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  1. The Windows 11 app store is already more useful after just a week The Windows store is finally getting apps people care about Microsoft’s dysfunctional app store for Windows, the Microsoft Store, is finally improving under Windows 11. While there’s a UI overhaul and some speed improvements, the key change is allowing more apps into the store. In just the past week alone, some popular apps have started to appear in the Microsoft Store on Windows 11, making it more useful than before. OBS Studio, Zoom, Canva, WinZip, and Adobe Acrobat Reader have all made their way to the Microsoft Store in the past week, alongside Microsoft Edge browser extensions. These early additions, during a beta period for Windows 11, are a promising start. The Microsoft Store is changing on Windows 11, and eventually Windows 10, to include any traditional desktop apps. Microsoft previously restricted developers to its Universal Windows Apps, before then allowing some desktop apps that were packaged to use its store for updates. Now any app can be part of the store, a move that aligns with the Windows Package Manager Microsoft released last year. Zoom is now part of the Microsoft Store. Microsoft’s Windows Package Manager quickly became better than the Windows store in less than 24 hours, offering apps like Zoom and WinRAR that were missing from the main store. The package manager has been growing steadily over the past year, and now includes Discord, Google Chrome, Firefox, and many other popular apps. There’s even a great third-party web interface you can use with it. The Microsoft Store is essentially now a frontend for the Windows Package Manager and the WinGet command that’s used to install apps from Microsoft’s repository. That should mean we’ll see even more apps appear in the store in the coming weeks. Mozilla, for example, has hinted that Firefox will be available soon. We may even eventually see rival app stores in the Microsoft Store, like Steam or the Epic Games Store. Windows chief Panos Panay said the company is open to having Steam or the Epic Games Store in the Microsoft Store, and it would likely work as a way to link out to apps and games available elsewhere. Microsoft still has a lot of work to do on the store. Part of the new store’s appeal for developers is allowing apps with their own update systems, but also a change by Microsoft to let developers keep 100 percent of the revenue from apps if they use alternative payment platforms. This change doesn’t apply to games, however. It will take some time until we see just how well Microsoft’s reduced cut of game revenues, from 30 to 12 percent starting on August 1st, will impact the store. While these new app additions are useful, there’s still much work to be done. The store is full of junk apps, with many fake apps, guides, and crapware still showing up in search results. It’s going to take Microsoft some time to clean this part of the store up, particularly because developers have abandoned the Microsoft Store for so long that many of these junk apps are now in the top free apps section. Either way, the Microsoft Store is definitely heading in the right direction, after a decade of being largely ignored. If it can get to the point of having every useful and popular app listed, then that’s a great improvement for Windows users who will no longer have to search around the web to find a trusted installer for their favorite apps. The Windows 11 app store is already more useful after just a week
  2. Support for Windows Phone 8.1 ended back in July 2017, and while it doesn't receive updates anymore (and wasn't for a long time before that), Microsoft is still shutting down the rest of the things that made it tick. Now, the Redmond company has updated a support page to reflect that the Windows Phone Store will be shut down beginning on December 16. As of July of this year, app updates have no longer been distributed through the Store, but apparently you've still been able to download new apps. One app that you might want to think about downloading is Upgrade Advisor, which is what you'll need to get Windows 10 Mobile. However, even this app will no longer be available after December 16; after that, you have to use the OTC Updater and side-load the update. The Microsoft Store on Windows 10 Mobile still works, even though as the support document clearly states, the OS isn't supported anymore. The page also says that "in some cases", support for Windows 10 Mobile will end by the end of 2019; however, none of those cases apply here. That's talking about Windows 10 Mobile version 1709, for which support ends on December 10. Only phones that shipped with Windows 10 Mobile ever got that update. Devices that upgraded from Windows Phone 8.1 mostly could only go up to the Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update, or version 1607. The only ones that could go further than that were the Microsoft Lumia 640 and 640 XL, which could go up to version 1703. Anyway, if you're still on Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft is recommending that you move to Windows 10 Mobile if you've got an eligible device. Still, it's probably time to move on to iOS or Android. Source: The Windows Phone Store will shut down on December 16 (via Neowin)
  3. Microsoft today announced a few deadlines for developers who have built Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps. The Microsoft Store will stop accepting new apps with Windows Phone 8.x or earlier or Windows 8/8.1 packages (XAP and APPX) on October 31, 2018. In July 2019, Microsoft will stop distributing app updates to Windows Phone 8.x or earlier, and in July 2023, Microsoft will stop distributing app updates to Windows 8/8.1 devices. At that time, Microsoft says updates will only be made available to customers using Windows 10 devices — although who knows what Windows will look like in five years. (Don’t confuse the Microsoft Store with Microsoft’s physical retail stores. Microsoft rebranded the Windows Store as the Microsoft Store in October 2017.) Microsoft has given Windows app developers the following timeline to help them plan: October 31, 2018 — Microsoft will stop accepting new app submissions with Windows Phone 8.x or earlier or Windows 8/8.1 packages (XAP or APPX). This will not affect existing apps with packages targeting Windows Phone 8.x or earlier and/or Windows 8/8.1 and you can continue to submit updates until the next corresponding deadline. July 1, 2019 — Microsoft will stop distributing app updates to Windows Phone 8.x or earlier devices. Developers will still be able to publish updates to all apps (including those with Windows Phone 8.x or earlier packages), but these updates will only be made available to Windows 10 devices. July 1, 2023 — Microsoft will stop distributing app updates to Windows 8/8.1 devices. Developers will still be able to publish updates to all apps (including those with Windows 8/8.1 packages), but these updates will only be made available to Windows 10 devices. Microsoft is encouraging affected developers to port their apps to the universal Windows platform (UWP). UWP allows developers to build a single app that changes based on your device and screen size. One app can work on your Windows 10 computer, Windows 10 tablet, Windows 10 Mobile smartphone (you can skip this one), Xbox One console, and HoloLens headset. Source
  4. Did Microsoft kill the wrong store? Microsoft recently announced it's permanently closing its retail stores worldwide. It should have axed the Windows store instead. Microsoft In late June, Microsoft said it would permanently close its chain of 82 retail stores after temporarily shuttering them in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s an ignominious end to a failed experiment and attempt by Microsoft to try and build some of same cachet as the Apple Store. But Microsoft’s largely humdrum hardware never inspired the same devotion as Apple’s devices. And Microsoft could never outmarket Apple — the Microsoft Store never came up with the equivalent of the Genius Bar, and the stores were never destinations in and of themselves like Apple Stores have been. Microsoft, in a ham-handed way, tried to portray closing the stores as a victory because…well, it’s hard to know why the company considers it a victory. In an attempt at spin control, David Porter, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Microsoft Store, said in a blog post that the company had “announced a strategic change in our retail operations, including closing Microsoft Store physical locations.” What’s the big strategic change apart from closing the physical retail stores – and why is that better for consumers? Porter didn’t say. As big a failure as the Microsoft Stores have been, the real store Microsoft should have axed is the one built into Windows for downloading software. You say you never used it? Join the club. The Microsoft Store in Windows has never had a solid collection of downloadable software — and is largely filled with underpowered apps that people simply don’t want to use. The problem was baked in from the beginning. Nearly eight years ago, when writing about the original store, I noted, that it “...seems as barren of goods as a Romanian grocery store during the depths of the Ceausescu regime." There were many reasons for that. A primary one was that for most of the download store’s life, the only apps allowed in were those built with what Microsoft calls the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). UWP was part of Windows 8, and in those days, Microsoft believed its Windows Phone would become the dominant mobile operating system. The idea was that developers would build apps using UWP, and the apps would run on both Windows 8 and Windows Phone. In Microsoft’s worldview, software written for the Windows Desktop, called Win32 apps, would slowly fade away, while UWP apps would conquer the world. Things didn’t turn out that way, of course. Windows Phone failed miserably. Developers stayed away from UWP apps in droves, and the store continued to have plenty of empty virtual shelves. Win32 apps still rule the world, and the apps Microsoft did develop for UWP were exceedingly underpowered. Though there were plans to release a UWP version of Office, that never happened. Microsoft wrote an app it called Office, but it wasn’t Office. Instead, it was supposed to be a companion to Office. What did it do? Here’s the description from the Microsoft Store: “The Office app enables you to get the most out of Office by helping you find all your Office apps and files in one place so you can jump quickly into your work.” Not exactly groundbreaking — or particularly useful. So few developers wrote UWP apps for the Microsoft Store that at one point Microsoft essentially bribed them to do so. In early 2013, it launched a promotion in which it paid $100 to developers to send UWP apps to the Windows Store. Each developer could get up to $200 – $100 per app. Microsoft was so hungry to stock those software shelves that it did a terrible job of vetting them for quality and safety. An investigation found in 2014 that "Microsoft’s Windows Store is a mess. It’s full of apps that exist only to scam people and take their money. Why doesn’t Microsoft care that their flagship app store is such a cesspool?" Microsoft finally got around to removing 1,500 bad apps from the store. But that made it only seem like a lonelier place. Eventually, Microsoft recognized that UWP was a failure. The original Microsoft Edge was written in UWP, and Microsoft abandoned it and developed a newer browser based on open-source Chromium. Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s experiences and devices division, explained the decision this way, “It’s not that UWP is bad, but UWP is not a 35-year-old mature platform that a ridiculously huge amount of apps have been written to.” These days, the Microsoft Store in Windows still offers mainly UWP apps, though you can occasionally find a Win32 app. But it doesn’t have many of the best and most important Win32 apps. Want the most popular Windows browser, Chrome? You won’t find it in the Microsoft Store. How about Adobe Reader? Nope, not there. How about the great cleanup utility CCleaner, the Dropbox cloud application or the excellent malware killer Malwarebytes? No, no and no. Want to videoconference using Zoom in Windows 10? Correct, you’ll have to find it somewhere else. If Microsoft can’t make its store in Windows truly useful, it should do away with it. Unless the company can improve it, it’s time to pull the plug. Did Microsoft kill the wrong store?
  5. There is a situation with Windows 10 RS5 Pro. I don't think there is any way to disable the Windows store or at least the updates. I have a game Installed using sideloading, it keeps checking for updates and won't let me play it without updating the game first. for some reasons I don't wanna Install the last update for it but I can't seem to get past the update notice. Here are the things I've tried: 1. In Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Store I set all the objects to "enabled", more info here: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/43118-allow-block-access-store-app-windows-10-a.html 2. I set the "RemoveWindowsStore DWORD" to 1 from 0 in this registry pass: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\WindowsStore 3. using O&O shutup10 (https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10) I disabled some option such as (prevent apps form sending URL to Windows Store - prohibit apps from running in background - automatic app updates) 4. disabled app auto updates in Windows Store settings. With all of them done still Windows store opens without any problems and also downloads and checks for app updates. I'm literally out of options. does anyone knows how to do this? I want to cut the Store's access to the Internet and prevent the apps from knowing if there is any new updates of them. I think maybe there is a small piece of file somewhere in the Windows installation drive that tells the app there is an update for it, so no matter when i uninstall and reinstall the app, the file will still tell the app that there is an update for it. anyone knows if such file exists?
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