I’ve seen all the grumbling about the consumer Teams app (the one with the white “T” icon) being a bit of a pain to remove, which I didn’t understand — it’s just another provisioned MSIX app, right? The real story is a bit more complicated.
First, I confused myself while working on a previous blog post. I could clearly see when I was getting a list of the provisioned apps in Windows 11 RTM that Microsoft Teams was there:
And it’s the biggest app at about 90MB. But later, I was working with Windows 11 Enterprise from the April 2022 ISO (downloaded from https://my.visualstudio.com) and that app wasn’t present as a provisioned app. Surely that means that it’s no longer a provisioned app, right? Well, as it turns out, no, that’s not right (as plenty of people pointed out to me on Twitter).
So I watched what happens on a Windows 11 device. I went through OOBE, joined AAD, got to the desktop, checked for Teams (consume) and it’s not there. OK, good, time for bed. In the morning, I checked again, and it’s still not there. That eliminates one theory, that it is installed after you log in for the first time.
Next, I clicked on the Chat button on the task bar, knowing that it launches Teams. What will it do if Teams isn’t there? To see that, I first launched ProcMon and watched what the system was up to. I could clearly see that clicking on the Chat button triggers the installation of the Teams (consumer) app from the Microsoft Store: it gets downloaded and extracted (pretty quickly in my case, I have a good internet connection so it feels “nearly instantaneous”) on the fly, then launched. OK, great, but when I look it’s still not provisioned, it’s just installed for the current user. My only guess is that the app will eventually self-update and provision itself so that it installs for every user on the device, but I don’t have any great desire to wait around that long to see if that is indeed what happens.
So we’re back to the real question: How do we keep it from installing in the first place? The real trick is then that Chat button — get rid of that, and you can’t trigger the installation. But what mechanisms are available to get rid of the Chat button? Fortunately, the Twitter thread included a message from Vadim Sterkin that had an answer from his blog (in Russian, but easily translated into English): there’s an unattend.xml setting for it called ConfigureChatAutoInstall. And that same blog points to a Policy registry key — if that exists, there must be a GPO and hopefully an MDM setting to do the same thing.
A quick Bing search takes me to Jörgen Nilsson’s blog on the topic (somewhat ironic and fitting, since I’m presenting a session with him next week that will include this). That confirms that there are both. The GPO can be found at “Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Chat”:
The MDM setting (which is documented, unlike the unattend.xml setting) is pretty much the same:
The same information can be found in the Microsoft docs. That’s the first Bing hit when you search for ConfigureChatIcon. Too bad I didn’t start my search that way…