IT Admins Can’t Block Access To Windows Store On Windows 10 Pro Anymore

IT Admins Can’t Block Access To Windows Store On Windows 10 Pro Anymore

Companies running Windows 10 Pro used to have the ability to block workers from accessing Windows Store to prevent them from downloading unauthorised apps. Microsoft has now removed this features from the Pro version and has made it available only to the more expensive Windows 10 Enterprise and Education editions. That’s a bummer for smaller businesses. Here’s what you need to know.

Previously, IT admins that manage computers running Windows 10 Pro could disable Windows Store through the Group Policy settings. But if you have upgraded your computers to version 1511 of Windows 10 Pro, that option is no longer available. Version 1511 was released in November last year but the issue has just started gaining attention as more PCs apply the update.

Organisations that run Windows 10 Enterprise and Education editions are now the only ones that can disable Windows Store on their PCs.

The official reasoning from Microsoft for removing the feature from Windows 10 Pro is this:

“Windows 10 Enterprise is our offering that provides IT pros with the most granular control over company devices. Windows 10 Pro offers a subset of those capabilities and is recommended for small and mid-size businesses looking for some management controls, but not the full suite necessary for IT pros at larger enterprises.   The ability to block access to the Windows Store is typically for organizations who want more control over corporate-owned devices. This fits into the value of Windows 10 Enterprise.”

I’m sure the decision has nothing to do with the fact that Microsoft wants to encourage more people to use its Windows Store… *cough* *cough*

Larger organisations are likely to be unaffected by this since they’d be using the Enterprise edition of Windows 10. But SMBs that don’t have much IT support to begin with and need to stop workers from downloading games and apps that don’t play well with existing business software from the Windows Store are left in the lurch.

[Via Microsoft/BBC]


  • How would this interact with Australian Law – if a business sells software to another business and then removes features of that software, what recourse would the purchasing business have (if any)?

    Obviously complicated by the nature of the sale – B2B as opposed to general consumer transaction, and if the recourse is “…try it out in court” then I doubt any SME is going to try suing Microsoft!

    • There will be workarounds, you can block the windows store on a firewall for instance.
      Enterprise licensing is available (and easier to manage) for a minimum of 5 machines, and I would imagine any less than that you would be able to tap your employee on the shoulder and say “don’t use the Windows Store”.

      • No doubt there would be workarounds, particularly for small businesses.

        I was just interested in what happens in these instances where a business licenses software then an update renders a feature of that software unavailable.

      • Sorry the 5 license count is to allow you to convert a MAK to a KMS style key. To get enterprise licensing you need to sign up to an EA and then there are things you need to do to be able to keep an EA. An office with 2 or 3 servers and 10 workstations would not get an EA.

    • You didn’t buy the software. You bought a license to use that software and within the T&C’s of that license you agreed that might happen.

  • You could always have a employee agreement that installing unauthorized apps is prohibitedm and may be punished,

    And using Get-AppxPackage powershell or something similar to police it.

    Having said that while i appreciate Win10 for free, MS are always finding features to relegate to the higher end products (features that even home users would like). I still HATE the enforced reboots, and still lose data a year later due to the reboots, i dont care about automatic enforced installation, but i will reboot when im good and ready god damn it.

    • You know, there is a setting that prevents automatic reboots after updating. Check the updates section of system preferences.

      • In win 10 pro ? you must be confusing it with Defer Updates or reschedule neither of which are really acceptable, i want it to download, install what it can, then when I choose to reboot it can finish off.

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