Why you need to verify app developers before you download in Windows Store

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 25, 2013
Updated • Oct 25, 2013

If you have worked with Windows 8 before you have likely browsed the integrated Windows Store at least once to see what is on offer there. I personally think that Microsoft missed a chance here to include a universal app manager into the system that includes desktop and Windows apps.

While you do get links to some desktop apps right now, it is not the same as downloading verified virus-free programs from the store that auto-update automatically. Plus, I cannot figure out why some desktop apps are listed here while others are not.

Windows Store has its issues (this is a review of Windows 8 store, not Windows 8.1 store), and while some can surely be attributed to the store's (young) age, others are harder to explain as they reduce the user experience significantly.

I have talked about deceptive apps in store before, and also pointed out that -- what I called -- Media Player spam was running wild in store.

The situation has not really changed that much it seems since then, as you find those apps still listed in store. What may be even worse is that they still rise to the frontpage of the store every now and then.

A quick look at the new & rising category for instance lists VideoVLC Player there, while an application like LinkedIn HD is listed in the Trending category on the frontpage.

verify apps windows store

The problem? They are not official apps. Both hop on the bandwagon of popular programs (VLC) or services (LinkedIn) without being affiliated with them in any way.

If you are an experienced computer user, you are probably able to distinguish between first and third party apps published in the store. Inexperienced users on the other hand may install those apps because they believe they are the real deal, when they are not in fact.

Verify app developers

The best way to make sure that an application is legit -- that means a first party app produced by the company that offers a service, website or program-- is to verify the developer that has published it.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Open the application page in Windows Store that you are interested in.
  2. Locate the "Published by" information on the page. This is displayed underneath the large screenshot of the app in Windows 8.1
  3. Here you find the name of the company or individual.
  4. It is usually enough to determine whether an application has been created by the right company or not.
  5. The official Facebook application has been published by Facebook, Inc. for example, while applications such as Facebook+ Lite, Facebook Forever, or Facebook Browser by WinApp8, awesome facebook and youtube devs, or iceDevs.
  6. You can click on it to display a list of apps that this developer has published. This provides you with additional information. If you see different apps listed here, say a YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn app, you can be fairly certain that this is a third party developer and not a first party one.

Tip: You can alternatively search the Apps for Windows website over at Microsoft as it lists the publisher as well.

Reasons to verify developers

There are two main reasons why you may want to verify developers before you download apps to your system.

  1. First to make sure that you are downloading an official app. This is especially important if you need to sign in to a service before you can make use of it. If you do not like the idea of submitting your sign in information through a third party app, then you better make sure you download the real one or connect to the service in your browser.
  2. Second to avoid installing apps that are either technical inferior, or rip-offs.

Closing Words

The third party apps used in this article are just examples of what you find in Windows Store currently. There are legit third party apps in store that you can download and use without any issues, but there are also those apps that I would not touch even if someone paid me money to do so.

The best protection against questionable apps is to not install them at all. Even if you are running Windows RT, you have options, like connecting to the websites of said services instead of using apps.

Now Read: Why I cannot appreciate most Windows Store apps


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  1. VR Ramprasad said on December 26, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Thanks brother. After reading posts I too verified my installed apps.

  2. portable charger 4 iPhone said on December 3, 2013 at 4:51 am

    thanks for sharing the post, windows 8 is a complex OS for me.

  3. GK said on October 26, 2013 at 11:05 am

    The Media Player spam apps rise to the top even in “Top Free” apps. The Windows Store currently is just JUNK. Even the “Hot”, “Featured” and “Most Downloaded” apps are just plain crap. Very dismal quality. I have no idea why and which idiots use crappy Store apps. There is hardly anything even remotely entertaining or useful there. And Microsoft is desperate to increase quantity, not quality.

    1. Kola said on October 27, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Same case with the Play Store, especially the “Top New Free” section. I think the verification of apps before going live in the Windows Store should be revised.

  4. Marius T said on October 26, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Yeah right compare a good stable proved OS with the t…rd that Ubuntu is!In your dreams fanboys!

    1. InterestedBystander said on October 26, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      Well, the current discussion is really about the app store, not the OS. Nevertheless: I use Win 7 and XP regularly, and Vista occasionally. I haven’t had a Windows OS lockup in years. I also run Ubuntu and have used OpenSUSE. No system lockups there either. At home I find myself preferring Linux lately, but I have no huge ax to grind in the OS fight.

      Back on-topic: I suppose the various Linux package repositories really aren’t the same species as the Windows app store. The repository contains both apps (Cairo Dock, for instance) and applications (GIMP, etc). Other than third-party collections like FreewareHome, I can’t think of an exact parallel.

      Curious about users’ opinions: how do Mac, Google, and Windows 8.0 app stores compare?

  5. InterestedBystander said on October 26, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Very interesting article, Martin. Of course the situation with Windows store apps mirrors the situation with Windows freeware in general (sometimes deceptive, prone to installing hitchhiking “features” or outright malware). I suppose the freeware rodeo is even less controlled, though. Ubuntu, as you know, has a well-configured software center; the main complaint I’ve heard is that it can take a long time for a good new application to make it through the vetting process and get included. It’s a problem: given that Ubuntu has a miniscule desktop/laptop market share compared to Windows, the job of certifying programs for a well-managed app store is comparatively much smaller as well (fewer users tends to equal fewer programs being written, even though Linux users are probably much more likely to have some programming expertise than are average Windows users).

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