Calendar app

One reason to keep the Mail & Calendar app

After setting up your alternative browser, adjust two groups of settings to make it the default in place of Microsoft Edge. The first step is obvious: go to Settings > Apps > Default Apps, click Web Browser, and choose your browser.

After doing that, finish the job by clicking Set Defaults By App from the bottom of that page. Open the settings for Microsoft Edge, shown here, and change the defaults for opening URLs, PDF documents, and other file types.

You probably already have a preferred way to access your email and calendar from your PC. For most Office users, that’s the Outlook app in Office; for Gmail users, it’s a web browser.

Not so fast. Setting up this app so that it syncs with the account that holds your primary calender offers one benefit that you can’t get otherwise: It automatically gives you a view of upcoming appointments and meetings when you click the calendar at the right side of the taskbar.

Office, OneNote, and OneDrive are strictly optional

Are you an Office 365 subscriber? How you answer that question dictates how you should deal with these preinstalled apps from the Office family.

The new Office app (shown here) offers links to individual programs and documents from the cloud. If you’re a diehard Google Apps/GSuite customer, you don’t need it.

OneNote and OneDrive offer cloud-based services that work with a free Microsoft account, even if you aren’t an Office 365 subscriber. You can uninstall OneNote like any other app, but getting rid of OneDrive completely takes a few extra steps. See: “Windows 10 tip: Shut down OneDrive completely.”

Sorry, you can’t uninstall these six apps

If you right-click any of the six apps in this list (Alarms & Clock, Camera, Photos, Maps, Your Phone, and People), you’ll notice there’s no Uninstall option on the menu. That’s because these options have enough hooks into the operating system that removing them could cause unexpected behavior down the line.

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It’s possible to use PowerShell commands or a third-party utility to remove these apps, but I don’t recommend that drastic step. Instead, install alternative apps as needed (your preferred image editor in place of the Photos app) and configure those apps as default. Then use the Unpin From Start option to hide apps you don’t intend to use.

What should you do about Skype?

After you complete your installation, one of the first things Windows 10 does is to download and install the latest version of the Skype app from the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft’s digital media apps are easy to replace

As I’ve noted previously, Microsoft under Satya Nadella has steadily retreated from most consumer products. The Groove Music app no longer allows you to buy music from the Microsoft Store, for example, and the Groove music streaming service is gone, as is the ability to stream tracks from your collection in OneDrive.

The Movies & TV app still lets you buy and rent videos, but the PC app is mostly secondary to the Xbox, which is Microsoft’s primary vehicle for delivering digital content to the living room.

If you don’t need either of these apps, I recommend that you install your preferred alternatives, adjust your default apps as needed, and then uninstall the Groove Music and Movies & TV apps.

Consider keeping these small utilities around

Sticky Notes lets you splatter digital Post-it Notes on your screen; as a bonus, these items show up on their own tab in the OneNote app on iOS.and Android devices.

One app most people are unlikely to use is Voice Recorder, which lets you create, manage, and share voice memos using the default system microphone.