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August 3, 2020

Reset Any Windows Store App Via PowerShell

From time to time, apps obtained from the Windows Store may become ill-behaved or unresponsive. Before going to the effort of uninstalling and reinstalling such apps, you might want to try a reset first. As is so often the case, there’s a PowerShell cmdlet to handle that function. It’s called Reset-AppxPackage, and it’s available in Windows Builds number 20175 and higher (Dev Channel Insider Previews, in other words, as I write this). But to use this command you have to first call the Get-AppxPackage command to identify the app you’d like to have reset. By itself you can use that “Get” command to show you the name of the app that Reset-AppxPackage needs to do its job. I’ll illustrate with an example, then provide some general principles worth employing from time to time.

Let’s Reset the Windows Store App Itself

The Windows Store can itself go off the rails occasionally. I’ve seen it unable or unwilling to update store apps (something it normally does every day). I’ve also seen its UI misbehave, with either (or both) search and display issues. It makes a good target for a “reset” operation when things like that happen. To get the full name of the Store app, enter Get-AppxPackage -name "*WindowsStore". This means “show me information about any app that includes the string “WindowsStore” within its name. Here’s what that output looks like in PowerShell:

Reset Any Windows Store App Via PowerShell.getnameinfo

Note the string in the first (“Name”) field: Microsoft.WindowsStore. That’s what you need!
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Name in Hand, We Can Reset the Windows Store

The general syntax to reset a Windows Store app takes the form Get-AppxPackage <Package Name> | Reset-AppxPackage. You could read this as “reset the package whose name is supplied to the get-package cmdlet.” We know the Package Name for the Windows Store is the string “Microsoft.WindowsStore” so that’s what we need to reset the Microsoft Store in PowerShell. Thus, the syntax becomes Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.WindowsStore | Reset-AppxPackage. Here’s what that plays like in PowerShell (except I couldn’t capture the green progress bar that showed me the reset command was processed, because it came and went too quickly to grab):

Not much to see here, but the whole thing is pretty ho-hum. Basically, no error message means: It worked!
[Click image for full-sized view.]

As long as you can get the Package Name for the app you wish to reset, they’re dead simple to reset using PowerShell. I’m hoping this means you could reset all apps in PowerShell using a wildcard character for the Package Name. But I don’t want to try that until I’ve got a current backup for my Dev Channel install! If anything goes wrong, I’m dead meat otherwise. This is one of the few PowerShell cmdlets I’ve run into that I wish they would back-port into earlier releases. I could actually use this on my 1909 and 2004 PCs, test and production machines equally. It’s great!

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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