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.