If you don't want users installing new software, you can block the installation of software in Windows 10 with just a few clicks. Here's how.
In Windows, you can install any program with just a few clicks. All you have to do is follow a wizard and you are done. Depending on the program, some require admin rights and some don't. Generally, installing software is pretty painless in Windows. However, depending on circumstances, there might be situations where you need to prevent users from installing new software in Windows. This is especially true for computer illiterate users like the elderly or kids.
If that's ever the case and you want to block users from installing new software in Windows 10, follow the below steps.
Note: The below method will only block the Windows Package Installer. i.e, Windows installer with
Block Software Installation with GPO
Considering how important it is for many admins to block new software in Windows, there is a dedicated group policy object to get the job done. All you have to is enable the policy and you are done.
1. Open the Start menu, search for "Edit Group Policy" and click on the result to open the Group Policy Editor. Alternatively, you can also use the Run command "gpedit.msc".
2. After opening the Group Policy Editor, expand the folder structure on the left panel and go to the following location.
Computer Configurations → Administrative templates → Windows Components → Windows Installer
3. Once you are here, find the "Turn off Windows Installer" policy and double-click on it.
4. As soon as you do that, the policy properties window will open. Here, select the "Enabled" radio option and then select "Always" from the drop-down menu under the "Options" section. Click on the "Ok" button to save changes.
5. After saving the changes, reboot Windows or execute
gpupdate /force command as admin to apply the changes.
That is it. From now on, Windows will block new software installation. If you want to reverse the process, simply select "Not configured" or "Disabled" in the policy properties window.
Alternate Registry Method
If you are using Windows Home edition, you can use the Windows Registry to achieve the same thing. Before proceeding with the steps below, back up the registry to be safe and secure.
1. Open the Registry Editor from the start menu. Next, go to the following location.
2. Once you are here, you will see a value named "Default". Double-click on it.
3. In the value data field, replace "0" with "1". Do not modify the existing path. Click on the "Ok" button to save changes.
4. Next, close the registry editor and reboot Windows.
That is it. From now on, Windows will block the software installation.
As you can see, it is pretty easy to block new software installation in Windows. However, this is not a foolproof method. That is, users can still install software that comes with an .EXE extension. To make things even secure, always give your users a standard user account rather than an admin account. Since most Windows software requires admin rights, you are essentially blocking the new software installing.
That being said, standard users can still install software that doesn't require any admin rights. But that kind of software will have pretty minimal effect on the system as they cannot change or access any system settings or files.
I hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible. If you like this article, do check out how to block users from accessing certain software in Windows.