Jump to content

Microsoft's mystery update arouses anger, suspicion among Windows 10 users


Recommended Posts

Microsoft's update servers are pushing out a new Photos Add-on app, with no explanation of what it does. Windows 10 users aren't taking it well.

Microsoft's update servers began pushing out a mysterious new app recently, and the unexpected arrival is stirring up suspicion and anger among some Windows 10 users.


The new app is called Photos Add-on, and its entry in the Windows Store offers few clues about what it is or does.


This mystery app has drawn caustic reviews from suspicious Windows 10 users.

On my test systems, the new app appeared as part of Windows updates delivered on October 10. Based on ratings and reviews in the Store, other Windows 10 users saw the update as early as October 1. The listing says it's compatible with Windows 10 release 14393 (the Anniversary Update) or later, although it probably requires a new version of the Photos app to work.


More than 70 percent of the early reviews have given the mystery add-on a 1 star rating, with reviewers adding comments like these:

  • Installed without permission
    I didn't ask for this, I didn't approve this, I didn't even know you were planning on installing this. When will you get it that people don't want YOU to decide what gets installed on MY computer. Stop it already.
  • Forced install
    Not cool, MS.
  • Don't install without asking
    I have no idea what this even does. Why do I have it and why didn't I have a choice?


So, what is the mystery app? The answer turns out to be relatively innocuous.


It is indeed an update for the built-in Photos app, included with every copy of Windows 10. Its official name is Photos.DLC.Main (DLC apparently stands for "downloadable content"), and it's listed in Settings > Apps > Apps & Features. Find the Photos app, click Advanced Options, and look under the App Add-ons & Downloadable Content heading:


The Photos add-on can be uninstalled, although there's no reason to do so.

As far as I can tell, this is the first public release of a feature that was announced 18 months ago, as part of a Windows 10 preview build delivered in April 2016:

You will also be able manage app add-ons and downloadable content [in Settings] if the app supports this capability as discussed at Build 2016. While there are currently no apps that support add-ons or downloadable content in the Store, please stay tuned for availability of apps that do once they are released.


The add-on model is documented in this reference page for the Universal Windows Platform API. A source with knowledge of this add-on told me that it's part of an architectural change that will allow Microsoft to deliver new functionality and content updates to the Photos app, including 3D effects, filters, and text. More importantly, it allows UWP apps to communicate with one another.


In fact, we may already be seeing the first example of this add-on in action. This morning, I opened the Photos app on a machine running a near-final Insider build of the Windows 10 Fail Creators' Update and was greeted with this message:



Via Twitter, my colleague Richard Hay of the Windows Supersite reported seeing the same dialog box, as did Tero Alhonen.


Ginny Caughey, a developer with deep experience in UWP apps, notes that this is "not something to worry about - just an add-on to an app that comes with the OS."


She's right, which is why this roll-out is so frustrating. It's yet another example of an unforced error on Microsoft's part. Even a tiny amount of documentation in the listing for this add-on would have tamped down the suspicion. Instead, they've provided fresh fuel for conspiracy theorists.


Source: Microsoft's mystery update arouses anger, suspicion among Windows 10 users (ZDNet - Ed Bott)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 3
  • Views 2.4k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I knew this would happen and it'll keep happening with W10. I'm still using WXP, W7 64 and W8.1 64, depending on what I need to do,  I do not update and any updates that filters in I delete quick smart. I know I'll be scolded by some of you for what I say. But that works for me fine.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


Last November, Brad Sams from Thurrott.com wrote about Joe Belfiore's return to Microsoft after his one year sabbatical. At that time it was reported that Belfiore would be working on the Windows Shell team and one of the tasks they had was to figure out ways to monetize the Windows 10 User Interface.


Well it appears that one possible method the team has come up with to monetize user activity in Windows 10 is to tie premium content into first party apps, specifically for now the Photos app, and that connection to the premium content comes by way of being an Office 365 subscriber.


On one of my devices that is in the Windows Insider Release Preview Ring running Build 16299.15, it was just released to that ring yesterday in fact, also received an update to the Photos app.

The first time you open this update of the Photos app, the version/build number is  2017.39091.14210.0, you will see a new dialog introducing premium content for Office 365 subscribers.

Once you try to access premium content in the creation process an app named Photos Add-On (Internal) with a version/build number of 2017.35081.16750.0 will be installed automatically through the Windows/Microsoft Store. I believe based on my testing it is this app that integrates the premium content.


I was not asked to validate my Office 365 account in this process but the Microsoft Account I use on this system is also the same one that I subscribe to Office 365 with so it likely picked up the validation from the account listing in Windows Settings>Accounts>Sign-in Options.


A couple of observations about this method of monetization in Windows and the Photos app:

-- First, as Ed Bott has reported today, this Photos Add-On (Internal) app is installed when the user attempts to access premium content and apparently is the key to activating the premium offerings. However, Microsoft should have communicated more clearly what this app is and why it was being installed at that time. It would have calmed many users concerns as they discovered it installed on their systems.

-- Second, I have no issues with this style of monetizing in Windows 10. If you are an Office 365 subscriber you get some additional benefits to work with and those who are not on Office 365 still have a very wide selection of effects and music to work with in the Photos app at no additional cost.

Microsoft has not announced anything officially about this and it could very well be a quick experiment to gauge reaction like they did several weeks ago when the Photos app went through a few quick name changes in a test period.


The gallery here will show you how the premium options were presented and accessed in the Photos app. Note: Premium music and 3D effects content is marked with the Office 365 logo.


Source and Gallery


I don't have no problem with this on Windows 10 because i don't use metro apps i removed them all with powershell  and turned off Windows store updates  you are  the master of you're own density.


Turn off  automatic  app updates I use O&O ShutUp 10




To remove all metro apps Put in Powershell 

Get-AppxPackage -allusers PackageFullName | Remove-AppxPackage

Then install all the good old fully working  legacy apps you like and forget about those  half working sissy apps in windows store for fanboys with money . :lol:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the Photos app is offering some sort of an ad for Office 365 subscription which will offer content to be used for Video Projects? These three couldn't be more irrelevant to one another! :lol:


On another note I am curious why they had to do this via some separate package. Why not update the Photos app to have this, whatever this DLC prompt is, as a part of the Photos app's main code, and leave the actual DLC package for download after folks coughed up the greens to get Office 365? By now, they should have learned that people don't respond well to stuff being installed without consent (the Get Windows 10 prompt, anyone?). Maybe not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...