Windows automatically tracks and keeps a record of apps you launch. If you don't like that, here's a way to stop app launch tracking in Windows 10.
Windows provides a multitude of ways to launch apps and programs. Every time you launch an app in Windows, it automatically tracks and keeps a record of it. This information helps Windows show the app in the most-used section of the start menu and other sections. In fact, the same information is also used to prioritized search results. As you can guess, you can easily open your regular apps from the most used section without having to search for it.
However, if you don't like Windows tracking all your app launches, you can easily disable app launch tracking in Windows 10. Let me show you how.
Disable or Stop App Launch Tracking
Since tracking app launch activity is a privacy feature, you can find the option to disable it in the privacy section of the Settings app. Just follow the steps as is and you will be done in no time.
1. First, open the Settings app with the Win + I keyboard shortcut. Alternatively, you can also open the Settings app by searching for it in the start menu or by clicking on the "All Settings" button in the Action Center.
2. In the Settings app, go to the "Privacy → General" page. On the right page, toggle the switch under "Let Windows track app launches to improve Start and search results" to "Off" position.
That is it. The feature is instantly disabled and Windows will no longer track app launches. Do keep in mind that from now on, Windows cannot show the most used apps in the start menu due to lack of data.
(Alternative method) via Registry
If you are looking for an alternative method, you can use the Windows Registry to get the job done. Though modifying the registry is relatively easy, I recommend you back up the registry before proceeding.
1. Open the Registry Editor by searching for it in the start menu. Once opened, copy the below path, paste it in the address bar and press Enter. It will take you the Advanced folder.
Note: If you cannot find the Advanced folder, right-click on the "Explorer" key, select "New → Key" and name the folder as "Advanced".
2. Now, right-click on the Advanced folder and select the "New → DWORD value" option. Name the value as "Start_TrackProgs" and press Enter to confirm.
4. Double-click on the value you just created, type "0" in the Value Data field. Click "Ok" to save changes.
5. Close the registry editor and reboot Windows to apply changes.
That is it. You are done. Windows 10 will no longer track app launches. If you want to reverse the change, either delete the "Start_TrackProgs" value or change its value data to "1".
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 enable enhanced search in Windows 10.