Windows 11 App Store gets new reviews and ratings: Microsoft explains difference between ‘Packaged and Unpackaged’ Win32 apps

Microsoft Store Windows 11 Win32 Apps Updates
Packaged or Unpackaged, all Windows Applications will receive updates? Pic credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Store for Windows 11 is entirely different from App Store for Windows 10. The fundamentally redesigned app store has reportedly received new Reviews and Ratings dialogue boxes, along with other features. Additionally, Microsoft has explained the difference between Packaged and Unpacked Win32 apps.

Windows 11 Store will host a variety of apps such as UWP, PWA, Windows, Android, and perhaps even Linux. There’s one more category of applications, that Microsoft has further subdivided into two categories: Win32.

Microsoft explains the difference between Packaged and Unpackaged Win32 apps:

As confirmed in numerous reports, the Windows 11 Microsoft Store will host Android, Win32, Progressive Web App (PWA), and Universal Windows Platform (UWP).

The company has also assured Windows 11’s native app store will allow apps based on almost any framework. The list of supported frameworks includes Win32, .NET, Java, UWP, and web apps too.

Microsoft had recently confirmed that Windows 11 Store will not offer OTA (Over The Air) updates for “Unpackaged” Win32 Apps. The company has now clarified that there’ll be two types of Win32 apps in the Store: Packaged apps and Unpackaged apps.

Packaged Win32 apps such as Microsoft Edge, Notepad, Spotify, and Affinity editor will continue to receive updates directly from the Store. Incidentally, Microsoft previously called these apps “Store apps”.

Unpackaged apps are, however, a relatively new aspect for Windows 11, but certainly not for the Windows OS ecosystem. These are apps that third-party developers had hosted independently in the past, and wish to continue with the practice.

Simply put, Microsoft is willing to offer an official listing even for such desktop-grade applications on the Windows 11 Store. However, the company won’t offer any updates through the store or Windows Updates.

Regardless of the type, Windows 11 users will receive updates regularly, promises Microsoft:

Microsoft has been very lenient and relaxed about the approach to hosting apps on the Windows 11 Store. This is in stark contrast to the way apps were featured in the Windows 10 App Store.

There will be several unique aspects and challenges, particularly for Android apps. However, Packaged and Unpackaged Win32 apps will receive updates, assured Microsoft.

“This is technical, what’s important is that users will receive the latest updates regardless of who manages them.”

The way updates will arrive is of course a completely different story. For Packaged Win32 apps, if the developers release an update, Windows 11 users will get the same directly from the Microsoft Store.

Incidentally, users can also configure the store to auto-update all the apps on their PC. This will be quite similar to the way Windows Updates works.

The Unpackaged Win32 apps will take a different approach. Windows 11 users will get to download and install unpackaged Win32 apps through the Microsoft Store.

However, if users want to update these new Win32 apps, they will need to rely on the in-app updates mechanism that the developers will have to maintain separately. Users can also download updates from the developer’s website.

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