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Getting rid of Teams (consumer), revisited

My previous post on removing the consumer version of Teams from Windows 11 (to avoid confusion when you’re going to install the business version of Teams) had some holes. Rather than edit that post, I figured it’s best to just start from scratch.

First, let’s review. Why are there two versions of Teams? That’s a question that no one seems to be able to answer, and hopefully it’s a temporary problem that will some day go away with a “grand unification” release of the Teams client. Until then, you could end up with a computer that has both:

So the blue “T” is the good version and the white “T” is the undesirable version, which is also tied to the chat icon in the taskbar on Windows 11.

We want to remove the version with the white “T”. That should be simple, right? It’s just an app, you can uninstall it. Well, kind of — it’s an app that isn’t installed in Windows 11 but instead gets installed automatically after a user signs in. That’s rather annoying.

Initially there was an MDM and group policy setting that could be used to hide the “Chat” icon (where that chat functionality is provided by the consumer Teams app). The GPO setting can be found at “Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Chat”:

The MDM setting (which is documented) is pretty much the same:

URI: ./Device/Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Experience/ConfigureChatIcon
Value: 3

But that doesn’t do anything to the app itself, it just removes the chat icon. The app still installs automatically and can run in the background, even if you aren’t using it. So how do you keep it from installing?

Vadim Sterkin had the answer in his blog: there’s an unattend.xml setting that you can specify called “ConfigureChatAutoInstall.” A few months back, that wasn’t documented (seems the Windows 11 docs took a while to catch up after the release), but it is now. So if you’re doing image-based installs with an unattend.xml file, that’s your answer.

If you are using Autopilot, it gets a little more interesting since you can’t use the unattend.xml approach in that case. With no GPO to fall back on, you have to do some reverse-engineering to figure out what that unattend.xml entry does. Fortunately, Vadim already did that work:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Communications]
ConfigureChatAutoInstall=0

Doing that edit is a little more trouble than it should be since that registry key is only writable by the TrustedInstaller account:

There are some scripts and tools (e.g. the one at the bottom of this post) that can help with that.

Combine that with the separate policy to get rid of the chat icon and you should be set.

Categories: Uncategorized, Windows 11

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