Microsoft no longer allows administrators to block Windows Store access in Windows 10 Pro

Microsoft has retroactively removed the ability of companies to turn off access to the Windows Store in its Windows 10 Pro version.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is no longer allowing administrators to block Windows 10 Pro users' access to the Windows Store.

Thanks, @SwiftonSecurity

Up until a month ago, admins could use Group Policy to shut off employees' access to Windows Store if they were running Windows 10 Pro. Controlling this access is a requirement for some businesses.

But last month, Microsoft changed that option, claiming that Store access was required for all versions of Windows 10 except Enterprise and Education "by design." (Thanks to @SwitftonSecurity for the heads up.)

Admins still can use AppLocker or Group Policy to block access to the Windows Store if their employees (or students) are running Enterprise or Education.

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the change, noting that businesses who need to shut off Store access have no recourse other than Windows 10 Enterprise. The official statement:

"Microsoft is focused on helping enterprises manage their environment while giving people choice in the apps and devices they use to be productive across work and life. 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.

The clamp-down on administrator control over the Store was timed with Microsoft's declaration that Windows 10 1511 (a k a, the November update) had been designated the new Current Branch for Business (CBB) release.

Driving visibility and use of Windows Store has been one of Microsoft's goals with Windows 10.

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