The Microsoft Store has struggled in the past to garner approval from its users. It has had a reputation for being dysfunctional—or missing critical applications altogether. But with the Windows 11 upgrade comes the promise of significant improvements and increased functionality. Here are the key features to look out for if you download Windows 11 and use the Microsoft Store.
A better search experience in the Microsoft Store
Microsoft continues making the store’s search process easier for users—and that includes creating new results pages that put the most relevant and desirable content first.
Additionally, new filters allow users to tailor their search based on application age ratings or categories. You can now use the All Types drop-down menu to filter through app sales, paid apps, or free apps. You may also toggle Departments and All Ages of these apps to search the store more thoroughly.
An entertainment widget
Microsoft tried to integrate widgets into its OS years ago but decided to abandon them. However, a new button in the taskbar opens a widget panel that includes Weather, Traffic, Calendar, and other basic offerings.
Once you open the widget panel, you’ll notice the Microsoft Store sidebar also includes sections like Home, Apps, Gaming, and Entertainment. In the new Entertainment widget, users can download some of their favorite streaming services or access widgets for film and gaming.
A pop-up store
The new OS allows users to access a mini version of the Microsoft Store when clicking on the “Get it from Microsoft” badge on web pages. For instance, on sites featuring app badges, you can download applications online with this mini pop-up version of the Microsoft Store to mediate the installation.
This is a welcomed update that allows quicker access to the store without having to go through the Microsoft Store itself.
Improved Xbox integration
Windows 11 brings improved integration with the Xbox App, where gamers will be able to play over 100 titles through the Xbox Game Pass. Additionally, the Epic Games Store is one of the native apps you can now download within the Microsoft Store.
This comes at a good time, considering more PC games will be released and available to Windows 11 users this fall. For example, Age of Empires IV, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite are all set to be released in the next couple of months.
Unfortunately, many PCs don’t meet Windows 11’s stringent hardware requirements; you can download the PC Health Check app to see whether yours meets the minimum system requirements for installing Windows 11 to access the Microsoft Store. If it doesn’t, we have a guide for making Windows 10 feel a bit more like Windows 11.