Microsoft has castrated some of the capabilities of Windows 10 Pro admins looking to lock down the computers they manage. The company is removing the ability to block access to the Windows Store using Group Policy Editor.
The option will still be available to those running Education or Enterprise versions of Windows 10. It means that businesses who have come to rely on this option as part of their security regime will have to consider upgrading to a different version of Windows 10.
Microsoft is understandably keen to encourage as many people as possible to make use of the Windows Store, but this move is unlikely to be well-received by the business community. In a statement to ZDNet, Microsoft said:
Microsoft is focused on helping enterprises manage their environment while giving people choice in the apps and devices they use to be productive across work and life. Windows 10 Enterprise is our offering that provides IT pros with the most granular control over company devices. Windows 10 Pro offers a subset of those capabilities and is recommended for small and mid-size businesses looking for some management controls, but not the full suite necessary for IT pros at larger enterprises. The ability to block access to the Windows Store is typically for organizations who want more control over corporate-owned devices. This fits into the value of Windows 10 Enterprise.
The change was noted by SwiftOnSecurity on Twitter:
The responses to the announcement were varied, but overwhelmingly negative, with just about every reply indicating that Microsoft was making a mistake.