Some Windows Store apps are country locked

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 2, 2012
Windows, Windows tips

A friend told me that the live TV service Zattoo has published an application for Windows 8 that enables you to watch live television right from the application. Zattoo is a licensed service that is available for residents in various European countries such as Germany, United Kingdom or Switzerland. Depending on where you are located, you get to watch live streams of TV stations that air in that country.

A search for Zattoo in the store turned up empty, and related searches for live tv, tv or television did too. While I was able to find several apps in the niche, I could not find the Zattoo application listed among the search results.

It then occured to me that I had set the location to United States and not Germany. I changed the Windows Store language and location a while ago to use the English interface and not the German one. The main reason for that I can use the correct English terminology when writing about the store and apps.

I decided to change the location back to Germany to find out if Zattoo would show up in the search results listing afterwards. To change your location do the following:

  • Tap on Windows or click on the desktop link to go to the Windows desktop.
  • Press Windows-C to open up the Charms Bar and select Settings > Control Panel from the menu.
  • Select Clock, Language and Region here and then Change Location under Region.
  • Pick another location and click on ok to save it.

windows 8 store location

When you open the store the next time you will notice that it refreshes shortly after it has been opened on the system. The apps are refreshed to reflect the new location.

It turned out that changing the store location was all that was needed to find and install the application on the system. Please note that you can use this workaround to browse and install applications that are only available in specific markets. While you may do so, it may not mean that you can use the functionality they provide.

The UK-only TVCatchup application for instance installs fine but won't play any videos if you are not in the UK when you use it.

Here is a screenshot of the US Windows store front.

us windows store

And this one is from the German store.

german windows store

There are certain options to get around those restrictions, a VPN connection comes to mind for example, and it is likely that they will work after all.

What I do want to point out though is that some apps may appear to not be in store when they are in fact country-locked.


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  1. rpwheeler said on December 2, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    I would lie if I say that I got more negative impression from Windows 8 and Windows Store because of it — it just couldn’t be more negative.

    But I want to express my disgrace and negative opinion about country-locks and location-bounds at all. Talking about “service”, the people who design that locks doing bad to many users.

    My first visit to Google after new browser install usually is – disable country redirect. I do prefer English interfaces and descriptions to the translated. I don’t need local shops offerings — if I search for some shop offerings, I search in different way. For many times I have to “overcome” darn marketing forces to get information I need.

  2. ilev said on December 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    All stores including Apple’s and Google’s are location locked.

    1. rpwheeler said on December 2, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      As for Apple store, I had an option to register in US store or Russian store from Ukraine and registration doesn’t care about my actual location set.

      It is kind a different attitude — to register where you want to be registered, not to be registered where you happen to be.

      If I come to physical, brick and mortar shop, usually I wouldn’t be asked if I’m from this country there. Goods are goods and money are money — if I’m willing to pay my money for particular thing it matters more than where I come from. More to it, paying for something in Europe and transporting it in my country I even can get refunded for taxes, included for Europeans.

      So why the heck MS is trying to register my by country I set, not by where I want? I don’t want the corporations to have such power over me.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on December 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      Still good to know how that this is the case and how to bypass.

      1. ilev said on December 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm

        After bypassing you won’t get any updates unless you switch country every time.

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