Windows 10: allow apps from Store only analysis

Martin Brinkmann
May 7, 2017
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

The Windows 10 Creators Update comes with a new feature that allows you to restrict software installations to apps from the Windows Store.

The feature looks similar on first glance to Microsoft's Windows 10 S operating system that the company introduced last week. While similar on paper, things are not nearly as identical when you take a closer look.

The locked down nature of Windows 10 S, and the "allow apps from the Store only" option of other editions of Windows 10 have two core differences.

First, that system administrators may switch between the locked down state and allowing Win32 program installations on non-Windows 10 S systems. Second, that software that was installed prior to making the switch is not blocked and continues to run.

Changing application installation policies

Microsoft introduced the new application installation preference in the Windows 10 Creators Update.

You may set it up in the following way:

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows-I to open the Settings application on the Windows 10 machine.
  2. Navigate to Apps > Apps & Features.
  3. Select the menu under "installing apps", and set the value of the preference to "allow apps from the store only".

You can switch the preference back at any time, and may set it to "warn me before installing apps from outside the Store" as well. Windows 10 displays a notification in this case with the option to bypass the filter and run the selected program on the PC.

If you set it to "allow apps from Store only", you get the same notification but without the install anyway option.

Allow apps from Store only analysis

The feature is more or less broken in current stable versions of Windows 10, and works better in the latest Insider builds.

If you enable the feature on stable versions, you will notice that some activities bypass the security feature entirely.

You can run portable programs for instance without them being blocked, or install and run Steam applications.

Most program installations are blocked on the other hand by the installing apps feature, but that is obviously not enough if standalone executable files are not blocked. This means for instance that malware, which usually does not get installed but is run right away, won't get blocked by the feature at all.

If you make the same policy change on the latest Windows 10 Insider build however, you will notice that Microsoft improved the functionality in this regard.

Portable programs for instance are blocked, or at least those that I tried were blocked, while they were not when I ran them on a stable version of Windows 10.

The new version is not perfect yet though, as you can still install Steam games for instance and play them, even with the system locked down to installing apps from Store only.

Closing Words

Work will continue on the Store lockdown feature of Windows 10, but it may take until the release of the next feature update for Windows 10 in September 2017 before improvements hit the stable channel.

The feature is somewhat interesting for day to day use, as you can lock down the execution of Win32 programs somewhat using it without being locked down completely. Since you can flip the preferences switch whenever you need to, you can still install or run programs that would otherwise be blocked.

Now You: Do you think the "allow apps from Store only" feature is a useful one?

Article Name
Windows 10: allow apps from Store only analysis
The Windows 10 Creators Update comes with a new feature that allows you to restrict software installations to apps from the Windows Store.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Hari said on September 14, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    that option itself is not here !! Pls help anyone

  2. Fcuk Microshite said on May 8, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Wheres the option to allow only non-store “apps”(programs). I dont need any crap from the store and also on some windows 10 versions some crap like candy crush(WTF!) get installed automatically on some machines.

  3. jern said on May 8, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Apple has been doing this for some time with Macs. Apps may be restricted to downloads from (1) App Store only (2) App Store and identified developers (3) from anywhere.
    It works well on Macs. There are no problems with upgrades when using these options. You select the upgrades you wish to install, they are downloaded and installed automatically. If MS’s version is like that then good. It gives users a little more control over what gets installed and runs on their computers.

    1. said on May 9, 2017 at 6:06 am

      Yeah but is Apple prohibiting you from going to a 3rd party website and installing the software from there?

      Thanks where the fear is with this. Having to pay a M$ tax in order to install software. And they can take it away from you at anytime.

      1. jern said on May 9, 2017 at 3:48 pm

        @AnorKnee Merce
        I have respect for people, their intelligence, their strength and their ability to choose for themselves.
        Equating the purchase of tech items to drug addiction is a stretch. Besides, if Apple only has a 15% market share it doesn’t sound like it’s tapping into much of an addiction – yet it remains one of the most successful companies in history.

      2. AnorKnee Merce said on May 9, 2017 at 9:44 am

        @ jern

        Apples and oranges, ie desktops are very different from smartphones.

        To some people, smartphones are status symbols, like designer clothes, luxury bags and flashy cars. Apple is able to tap into such people’s weakness for vanity with their super-expensive flashy designer iPhones. Hence, Apple is able to profit-gouge their “victims” and maximize their profits even though iPhones has a market share of only about 15%. It’s like tapping into people’s weakness to sell drugs and sex, lotto tickets, Ponzi scheme investment, etc.

      3. jern said on May 9, 2017 at 7:36 am
        Apples options let you download from anywhere you want. I generally run option 2. If I want a fresh install of Firefox I go to Mozilla, download and install it. Upgrades are just as easy. Apple doesn’t restrict the source of your downloads, you do.

        @AnorKnee Merce
        Apple’s minuscule market share and “super-greed” has it sitting on an enviable $246,000,000,000 pile of cash. It didn’t accumulate that cash by putting out half-baked products or by pissing on its customers shoes – like another company I could mention. Apple’s policies work for lots of people.

      4. AnorKnee Merce said on May 9, 2017 at 6:35 am

        Like M$ and Win 10, Apple would likely also want to restrict MacOS users to App Store apps/software only if MacOS has a market share of more than 70%. Instead, MacOS has a market share of only 7% today because of Apple’s super-greed.

  4. Coriy said on May 8, 2017 at 1:41 am

    I have a question about this “locked down” mode:
    Does it allow for upgrading of programs once the lockdown is in place?
    Keep in mind that there are usually two upgrade paths, automatic ones like with Google Chrome (to name one), and those that have to be manually initiated by the user after downloading the installer, such as GIMP, Calibre, etc).

  5. hirobo said on May 7, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Microsoft should have made a different store-only OS like Android to keep distance from the desktop one. Android and Chromebooks were made for tech illiterate people. Even my mom managed to do a factory reset on her Android tablet. Windows is just too geeky to deployed as an app-store based OS. This is why Microsoft will never dominate the app scene. One OS simply can’t serve the dual purpose of catering to geeks and non-geeks.

  6. Tim said on May 7, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    “… the new version is not perfect yet though, as you can still install Steam games for instance and play them, even with the system locked down to installing apps from Store only.”

    I wonder whether this is to do with the way Steam doesn’t play by the rules with file permissions in order to allow their Steam client to update itself, download games, and download patches without requiring Administrator rights?

  7. AnorKnee Merce said on May 7, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Why did M$ include this “feature” in Creators Update.?
    ……. This “feature” uses the Enterprise-grade Device Guard to cripple Win 10 by requiring signed certificates for programs/apps, ie artificially restricting Win 10 to UWP apps from the Store only.

    Bear in mind that M$ may one day impose mandatory “Allow apps from Store only”, in order to make more money$ from app sales, eg when Win 10 achieves a market share of > 70% after EOL of Win 7/8.1 in 2020/2023.

  8. Yuliya said on May 7, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    It’s a completely useless feature made lo lure users into using the store and eventually allowing micro$oft into controlling (what’s in) your PC. We already have a feature called AppLocker available since Windows 7 that serves this purpose, much better actually.
    This video explains very well: []
    Even if your Windows will only be able to install store only ptograms (apps?) you’re still just as exposed to malware as you are without this limitation. But you know, “let’s make the PC platform behave like a crippled mobile OS and hope some idiots will give us their money” – something along those lines they must have discussed before coming up with this cr.p

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.