Up until recently I attempted to steer clear of the Microsoft Store (the apps and such, not the discontinued physical location) – I wanted as much separation between me, my users, and Microsoft as was possible, mainly due to issues we kept having where users would suddenly find they needed me to spend an hour uninstalling, reinstalling, hitting my head to get their apps to update again.
This kept happening long long ago… moved to the model of “don’t use that rancid piece of garbage” and all worked out pretty well.
Recently however with every installed app demanding updates and requiring them on a fairly regular basis the time came to look back at the store again. If you’re not aware, the great thing about central stores is the centralized updating of apps. There’s a release, bam, you’re on that release. In general this is a good thing for end users who don’t want to go through all their apps and hit websites to download patches and update things one by one.
Idea great, Apple and Google did it well. Microsoft however…
It started for me when my old computer died. I decided I was going to completely change how I Windows’d. I was going to install from the Store, I was going to update automatically. In essence at home I was going to behave like a home user. I was also going to play a lot of games because the new computer is capable and the last two years stuck at home with kids have killed me.
My first encounter with the Store was Flight Simulator… I had it through Xbox Game Pass or whatever it was called at the time and I’d get an error over and over and over again. Always that it couldn’t install. This was 3-4 days into my perfectly normal no-nonsense setup with no modifications other than drivers. This was a legal, licensed, unmodified Windows install and it didn’t work to install Flight Simulator.
Everything attempted for two days, I gave up. A day or so later MS Flight Simulator installed without me looking or doing anything. Two days of attempts and then bam, just worked while I was asleep.
Repeat this scenario for a few things. I really hadn’t planned on writing an article about the Microsoft Store, so unfortunately just trust me it happened again on a couple of things. Ookla’s Speedtest app was another one that failed to install but took care of itself within an hour, but that’s the only thing I remember by name at the moment.
One of the apps I use by Jam Software I decided it was time to uninstall the downloaded version and install the app store version. I did this on my work machine, noticed that the app version had not registered the explorer context options, decided to uninstall and reinstall. I uninstalled it, and for the next two days got the message I was unable to install it.
This was done on my work computer, but my home computer was unable to install it either for two days. A random error message indicating something about permissions, going down a rabbit hole of adding “user” as administrative in a folder, a few hours of seeing “something’s wrong on our end”. No change and then a day or two later it just installed.
Unfortunately it installed version 4.something, and 8.something is the current version as it looks like Jam abandoned the Microsoft store.
I’d really like auto updates and patches delivered to me on a silver platter as a user. Seems like a good idea all around. The Microsoft Store doesn’t seem to be delivering that in a reliable fashion however.
What I wonder at this point is has anyone had a good experience with the MS Store? We quit years ago using it at work because this stuff happened all the time, and now trying to be Joe User at home I’m about to quit it again. I mean, to quit it I would have to actually be able to get things installed and then choose the other options, but you get what I’m saying.
On a separate note – if I’m connected to the VPN at work which isn’t a gateway and only ports one app I get notices that I’m not connected to the internet. Checks literally every other program and it works and is using the real IP. The only VPN’d thing is the backup software… but bam, Store goes down. SMH