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Windows 11 makes it easier than ever to set up a new PC with your favourite apps

Microsoft makes it easier to re-install apps on a new PC from the Microsoft Store and rolls out new developer-friendly features.
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Written by Liam Tung, Contributor on
two laptop computers side by side, one displaying a blue background with a white windows 10 logo and the second with a patterned blue background displaying a windows 11 logo
Image: Getty Images

Microsoft is adding the ability for Windows 11 to restore apps previously installed from the Microsoft Store to a new Windows PC. 

The feature should make much it easier for Windows 11 users to set up a new Windows PC. Rather than having to go find previously installed apps in the Store's Library section and re-installing them, it gives users a one-click option to restore apps on the new device. The feature will be tested in the near future in a Windows Insider channel, according to Microsoft.      

"To make it easier for customers to transition to their new PCs quickly and seamlessly, we will soon test a new feature in the Windows Insider channel that helps customers automatically restore their apps, previously installed from the Microsoft Store, to their new Windows device," Giorgio Sardo, general manager of the Microsoft Store, said in the Windows Developer blog.

It also benefits developers by avoiding the need to remind users to re-download an app they previously had.

SEE: Microsoft says Windows 11 has hit this major milestone

On the Microsoft Store app, users will see a list of icons for apps installed on an existing Windows PC and have the option to "Restore all" or "Select apps" for restoring on the new device.   

Microsoft is also hoping to improve the discoverability of apps in the Microsoft Store, which has been thinly populated, as well as to get more app developers on board. The Store didn't even have Microsoft Teams until this month.  

Microsoft revamped the Microsoft Store at the launch of Windows 11 in October, at the time promising Adobe Creative Cloud, Disney+, TikTok, Zoom, Teams, Visual Studio, Notepad and Paint would be available. 

Today, the Microsoft Store includes ACDSee Gemstone, Adobe Express, Audacity, Canva, Course Hero, Discord, Drawboard PDF, Epic Games, Firefox, Luminar Neo & Luminar AI, Mailchimp, Meitu XiuXiu, Microsoft Teams, OpenOffice, Paramount+, PuTTY, WinZip, and Zoom, according to Sardo.  

In February, as regulators reviewed Microsoft's huge Activision Blizzard acquisition, Microsoft published its Open App Store Principles, which included the rule that developers aren't required to use its payment system for in-app purchases and a commitment not to favor its own apps over third-party rivals. Microsoft will continue to allow sideloading apps from the internet. 

And at Build 2022 last week, Microsoft dropped the Microsoft Store waitlist for developers with Win32 apps, allowing developers who build apps in .NET, C++, Electron, Flutter, Qt, Rust and so on to submit their apps immediately for distribution in the Store.

Developers with Win32 apps can make them undiscoverable on the Store for pre-launch beta testing. Developers gain new analytic dashboards to see how users are acquired, app usage, health metrics, and install analytics. Developers will also be able to respond to reviews on Win32 apps.   

Microsoft has released several new tools for PWA app developers, including a new Visual Studio Code (VS Code) extension to help build, package and publish PWAs to the Microsoft Store from the IDE.  

Further appealing to developers, Microsoft today announced Microsoft Store Ads to let them deliver ads to users based on interests, such as music. 

"In the coming months, developers will be able to create ad campaigns in the Microsoft Store using Microsoft Advertising. Only developers with published content on the Store will be able to run ad campaigns, which ensures ads are contextual for customers," Sardo said. 

Finally, Microsoft is expanding the Amazon Appstore preview – the sole place from which Android apps for Windows 11's Android subsystem can be installed – from the US only to France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom. This will happen by the end of this year.

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