Windows 11

VBScript as a removable Windows 11 feature?

While I generally appreciate Microsoft’s efforts to provide ways to remove old stuff from Windows (and I wish this removal also removed the files from \Windows\WinSXS to free up disk space, but historically this hasn’t happened), an interesting one has shown up in the latest Windows Insider builds, per Neowin: An option to remove VBScript.

Not surprisingly, when you remove this you can no longer run VBScripts using CSCRIPT.EXE or WSCRIPT.EXE:

Looking at the file system, the VBScript.dll has been removed from both C:\Windows\System32 and C:\Windows\Syswow64, as well as from the registry (hence the “no script engine” error above). The VBScript.dll is still in the WinSXS folder (also as expected, so you can still add the VBScript feature back in again and it doesn’t need to pull the file from Windows Update or media).

So what’s the implication of this? Obviously you can’t run VBScripts if you remove VBScript. But what else uses VBScript? For one, the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit does. So you wouldn’t be able to use MDT with any system that doesn’t have the VBScript engine installed (unless of course you switched to use all PowerShell, using something like PSD).

The next step would be to completely remove VBScript from Windows, but it’s unlikely for that to happen any time soon, unless Microsoft were to find that most people had already manually removed it. So the impact could be low — but there’s always the possibility of an overly-paranoid security person (well, I guess all security people are overly-paranoid because they know the bad guys are actually out to get them) setting a new company policy…

Categories: Windows 11

Tagged as: , , ,

3 replies »

  1. I wonder if replacements for slmgr.vbs and ospp.vbs on the way. I don’t believe there are official replacements since the MS docs still reference those. Time for a project to rewrite them in Pwsh.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lots of stuff in VBS even in Win11. winrm.vbs, gatherNetworkInfo.vbs, all of the contents of Printing_Admin_Scripts, etc. etc. It seems like removing it would be a bad thing. (Aside from the many scripts I still have/use that are in VBS, because “why rewrite it if it works?”)

    Liked by 1 person