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Find installed applications windows

Use PowerShell to Quickly Find Installed Software

November 13th, 2011

Summary: Learn how to use Windows PowerShell to quickly find installed software on local and remote computers.

Microsoft Scripting Guy Ed Wilson here. Guest Blogger Weekend concludes with Marc Carter. The Scripting Wife and I were lucky enough to attend the first PowerShell User Group meeting in Corpus Christi, Texas. It was way cool, and both Marc and his wife Pam are terrific hosts. Here is what Marc has to say about himself.

I am currently a senior systems administrator with the Department of the Army. I started in the IT industry in 1996 with DOS and various flavors of *NIX. I was introduced to VBScript in 2000, and scripting became a regular obsession sometime in 2005. In 2008, I made the move to Windows PowerShell and have never looked back. My daily responsibilities keep me involved with Active Directory, supporting Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, and various ASP.NET applications. In 2011, I founded the Corpus Christi PowerShell User Group and try to help bring others up to speed on Windows PowerShell.

Take it away, Marc!

One of the life lessons I have learned over the years working in the IT field as a server administrator is that there are often several different valid responses to a situation. It’s one of the things that makes work interesting. Finding the “best” solution to a problem is one of the goals that I think drives many people who are successful at what they do. Occasionally, the best solution is the path of least resistance.

This is one things I love most about working with Windows PowerShell (and scripting in general) is that most problems have more than one solution. Sometimes the “right” way to do something comes down to a matter of opinion or preference. However, sometimes the best solution is dictated by the environment or requirements you are working with.

For instance, let us talk about the task of determining which applications are installed on a system. If you’re familiar with the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) classes and the wealth of information that can be gathered by utilizing the Get-WmiObject cmdlet, an obvious choice might be referencing the Win32_product class . The Win32_Product represents products as they are installed by Windows Installer. It is a prime example of many of the benefits of WMI. It contains several useful methods and a variety of properties. At first glance, Win32_Product would appear to be one of those best solutions in the path of least resistance scenario. A simple command to query Win32_Product with the associated output is shown in the following image.

The benefits of this approach are:

  • This is a simple and straightforward query: Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_Product.
  • It has a high level of detail (for example, Caption, InstallDate, InstallSource, PackageName, Vendor, Version, and so on).

However, because we are talking about alternative routes, let us look at another way to get us to arrive at the same location before we burst the bubble on Win32_Product. Remember, we are simply looking for what has been installed on our systems, and because we have been dealing with WMI, let’s stay with Get-WmiObject, but look at a nonstandard class, Win32Reg_AddRemovePrograms.

What is great about Win32Reg_AddRemovePrograms is that it contains similar properties and returns results noticeably quicker than Win32_Product. The command to use this class is shown in the following figure.

Unfortunately, as seen in the preceding figure, Win32Reg_AddRemovePrograms is not a standard Windows class. This WMI class is only loaded during the installation of an SMS/SCCM client. In the example above, running this on my home laptop, you will see the “Invalid class” error if you try querying against it without an SMS/SCCM client installation. It is possible (as Windows PowerShell MVP Marc van Orsouw points out) to add additional keys to WMI using the Registry Provider, and mimic what SMS/SCCM does behind the scenes. Nevertheless, let us save that for another discussion.

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One other possibly less obvious and slightly more complicated option is diving into the registry. Obviously, monkeying with the registry is not always an IT pro’s first choice because it is sometimes associated with global warming. However, we are just going to query for values and enumerate subkeys. So let’s spend a few moments looking at a method of determining which applications are installed courtesy of another Windows PowerShell MVP and Honorary Scripting Guy Sean Kearney (EnergizedTech). In a script that Sean uploaded to the Microsoft TechNet Script Center Repository , Sean references a technique to enumerate through the registry where the “Currently installed programs” list from the Add or Remove Programs tool stores all of the Windows-compatible programs that have an uninstall program. The key referred to is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall. The script and associated output are shown in the following figure.

Here are the various registry keys:

#Define the variable to hold the location of Currently Installed Programs
$UninstallKey=”SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\Uninstall”
#Create an instance of the Registry Object and open the HKLM base key
$reg=[microsoft.win32.registrykey]::OpenRemoteBaseKey(‘LocalMachine’,$computername)
#Drill down into the Uninstall key using the OpenSubKey Method
$regkey=$reg.OpenSubKey($UninstallKey)
#Retrieve an array of string that contain all the subkey names
$subkeys=$regkey.GetSubKeyNames()
#Open each Subkey and use the GetValue Method to return the string value for DisplayName for each

At this point, if you are anything like me, you are probably thinking, “I’ll stick with a one-liner and use Win32_Product.” But this brings us back to why we started looking at alternatives in the first place. As it turns out, the action of querying Win32_Product has the potential to cause some havoc on your systems . Here is the essence of KB974524.

The Win32_product class is not query optimized. Queries such as “select * from Win32_Product where (name like ‘Sniffer%’)” require WMI to use the MSI provider to enumerate all of the installed products and then parse the full list sequentially to handle the “where” clause:,

  • This process initiates a consistency check of packages installed, and then verifying and repairing the installations.
  • If you have an application that makes use of the Win32_Product class, you should contact the vendor to get an updated version that does not use this class.

On Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and newer operating systems, querying Win32_Product will trigger Windows Installer to perform a consistency check to verify the health of the application. This consistency check could cause a repair installation to occur. You can confirm this by checking the Windows Application Event log. You will see the following events each time the class is queried and for each product installed:

Event ID: 1035
Description: Windows Installer reconfigured the product. Product Name:

. Product Version: . Product Language: . Reconfiguration success or error status: 0.

Event ID: 7035/7036
Description: The Windows Installer service entered the running state.

Windows Installer iterates through each of the installed applications, checks for changes, and takes action accordingly. This would not a terrible thing to do in your dev or test environment. However, I would not recommend querying Win32_Product in your production environment unless you are in a maintenance window.

So what is the best solution to determine installed applications? For me, it is reading from the registry as it involves less risk of invoking changes to our production environment. In addition, because I prefer working with the ISE environment, I have a modified version of Sean’s script that I store in a central location and refer back to whenever I need an updated list of installed applications on our servers. The script points to a CSV file that I keep up to date with a list of servers from our domain.

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$computers = Import-Csv “D:\PowerShell\computerlist.csv”

foreach($pc in $computers)<

#Define the variable to hold the location of Currently Installed Programs

#Create an instance of the Registry Object and open the HKLM base key

#Drill down into the Uninstall key using the OpenSubKey Method

#Retrieve an array of string that contain all the subkey names

#Open each Subkey and use GetValue Method to return the required values for each

foreach($key in $subkeys)<

$obj = New-Object PSObject

$obj | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name “ComputerName” -Value $computername

$obj | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name “DisplayName” -Value $($thisSubKey.GetValue(“DisplayName”))

$obj | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name “DisplayVersion” -Value $($thisSubKey.GetValue(“DisplayVersion”))

$obj | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name “InstallLocation” -Value $($thisSubKey.GetValue(“InstallLocation”))

$obj | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name “Publisher” -Value $($thisSubKey.GetValue(“Publisher”))

$array | Where-Object < $_.DisplayName >| select ComputerName, DisplayName, DisplayVersion, Publisher | ft -auto

My modified version of Sean’s script creates a PSObject to hold the properties I am returning from each registry query, which then get dumped into an array for later use. When I am done, I simply output the array and pass it through a Where-Object to display only those entries with something in the DisplayName. This is handy because I can then refer back to just the array if I need to supply different output. Say I want to only report on a specific server. I’d change Where-Object to something like this:

In conclusion, if you have added Windows PowerShell to your IT tool belt, you have plenty of go-to options when someone asks you, “What’s the best solution to a problem?”

Thank you, Marc, for writing this post and sharing with our readers

Find the Application User Model ID of an installed app

To configure assigned access (kiosk mode), you need the Application User Model ID (AUMID) of apps installed on a device. You can find the AUMID by using Windows PowerShell, File Explorer, or the registry.

To find the AUMID by using Windows PowerShell

To get the names and AUMIDs for all apps installed for the current user, open a Windows PowerShell command prompt and enter the following command:

To get the names and AUMIDs for Windows Store apps installed for another user, open a Windows PowerShell command prompt and enter the following commands:

You can add the –user or the –allusers parameters to the get-AppxPackage cmdlet to list AUMIDs for other users. You must use an elevated Windows PowerShell prompt to use the –user or –allusers parameters.

To find the AUMID by using File Explorer

To get the names and AUMIDs for all apps installed for the current user, perform the following steps:

Open Run, enter shell:Appsfolder, and select OK.

A File Explorer window opens. Press Alt > View > Choose details.

In the Choose Details window, select AppUserModelId, and then select OK. (You might need to change the View setting from Tiles to Details.)

To find the AUMID of an installed app for the current user by using the registry

Querying the registry can only return information about Microsoft Store apps that are installed for the current user, while the Windows PowerShell query can find information for any account on the device.

At a command prompt, type the following command:

reg query HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\ActivatableClasses\Package /s /f AppUserModelID | find «REG_SZ»

Example

The following code sample creates a function in Windows PowerShell that returns an array of AUMIDs of the installed apps for the specified user.

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The following Windows PowerShell commands demonstrate how you can call the listAumids function after you have created it.

Where are Windows Store Apps installed & how to access the folder

UWP apps can be accessed from and started by clicking on the Tiles on the Windows Start. But where are they installed or located? The Universal or Windows Store Applications in Windows 10/8 are installed in the WindowsApps folder located in the C:\Program Files folder. It is a Hidden folder, so in order to see it, you will have to first open Folder Options and check the Show hidden files, folders and drives option.

Now you will be able to see the WindowsApps folder in the C:\Program Files folder.

Access or open the Windows Apps folder

Before you read further, we suggest you create a system restore point first.

Now, if you try to click on it to open it, you will not be allowed to, but you will instead see the following road-block.

Clicking on Continue will open the following warning box, saying that you have been denied permission to access this folder.

To gain access to the WindowsApps folder, click on the Security tab link. The following Properties box will open.

To be able to view the contents of the folder you must have at least Read permissions. Click on the Advanced button to open the Advanced Security Settings for the protected folder.

Clicking on Continue will open a box that will list down the permission entries for the folder. You will now have to give yourself permission, and you can do so by changing the Owner from TrustedInstaller to your name. Do note that, as an example, I have given myself complete blanket permissions, but you may give yourself limited permission as are required, by editing the permissions entries from its settings.

You may click on the desired entry and click View to see the individual permission entries and make changes there too. You will have to change the Principal / Owner first, however.

To do so, click on Change in the earlier step and enter the object name and click on Check Names too, as this will check if you have entered the name correctly, and correct it, if you haven’t.

I repeat, as an example, I have given myself complete blanket permissions, but you may give yourself limited permission as are required, by editing the permissions entries from its settings, as shown in the Permissions Entries box above.

The permission will be changed and will see a dialog box.

You will have to close the explorer window and re-open it.

You will now be able to click open on the WindowsApps folder and see its contents.

Any hacker or malware that gains access to this folder, could potentially modify the apps source code maliciously. So it might be a good idea to change the permissions back to their defaults, after you have completed your work. To do this, you have to simply reverse or undo the changes you made in the Advanced Security Settings.

If you wish to only see the list of all the apps along with their shortcuts, you can copy-paste the following in explorer address bar and hit Enter to open the following Applications folder:

Using this way you can change the permissions of any folder in Windows.

To reverse the changes, you need to retrace your steps and undo the changes made – or else you could go back to the created system restore point.

Date: September 8, 2018 Tags: Folder, Windows Apps

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