When my Dad uses my Windows system, he seems to end up installing random programs. Which are sometimes benign, but other times are malware. How can I stop third-party app installs and limit the computer to just programs from the Microsoft Store?
My first thought is that you don’t necessarily need to change program installation permissions, you need to set your Dad up with his own account. Turns out that’s pretty easy to do – how to set up a new Windows user – but I suppose even then you want to lock things down too.
Turns out that Windows 10 has just a feature4 built in to the system, but for reasons I cannot explain, the default setting is for it to be disabled, not turned on. Maybe inside Microsoft they never have issues with malware? Whatever the case, it’s easy to enable what they call the “installing apps” security feature.
Let’s have a look!
To start out, as always, utilize the great Cortana Win10 search system by typing in “installing apps”:
Choose the highlighted option: “Choose where to install apps from“. We’ll ignore the awkward grammar 🙂
The big “Apps & features” window opens, and at the top is what you seek:
Click on the menu – notice the default is “Allow apps from anywhere” – and you’ll see you have three options from which to choose:
I usually recommend that people choose “Warn me before installing apps from outside the Store” but in the case of your Dad, it might be smart to block those entirely and choose “Allow apps from the Store only“.
Make your choice, close the window and you’re done.
Now, if you did choose “Warn me” here’s what happens when you now go to install a game, app, utility or other program from other than the Windows Store. First, it all looks pretty standard on the download:
Then it hopefully runs a security scan (at least in Microsoft Edge):
But instead of just starting the installer, you now see this warning message and have the option of not proceeding:
I have to say I really like all the cheery icons in this graphic, though it does mean that you have to pay a bit closer attention to understand what is going on, which could ostensibly confuse your Dad. To proceed with the install, simply click “Install anyway” but if you change your mind and don’t want to install, simply close this window or click on “Get apps from Store” to jump to the Windows Store.
If you do proceed, of course, you still have the usual Windows 10 permissions prompts too:
You can stop at this point by clicking on “No”, but if you do proceed, then the installer for the particular program, app or utility will launch. In this case, Backgammon Classic:
At this point the installer is running so theoretically some malware could already be snuck onto your system, but hopefully even at this point if you click “Cancel” it’s clean and you have nothing untoward installed.
Now, seriously consider setting up a new account for your Dad and be careful with those installs!
Pro Tip: While you’re here, do check out our extensive Windows 10 help area for many more tutorials!