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How To Block Non-Windows Store Apps In Windows 10

The Windows Store is still in its infancy stage. There are some good apps available in the Windows Store. Big names like Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix all have UWP apps that you can download from the Windows Store. The Windows Store apps are, if nothing else, safe. Users know for a fact that they are downloading the official app and no one has repackaged it with harmful or malicious code. That really is the whole benefit of a dedicated app store. The Windows 10 Creator’s Update due in April this year is going to introduce a new limitation that will let users block non-Windows Store apps. The Windows smart screen already serves to protect users from installing unsigned apps. With this feature, users can block Win32 or desktop apps. Here’s how it works.

This feature is available on the Windows 10 Insider build 15046. Windows 10 users on the stable release channel will not be able to see this feature until April, 2017.

Open the Settings app. Windows 10 is adding a new group of settings with the Creator’s Update called ‘Apps’. Previously, ‘Apps’ was just a tab inside the ‘System’ group of settings. Select the ‘Apps’ group of settings and go to the ‘Apps & features’ tab.

There’s a new section in this tab called ‘Installing apps’. Open the drop-down under this section. You have three options to choose from; Allow apps from anywhere, warn me before installing apps from outside the Store, and Allow apps from the Store only.

The ‘Allow apps from anywhere’ option will allow a user to install apps from the Windows Store as well desktop and Win32 apps. The app can come from Github, an online software repository, or a developer’s personal website. Under this option, apps can be installed regardless where they come from. This will not impact the Smart Screen filter. It will still warn and block unsigned apps.

The ‘Warn me before installing apps from outside the Store’ option will warn a user when they attempt to install apps from outside the Windows Store. The user can then decide whether they want to install the app or not.

The ‘Allow apps from the Store only’ option will block non-Windows Store apps. When a user tries to run an installer for a desktop app, e.g. Chrome, this feature will block it.

This feature is controlled by the system administrator. It is likely going to push a lot of developers towards the Windows Store. Of course, not all developers will get on board. This is evident considering macOS has had a dedicated app store for a long time but developers still make apps available outside it. macOS has a similar feature called Gatekeeper.


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