Windows 11 will soon let you restore apps to a new PC

Microsoft Store running on Windows 11
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft wants to make the Windows Store better. Not only for end-users but for developers too. Changes are coming that will improve how apps get onto your machine and also how you find them in the first place. Microsoft is also pushing ahead with its Amazon Appstore preview, which will be available outside of the US by the end of the year, although only in France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom. 

Microsoft will be testing out new features on the Windows Insider channel soon, including automatically restoring previously used apps to a new Windows device. This will only affect apps that have been installed from the Microsoft Store, but it's still a potentially useful upgrade from the current system of trying to find specific apps from scratch. 

This is much like you what get with Android smartphones, which give you the option of setting up a new phone to have all the apps you had on the previous phone so you don't have to mess around finding your faves. 

The whole point is that this makes the new PC experience a more seamless endeavor, which I can definitely get behind. The only problem here is that plenty of us are still only installing a handful of apps from the Microsoft Store, so it doesn't offer much of a time-saving. Still, anything that makes using the Store easier has got to help.

Microsoft is also going to be integrating Microsoft Store results into the Windows Search. This allows you to quickly install an app that you know the name of direct from the Start bar. If you try this in Windows 11 right now you'll often find you'll end up at the Microsoft Store after visiting the developer's website, so this should save some time. 

Window shopping

Windows 11 Square logo

(Image credit: Microsoft)

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A more fundamental problem for the Microsoft Store is discoverability—there are a lot of apps on there, so how do developers get their brand new awesome apps in front of potential users? Why, adverts of course. Microsoft is introducing its new cunningly titled Microsoft Store Ads to help developers build ad campaigns to get their apps in front of interested users. Here's hoping no one abuses it.

Microsoft overhauled the Store for the release of Windows 11, and while it is better than it was, it's still not a resource I immediately go to when trying to find a particular piece of software. There are exceptions, Cinebench R23 is available on the Store, but I generally grab most of my software directly from the developer's websites. We'll have to see if these proposed changes make a difference. 

Alan Dexter

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.