Microsoft is installing Office web apps on Windows 10 without your permission
Microsoft recently pushed an update for Windows 10 that covertly installs progressive web apps (PWA) for Microsoft Office apps without asking for permission. The ‘forced update’ installs Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook web-based apps. These are basically shortcuts to the web version of Office that can be accessed through any browser, such as Chrome or Firefox, although the installed apps open through Microsoft Edge only even if your default browser is set to something else.
There are also some reports that suggest Windows 10 devices were restarted without asking for any sort of permissions. This was done to install these apps through a forced software update. It was initially assumed that the update was pushed for Windows Insider members only. However, it seems to have reached non-Insider members as well. We can confirm the same, as a recent update has installed these apps on our system as well, with the installation date as October 14.
Do note that these apps are not the full version of Microsoft Office. They will only open a web-version of the app where you need to sign in with your Microsoft account to gain access. It does seem like a convenient way for users that rely on the online version of Office as all of your Microsoft 365 apps are tucked nicely on the left allowing for easy access. Having said that, if you don’t care about these apps, you can easily uninstall them. There are two methods – by going to opening Settings App > Apps & Features page or using Control Panel > Programs & Features. The web-apps are mere shortcuts that hardly take any space on your system, nor are they the worst piece of bloatware that you will see on a PC. However, it has raised the question of forced advertising. A report from The Verge even calls out the company’s move as another “proof that it (Microsoft) doesn’t respect your ownership of your own PC.” If you do have Microsoft Office apps installed, the icons will open the full version of the apps.