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Improving Performance and Telemetry with Microsoft Store Web Installers

Image Source: RoSonic / Shutterstock

Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Store web installers to streamline the installation process of Microsoft Store applications.

This new feature aims to simplify the download and installation of apps such as Microsoft PC Manager from the Microsoft Store website, although there are trade-offs involved.

In 2022, Microsoft revamped the Microsoft Store website for Windows 10 and 11 and has been refining it continuously ever since.

To understand the benefits of this new installation method, let’s compare it with the previous installation process on the store.

Comparison of Old and New Installation Methods from Microsoft Store

When users browse the Microsoft Store, they have two options: through the official website or the Microsoft Store app. The new method improves installations through the official website.

The traditional process included:

  1. User clicks on the install button on the Microsoft Store website.
  2. Browser prompts to “Open Microsoft Store.”
  3. Clicking on the Open Microsoft Store button triggers the actual installation prompt.
  4. Clicking the install button starts the download and installation of the app.

The new process is simpler. Clicking the install button on the website downloads an executable file that needs to be run to install the app on the device.

Reasoning Behind Microsoft’s Implementation of the Change

Microsoft highlighted the advantages of the new installation process on Twitter:

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  • Reduced installation clicks from three to two.
  • Faster installation process.
  • Functional downloads even if the Store is out-of-date or removed from the device.
  • Support for parallel installations.

According to Microsoft, this new method resulted in a 12% increase in installations and a 54% increase in application launches after installation.

Concerns Not Addressed by Microsoft

However, not everyone is happy with this change. Rafael Rivera, the developer of EarTrumpet, criticized Microsoft’s decision.

Rivera expressed his discontent on Twitter, stating, “The Microsoft Store team appears to be wrapping apps like EarTrumpet with a .NET executable wrapper containing telemetry and additional code under my app’s name. They also target netfx 4.7.2 instead of my app’s netfx 4.6.2, what’s happening?”

While Microsoft defends using Netfx 4.7.2 for support across all Windows versions, Rivera points out that this wrapper includes telemetry components, which is a concern for users.

Final Thoughts

It is unclear whether the telemetry collection has significantly changed with this new method. The old approach directed installations through Microsoft Store, which also facilitated telemetry collection by Microsoft.

Users should note that the provided executable file is not the actual application for download. It is a consistently sized wrapper at 703 kilobytes. Running this wrapper will trigger the download and installation of the desired application.

Image Source: RoSonic / Shutterstock

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