One of the novelties that Windows 8 introduced, and that was standardized with Windows 10, was the Microsoft Store. This application store wants to become a kind of App Store similar to that of macOS, Android or iOS, a place from which users can download, buy and update all kinds of apps and games for the operating system without having to navigate through other websites. The Microsoft Store is fine, it’s fast and convenient, but it’s too dependent on Microsoft. And sometimes you have connection problems. And, although it is not official, there is an alternative that allows us to download the apps from this store without having to depend on it.
The developers of adguard are known to have already created other programs that allow us to evade Microsoft platforms and directly access downloads. For example, they have a tool to download the official Windows and Office ISOs, both final and Insider. And, also the platform that we are going to talk about this time that allows us to download any app or game for free without having to go through the store.
Adguard: how to download from the Microsoft Store without going through the store
What it does, roughly speaking, Adguard is current as a proxy. Instead of making us go through the Microsoft Store, and having to log into the store with a Microsoft account, it allows us to download apps and games directly from the company’s servers. In this way we will skip the Microsoft gateway.
The first thing we must do is get the URL of the app or game that we are going to download. To do this, we simply look for the app on the Microsoft Store website and look at the URL. Store addresses are made up of the address itself and a series of parameters. We copy it clean. It should look similar to the following.
In case you want to download any game, the process is exactly the same. Once you have copied the address to the clipboard, we walked from here to the store of AdGuard. As we will see, the web is very simple.
What stands out about this page is the box to enter the URL. We can enter the address of the store, as we copied it in the previous step, or we can pass it a product ID, category or package name. We can also choose the version we want to download, with Retail being the stable version, and the others coinciding with the Insider branches (Release Preview, Fast and Slow).
We paste the URL in the box, choose “Retail” and click on the button on the right. The web will carry out some checks and will show us a list with all the elements that are part of this app.
We will be able to see both the original packages and the signature and all the dependencies. The packages that interest us are the AppxBundle and / or EAppxBundle, since they are the ones that contain the application. If we need a library or framework, Windows 10 itself will download it automatically. Along with each download we have a SHA1 code that will allow us to verify that the program has been downloaded correctly.
We click on the download that we want to download (his thing is to look for the newest version, for 64 bits) and the download will begin. As we can see, the file is downloaded directly from Microsoft’s servers.
In order to install these apps downloaded from the adguard website, the first thing we must do is have the developer mode activated in Windows 10. If we do not have it, we will explain how to activate it later.
With this activated, we will simply run the “appx” file that we just downloaded and we will see a window like the following one, with the Windows UWP installer.
We can see the origin of the file (in our case, the Microsoft store), who has published it, the version and the permissions that the program needs. We can also choose if we want it to run automatically when it’s ready.
We click on “Install” and that’s it. Windows 10 will take care of installing this UWP on the PC, along with its possible dependencies. When it’s over, we can run it.
Enable developer mode in Windows 10 for apps outside of the Microsoft Store
In order to install apps from the Microsoft Store from outside the store (as in this case), we must enable programmer mode in Windows 10. This is the one that will allow us, among other things, to execute appx packages that are not digitally signed.
To do this, what we must do is open the Windows 10 Settings menu, and go to the “Update and security” section. Here we will move to the ” For programmers ” section, and activate the “Programmer mode” box.
What this box allows us is to install and run any package in Windows 10 without taking into account its origin or digital signature. Essential for what we have explained in this article.
Once this option is activated, we restart the computer and that’s it. We should no longer have problems installing or running any UWP app on our PC.
Download paid apps for free? Yes but no
This website will allow us to bypass the payment systems of the Microsoft Store and download any payment app, or game, to our PC. And even using the techniques that we have just seen, we will also be able to install it on the PC. However, that does not mean that we can play it.
The Microsoft Store has a DRM system that will force us to validate online payment applications before being able to run them on the PC. Therefore, even if we download it in this way, if we do not connect with a Microsoft Account, we will not be able to run these programs.
Problems installing applications outside the Microsoft Store
The Microsoft store is more and more worked and the number of applications has grown a lot in recent times, so it is always advisable to use it to download our favorite applications. In the event that we decide to download them from the Internet, we may encounter the following problems.
The downloaded file contains viruses
By downloading the applications directly from this store, we know that they are completely virus-free. When downloading a program directly from the Internet, nobody assures us that it is 100% virus-free. And not only that the file may contain the virus, but also that we click on a banner that makes us download a file with embedded Trojan or malware, something that will not happen by downloading from the Microsoft Store
When we download an application from the Microsoft store we make sure that it will be compatible with our operating system. All applications go through strict compatibility control so that they work perfectly on our version of Windows. In the event that it was not compatible, we could not download the application. If we download from the Internet, we run the risk of installing a version that is not compatible with our operating system, creating problems and errors when executing it.
Abusive advertising on the webs
If we decide to search for an application in the browser, we may come across a page in English, with the download link down, or we may have to go from window to window looking for the right link. In addition, many websites abuse advertising with annoying windows and banners that can end up causing us to download unwanted files and software and even with malware. By downloading the application from the Microsoft store, we avoid website advertising and the installation of malicious software.