The Microsoft Store in Windows 11 supports Win32 apps, but the experience is slightly crippled

Windows 11 Microsoft Store

The Microsoft Store has become increasingly important in Windows, and with the arrival of Windows 11 this continues to be the case. Microsoft has not only added Android apps to the Store by partnering with Amazon, but also made it possible to browse and install legacy Win32 apps.

But while the ability to download modern and legacy apps from the same place certainly has advantages, the experience for anyone using the Microsoft Store to install Win32 apps is going to be a little disappointing.

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There are numerous advantages and benefits to sourcing and managing software through the Microsoft Store. There is curated content, personalized app recommendations, reviews, ratings and more. With Android, macOS and iOS, users have become familiar with -- almost reliant upon -- an app store being used to not only discover and install new apps and games, but also to keep them up to date.

For anyone using the Microsoft Store in Windows 11 to install legacy apps, this will not be an option. When it comes to Win32 apps, Microsoft is washing its hands of the update process, leaving it down to developers to offer their own in-app update facilities. As noted by Windows Latest, this is something that Microsoft explains in the App Developer Agreement that comes into force this week:

Updates to Apps. Section 3(b) of the Agreement is amended and restated to read as follows: Updates to Apps are not required to be submitted through the Store. End users will not be able to receive updates from the Store. Apps can be updated directly by You via your App that is installed on a Windows Device after download from the Store. Any updates to Win32 apps are subject to all of the requirements of this agreement, including the Microsoft Store Policies currently available here, which may be updated from time to time. You may still submit an updated App for Certification and distribution through the Store. The updated App is subject to all of the requirements of this Agreement, including the Microsoft Store Policies currently available here You may not add any new functionality to your App via an update which requires written consent from the Customer without first providing notice to the Customer and obtaining any consents as may be required by law in the markets where you choose to distribute your App.

Over on Twitter, Microsoft's Rudy Huyn said that a label will be added to legacy apps in the Store to make it clear that things will be handled differently:

It is not clear where this leaves developers who do not have the resources to offer in-app upgrades, but Windows 11 users will always be able to manually download software from websites rather than being entirely reliant on the Microsoft Store to cater for all of their app needs.

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