Remove Windows Xbox DVR

06 February 2016

Another day, another unbelievable experience with Windows.  I went to play Dark Souls today from Steam, and noticed there was now a pop-up when it starts up mentioning some shortcut to Record Audio with Win-Alt-M.  The styling was clearly not Steam, and not something built into the game.  But the overlay and the reference to Recording assured me that some software was now running and taking up significant resources to interfere with my games.  No big surprise that this turned out to be Windows 10 itself.  Also no big surprise, if still infuriating, that it’s also nigh-impossible to stop this extreme intrusion.

First, turn off the ON BY DEFAULT Xbox DVR:

  1. Run the Xbox app (win, type “xbox”, it should appear in the list)
  2. Note that it wants you to Sign In before you can access the settings.  No joke, you have to be online and connect to a Microsoft account to turn off this intrusive OS-level behavior.  Instead, close out of the Xbox app.
  3. Following these instructions from Tom’s Hardware and Reddit, set the following registry settings to 0

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\GameDVR\AppCaptureEnabled

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\System\GameConfigStore\GameDVR_Enabled

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\AllowGameDVR

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\GameDVR\AllowGameDVR

Uninstall the Xbox App

Now, to uninstall this unwanted and intrusive app.  Add/Remove programs, right?  Of course not, this is a hidden app you can’t remove without administrator Powershell voodoo.  Some references here on Reddit and on AskVG for more Powershell details.

  1. Hit windows key and type “Powershell” (don’t click it yet)
  2. Right click Windows Powershell and choose Run As Administrator
  3. Click OK through the UAC prompt
  4. Paste this in and hit enter:

get-appxpackage -allusers *xbox* | remove-appxpackage

You can ignore the failure to install a couple other xbox-related apps.  Hopefully…

Note that some sites claim if you don’t disable the DVR functionality first, it will continue to run even with the Xbox app uninstalled.  So be sure to login (!!!???) to this app to disable DVR before you uninstall the app.

Bonus: NVIDIA Network Streaming Service

While you’re at it, Nvidia makes an interesting comparison to Microsoft’s asinine shenanigans.  Nvidia also has DVR functionality, but sensibly leaves it Off by default until a user expresses enough interested to turn it on.  Unfortunately they did manage to screw up their Shield streaming in one way or another.  It’s now February 2016, and as of April 2015 (that’s 10 months) they claimed they were fixing this issue.  The network streaming service is on by default, and takes up 3-5% of your CPU all the time despite being completely useless to every user without a Shield device (aka: every user).

Here are a couple of references, but tl;dr you can disable this service in Windows Services and call it done.  While this is annoying it at least appears to be a bug rather than malicious, and a hell of a lot easier than the steps required to fix the broken-by-default Xbox app on Windows 10.

Updated 12/26/2016: Windows Anniversary Update appears to have turned all this crap back on again, and randomly changed which registry keys are needed to turn off the crippling GameDVR.  Happy Anniversary!

This entry was posted on 06 February 2016 and is filed under Tech Support.

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