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Automating IT: A Script to Disable the Microsoft Store Across Your Network

Managing user permissions and application access within an enterprise network can be a tough and time-consuming task. However, scripts that automatically handle these tasks can be a lifesaver for IT professionals and Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Today, we’re focusing on a PowerShell script designed to disable the Windows Store for all users and newly created users using AppLocker. This script is tailored for Windows 10 and Server 2016 systems, offering several configurable options, such as excluding specific users and targeting only existing users.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the different aspects of the script and why it could be an invaluable addition to your IT toolbox.

The Script

#Requires -Version 5.1

<#
.SYNOPSIS
    Disables the Windows Store for all users and newly created users using AppLocker. Can be given a comma separated list
    of users to exclude.
.DESCRIPTION
    Disables the Windows Store for all users and newly created users using AppLocker. Can be given a comma separated list
    of users to exclude.
.EXAMPLE
    (No Parameters)
    
    WARNING: Creating AppLocker rule for user or group "Interactive"...
    Registry::HKEY_USERSDefaultProfileSoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsStoreRemoveWindowsStore changed from 0 to 1
    Registry::HKEY_USERSS-1-5-21-3870645062-3653562310-3850680542-1001SoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsStoreRemoveWindowsStore changed from 0 to 1
    Registry::HKEY_USERSS-1-5-21-3870645062-3653562310-3850680542-1002SoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsStoreRemoveWindowsStore changed from 0 to 1

PARAMETER: -ExcludeUsers "Test1,Test2"
    A comma seperated list of users to exclude. Please note newly created users will not have the windows store disabled.
.EXAMPLE
    -ExcludeUsers "Test1,Test2"

    WARNING: The Following Users and newly created users will not have the windows store disabled. Test1 Test2
    Registry::HKEY_USERSS-1-5-21-3870645062-3653562310-3850680542-1002SoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsStoreRemoveWindowsStore changed from 0 to 1
    WARNING: Creating AppLocker rule for user or group "tuser"...

PARAMETER: -ExistingUsersOnly
    This will disable the Windows store for existing users only.
.EXAMPLE
    -ExistingUsersOnly

    WARNING: Only existing users will have the windows store disabled!
    Set Registry::HKEY_USERSS-1-5-21-3870645062-3653562310-3850680542-1001SoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsStoreRemoveWindowsStore to 1
    WARNING: Creating AppLocker rule for user or group "kbohlander"...
    Set Registry::HKEY_USERSS-1-5-21-3870645062-3653562310-3850680542-1002SoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsStoreRemoveWindowsStore to 1
    WARNING: Creating AppLocker rule for user or group "tuser"...
.OUTPUTS
    None
.NOTES
    Minimum OS Architecture Supported: Windows 10, Server 2016
    Release Notes:
    Initial Release
By using this script, you indicate your acceptance of the following legal terms as well as our Terms of Use at https://www.ninjaone.com/terms-of-use.
    Ownership Rights: NinjaOne owns and will continue to own all right, title, and interest in and to the script (including the copyright). NinjaOne is giving you a limited license to use the script in accordance with these legal terms. 
    Use Limitation: You may only use the script for your legitimate personal or internal business purposes, and you may not share the script with another party. 
    Republication Prohibition: Under no circumstances are you permitted to re-publish the script in any script library or website belonging to or under the control of any other software provider. 
    Warranty Disclaimer: The script is provided “as is” and “as available”, without warranty of any kind. NinjaOne makes no promise or guarantee that the script will be free from defects or that it will meet your specific needs or expectations. 
    Assumption of Risk: Your use of the script is at your own risk. You acknowledge that there are certain inherent risks in using the script, and you understand and assume each of those risks. 
    Waiver and Release: You will not hold NinjaOne responsible for any adverse or unintended consequences resulting from your use of the script, and you waive any legal or equitable rights or remedies you may have against NinjaOne relating to your use of the script. 
    EULA: If you are a NinjaOne customer, your use of the script is subject to the End User License Agreement applicable to you (EULA).
#>

[CmdletBinding()]
param (
    [Parameter()]
    [String[]]$ExcludeUsers,
    [Parameter()]
    [Switch]$ExistingUsersOnly
)

begin {
    function Test-IsElevated {
        $id = [System.Security.Principal.WindowsIdentity]::GetCurrent()
        $p = New-Object System.Security.Principal.WindowsPrincipal($id)
        $p.IsInRole([System.Security.Principal.WindowsBuiltInRole]::Administrator)
    }

    function Test-IsSystem {
        $id = [System.Security.Principal.WindowsIdentity]::GetCurrent()
        return $id.Name -like "NT AUTHORITY*" -or $id.IsSystem
    }

    if (!(Test-IsElevated) -and !(Test-IsSystem)) {
        Write-Error -Message "Access Denied. Please run with Administrator privileges."
        exit 1
    }
    
    # Setting up some functions to be used later.
    function Set-HKProperty {
        param (
            $Path,
            $Name,
            $Value,
            [ValidateSet('DWord', 'QWord', 'String', 'ExpandedString', 'Binary', 'MultiString', 'Unknown')]
            $PropertyType = 'DWord'
        )
        if (-not $(Test-Path -Path $Path)) {
            # Check if path does not exist and create the path
            New-Item -Path $Path -Force | Out-Null
        }
        if ((Get-ItemProperty -Path $Path -Name $Name -ErrorAction Ignore)) {
            # Update property and print out what it was changed from and changed to
            $CurrentValue = (Get-ItemProperty -Path $Path -Name $Name -ErrorAction Ignore).$Name
            try {
                Set-ItemProperty -Path $Path -Name $Name -Value $Value -Force -Confirm:$false -ErrorAction Stop | Out-Null
            }
            catch {
                Write-Error "[Error] Unable to Set registry key for $Name please see below error!"
                Write-Error $_
                exit 1
            }
            Write-Host "$Path$Name changed from $CurrentValue to $($(Get-ItemProperty -Path $Path -Name $Name -ErrorAction Ignore).$Name)"
        }
        else {
            # Create property with value
            try {
                New-ItemProperty -Path $Path -Name $Name -Value $Value -PropertyType $PropertyType -Force -Confirm:$false -ErrorAction Stop | Out-Null
            }
            catch {
                Write-Error "[Error] Unable to Set registry key for $Name please see below error!"
                Write-Error $_
                exit 1
            }
            Write-Host "Set $Path$Name to $($(Get-ItemProperty -Path $Path -Name $Name -ErrorAction Ignore).$Name)"
        }
    }

    # This will get all the registry path's for all actual users (not system or network service account but actual users.)
    function Get-UserHives {
        param (
            [Parameter()]
            [ValidateSet('AzureAD', 'DomainAndLocal', 'All')]
            [String]$Type = "All",
            [Parameter()]
            [String[]]$ExcludedUsers,
            [Parameter()]
            [switch]$IncludeDefault
        )

        # User account SID's follow a particular patter depending on if they're azure AD or a Domain account or a local "workgroup" account.
        $Patterns = switch ($Type) {
            "AzureAD" { "S-1-12-1-(d+-?){4}$" }
            "DomainAndLocal" { "S-1-5-21-(d+-?){4}$" }
            "All" { "S-1-12-1-(d+-?){4}$" ; "S-1-5-21-(d+-?){4}$" } 
        }

        # We'll need the NTuser.dat file to load each users registry hive. So we grab it if their account sid matches the above pattern. 
        $UserProfiles = Foreach ($Pattern in $Patterns) { 
            Get-ItemProperty "HKLM:SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionProfileList*" |
                Where-Object { $_.PSChildName -match $Pattern } | 
                Select-Object @{Name = "SID"; Expression = { $_.PSChildName } }, 
                @{Name = "UserHive"; Expression = { "$($_.ProfileImagePath)NTuser.dat" } }, 
                @{Name = "UserName"; Expression = { "$($_.ProfileImagePath | Split-Path -Leaf)" } }
        }

        # There are some situations where grabbing the .Default user's info is needed.
        switch ($IncludeDefault) {
            $True {
                $DefaultProfile = "" | Select-Object UserName, SID, UserHive
                $DefaultProfile.UserName = "Default"
                $DefaultProfile.SID = "DefaultProfile"
                $DefaultProfile.Userhive = "$env:SystemDriveUsersDefaultNTUSER.DAT"
                $DefaultProfile | Where-Object { $ExcludedUsers -notcontains $_.UserName }
            }
        }

        $UserProfiles | Where-Object { $ExcludedUsers -notcontains $_.UserName }
    }

    function New-WindowStoreBlock {
        param(
            [Parameter()]
            [String]$User
        )

        Write-Warning "Creating AppLocker rule for user or group `"$User`"..."
        [xml]$AppLockerTemplate = Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name "Microsoft.WindowsStore" | Get-AppLockerFileInformation | New-AppLockerPolicy -User "$User" -Optimize -Xml
        $AppLockerTemplate.AppLockerPolicy.RuleCollection.EnforcementMode = "Enabled"
        $AppLockerTemplate.AppLockerPolicy.RuleCollection.FilePublisherRule.Action = "Deny"
        $AppLockerTemplate.AppLockerPolicy.RuleCollection.FilePublisherRule.Conditions.FilePublisherCondition.BinaryVersionRange.LowSection = "*"
        $AppLockerTemplate.Save("$env:TEMPapplocker.xml")
        Set-AppLockerPolicy -XmlPolicy "$env:TEMPapplocker.xml" -Merge
        Remove-Item "$env:TEMPapplocker.xml"
    }
}
process {
    if ($env:ExistingUsersOnly) { $ExistingUsersOnly = $env:ExistingUsersOnly }
    # This registry key only works sometimes. It's worth setting if its an older windows build or has an older version of the store installed.
    $Path = "SoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsStore"
    $Name = "RemoveWindowsStore"
    $Value = 1
    
    # Get each user profile SID and Path to the profile. If there are any exclusions we'll have to take them into account.
    if ($ExcludeUsers -or $env:ExcludeUsers -or $ExistingUsersOnly) {
        if ($env:ExcludeUsers) {
            $ToBeExcluded = @()
            $ToBeExcluded += $env:ExcludeUsers.split(",").trim()
        }

        if ($ExcludeUsers) {
            $ToBeExcluded = @()
            $ToBeExcluded += $ExcludeUsers.split(",").trim()
        }

        if ($ToBeExcluded) { 
            Write-Warning "The Following Users and newly created users will not have the windows store disabled. $ToBeExcluded"
            $UserProfiles = Get-UserHives -ExcludedUsers $ToBeExcluded 
        }
        elseif ($ExistingUsersOnly) { 
            Write-Warning "Only existing users will have the windows store disabled!"
            $UserProfiles = Get-UserHives 
        }
    }
    else {
        $UserProfiles = Get-UserHives -IncludeDefault
    }

    [xml]$AppLockerXML = '<AppLockerPolicy Version="1"><RuleCollection Type="Appx" EnforcementMode="Enabled"><FilePublisherRule Id="a9e18c21-ff8f-43cf-b9fc-db40eed693ba" Name="(Default Rule) All signed packaged apps" Description="Allows members of the Everyone group to run packaged apps that are signed." UserOrGroupSid="S-1-1-0" Action="Allow"><Conditions><FilePublisherCondition PublisherName="*" ProductName="*" BinaryName="*"><BinaryVersionRange LowSection="0.0.0.0" HighSection="*" /></FilePublisherCondition></Conditions></FilePublisherRule></RuleCollection></AppLockerPolicy>'
    $AppLockerXML.Save("$env:TEMPapplocker.xml")
    Set-AppLockerPolicy -XmlPolicy "$env:TEMPapplocker.xml" -Merge
    Remove-Item "$env:TEMPapplocker.xml"

    if (!$ToBeExcluded -and !$ExistingUsersOnly) {
        New-WindowStoreBlock -User "Interactive"
    }

    $script:DisabledWinRun = $true
    $failedUsers = @()
    # Loop through each profile on the machine
    Foreach ($UserProfile in $UserProfiles) {
        # Load User ntuser.dat if it's not already loaded
        If (($ProfileWasLoaded = Test-Path Registry::HKEY_USERS$($UserProfile.SID)) -eq $false) {
            Start-Process -FilePath "cmd.exe" -ArgumentList "/C reg.exe LOAD HKU$($UserProfile.SID) `"$($UserProfile.UserHive)`"" -Wait -WindowStyle Hidden
        }

        # Manipulate the registry
        $key = "Registry::HKEY_USERS$($UserProfile.SID)$($Path)"
        Set-HKProperty -Path $key -Name $Name -Value $Value -PropertyType DWord

        # This will be our applocker policy we'll need to tweak it prior to running it
        if ($UserProfile.SID -notlike "DefaultProfile") {
            if ($ToBeExcluded -or $ExistingUsersOnly) {
                New-WindowStoreBlock -User "$($UserProfile.UserName)"
            }
        }

        if ($(Get-ItemProperty -Path $key -Name $Name -ErrorAction Ignore).$Name -ne $Value) {
            $script:DisabledWinRun = $false
            $failedUsers += $UserProfile.UserName
        }
        
        # Unload NTuser.dat
        If ($ProfileWasLoaded -eq $false) {
            [gc]::Collect()
            Start-Sleep 1
            Start-Process -FilePath "cmd.exe" -ArgumentList "/C reg.exe UNLOAD HKU$($UserProfile.SID)" -Wait -WindowStyle Hidden | Out-Null
        }
    }
    
    Start-Process -FilePath "cmd.exe" -ArgumentList "/C sc config `"AppIDSvc`" start=auto & net start `"AppIDSvc`"" -WindowStyle Hidden | Out-Null
    Start-Sleep -Seconds 30
    if ($script:DisabledWinRun) {
        # All $UserProfiles updated
        exit 0
    }
    else {
        $failedUsers | ForEach-Object { Write-Error "Failed to update user `"$_`"" }
        Write-Error "One or more user profiles failed to update"
        exit 1
    }
}
end {}

 

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Key Features of the Script

Elevated Permissions Check

Before the script can make changes, it verifies if it’s being run with administrator permissions. This is essential for applying changes across system settings and user accounts.

Flexibility in User Exclusions

If you don’t want to apply the settings to all users, you have the option to specify a comma-separated list of users to exclude.

Option for Existing Users Only

If you’d rather not affect newly created accounts, there’s a parameter for that too.

Registry Manipulation

The script utilizes the Windows Registry to enforce policy changes, ensuring that they are deeply rooted and will survive system reboots.

AppLocker Integration

The script goes beyond simple registry changes by also creating an AppLocker rule to block the Windows Store, adding an extra layer of security.

How MSPs Can Benefit

Client-Specific Customization

With the option to exclude specific users, MSPs can tailor the script’s behavior according to the unique needs of each client.

Scalability

Whether you’re managing a small business network or a multi-national corporation, this script scales effortlessly, thanks to its automation capabilities.

Compliance

Many industries require strict compliance guidelines that restrict application usage. This script aids in achieving that compliance by blocking access to unauthorized applications from the Windows Store.

Value-Added Service

MSPs can offer this as a part of their security package, making their service more attractive to potential clients.

Wrapping Up

Security and compliance are two sides of the same coin in IT management. This PowerShell script makes it easier to achieve both by automating the process of disabling the Windows Store across multiple user accounts, with customizable options for different use cases. Both IT professionals and MSPs stand to gain significant time savings, enhanced security, and streamlined management by incorporating this script into their regular workflows.

Next Steps

Building an efficient and effective IT team requires a centralized solution that acts as your core service deliver tool. NinjaOne enables IT teams to monitor, manage, secure, and support all their devices, wherever they are, without the need for complex on-premises infrastructure.

Learn more about NinjaOne Remote Script Deployment, check out a live tour, or start your free trial of the NinjaOne platform.

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NinjaOne Terms & Conditions

By clicking the “I Accept” button below, you indicate your acceptance of the following legal terms as well as our Terms of Use:

  • Ownership Rights: NinjaOne owns and will continue to own all right, title, and interest in and to the script (including the copyright). NinjaOne is giving you a limited license to use the script in accordance with these legal terms.
  • Use Limitation: You may only use the script for your legitimate personal or internal business purposes, and you may not share the script with another party.
  • Republication Prohibition: Under no circumstances are you permitted to re-publish the script in any script library belonging to or under the control of any other software provider.
  • Warranty Disclaimer: The script is provided “as is” and “as available”, without warranty of any kind. NinjaOne makes no promise or guarantee that the script will be free from defects or that it will meet your specific needs or expectations.
  • Assumption of Risk: Your use of the script is at your own risk. You acknowledge that there are certain inherent risks in using the script, and you understand and assume each of those risks.
  • Waiver and Release: You will not hold NinjaOne responsible for any adverse or unintended consequences resulting from your use of the script, and you waive any legal or equitable rights or remedies you may have against NinjaOne relating to your use of the script.
  • EULA: If you are a NinjaOne customer, your use of the script is subject to the End User License Agreement applicable to you (EULA).