Managing the Store app pin to the Taskbar added in the Windows 8.1 Update

Managing the Store app pin to the Taskbar added in the Windows 8.1 Update

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Update 9/9/2014

Warren here yet again to update this blog to tell you that the GP to control the Store icon pin has shipped in the August 2014 update: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2975719/. If you want to control the Store icon pinned to the taskbar be sure to install the August 2014 update on all the targeted machines.

You can now have the Store disabled and the Store Icon removed via GP, or leave the Store enabled but remove the Store Icon pinned to the taskbar if that is what you need. The previous behavior of preventing the Store icon from being pinned during installation of Update 1 if the Store is disabled via GP remains unchanged.

The new GP is named: “Do not allow pinning Store app to the Taskbar”  

The full path to the new GP is: “User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar\Do not allow pinning Store app to the Taskbar”

Explain text for this GP:

This policy setting allows you to control pinning the Store app to the Taskbar

If you enable this policy setting, users cannot pin the Store app to the Taskbar. If the Store app is already pinned to the Taskbar, it will be removed from the Taskbar on next login

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, users can pin the Store app to the Taskbar

Thanks to everyone for their feedback on this issue and their patience while we developed and shipped the fix.

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Update 7/14/2014

Warren here with an update on the Store icon issue. Good News! Your feedback has been heard, understood and acted upon. A fix is in the works that will address the scenarios below:

 

Scenario 1 - You want to block the Store but have enabled the GP to block the Store after applying Windows 8.1 Update.  A fix will be made to the GP, such that it will remove the Store Icon pin if the “disable Store” GP is already set.

 

Scenario 2 - You want to provide access to the Store but want to remove the Store icon pin from the taskbar. A GP will be provided that can manage the Store icon pin.

 

Thanks for all of your feedback on this issue!

 

Warren

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4/9/2014

Warren here, posting with more news regarding the Windows 8.1 Update. Among the many features added by Windows 8.1 Update is that the Store icon will be pinned to the users taskbar when users first logon after updating their PC with Windows 8.1 Update.

Some companies will not want the Store icon pinned to the taskbar on company owned devices.  There are currently two Group Policy options to control the Store tile pin - one that you can use before deploying the update that will prevent the Store app from being pinned to the Taskbar, and another that you can use after the update has been deployed and the Store app has been pinned to the Taskbar.

Option 1:  Turn off the Store application before Installing the Windows 8.1

Use the Group Policy “Turn off the Store application”

As mentioned earlier, the Store Icon is pinned to the Taskbar at first logon after Windows 8.1 Update is applied. The Store application will not be pinned to the taskbar if the Group Policy “Turn off the Store application” is applied to computer. This option is not retroactive. The Group Policy must be applied to the workstation before the update is applied. The full path to this Group Policy is:

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Store\Turn off the Store application

Or

User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Store\Turn off the Store application

You can use either Group Policy. As the name of the policy indicates, this will completely disable the Store. If your desire is to allow access to the Store but do not want the Store tile pinned to the Taskbar see option 2.

Important note: By default the Group Policy setting “Turn off the Store application” will not show up in GPEDIT.MSC or GPMC.MSC if you run the tools on a Windows Server. You have two options: Install the Remote Server Admin Tools (RSAT) tools on a Windows 8.1 client and edit the group policy from that machine or install the Desktop Experience feature on the server used for editing Group Policy. The preferred method is to install the RSAT tools on a workstation. You can download the RSAT tools for Windows 8.1 here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39296

Option 2:  Use Group Policy to remove Pinned applications from the Taskbar after Installing the Update

Use the Group Policy “Remove pinned programs from the Taskbar”

This GP is a big hammer in that it will remove all pined tiles from the task bar and users subject to the policy will not be able to pin any applications or tiles to the Taskbar. This accomplishes the goal of not pinning the Store tile to the taskbar and leaves the Store accessible from Start.

User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar\Removed pinned programs from the Taskbar”

Other Options

The last available option at this time is to have users unpin the Store app on their systems. Programmatically changing the Taskbar pins is not supported nor encouraged by Microsoft. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd378460(VS.85).aspx

  • Neither option really provides what enterprise customers want or need. We need to actually control pinning of the Store App. Please hear this Microsoft. Either don't Pin it in the first place, or make it easy to remove without jumping through hoops (turn it off, then back on again... but in a specific order, at a specific time, and cross your fingers) or completely destroying all the existing pins for users.

  • Urrgh. So either kill the store or kill the pinned programs feature. How about an easy way to remove the store icon from taskbar. Uurrgh.

    In our Enterprise enviroment we have places where the store is wanted, but we don't want to see the icon on taskbar for every user and we don't want to kill the pinned program feature. We got now real solution.

  • @ Jparz and Erroneus

    I understand the problems with this scenario and agree the current options are not great. They certainly don't cover all scenarios. I wrote this blog as soon as we discovered the limitation to make sure people knew what options they had and could avoid the pin by disabling the store if that meets their needs. I am working to get better options for customers to control the Store Icon pin. I will update this blog if\when things change.

  • This is really not a solution at all. The issue here is two fold for enterprise customers - we want to remove the store button for all or some users, but we also need the ability to define which INDIVIDUAL applications we want to appear on the taskbar through GPO's, not just either all or none. I can't understand why this isn't an option within GPO Management; many of our users they use the taskbar all the time, and we need to provide a consistent base set of task bar items, and disabling pinning of items to the taskbar is not a solution applicable to the real world.

  • Hi guys. Just tested an old method (http://blogs.technet.com/b/deploymentguys/archive/2009/04/08/pin-items-to-the-start-menu-or-windows-7-taskbar-via-script.aspx) to unpin the Store shortcut but it doesn't seem to have a source file.
    So I pinned the Store to the Start screen and tried using the Store.lnk that you can see in Explorer in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs, but the file is not found by script or in DOS.
    Next I created my own shortcut and copied the target: %windir%\WinStore\WinStore.htm. I was hoping to be able to use the script to Unpin from Taskbar but that fails... however, if you run the script to Pin to Taskbar first, you can use the script to UnPin from Taskbar and the existing shortcut is removed.
    For now I plan to make this an Active Setup task for each user:
    1) Create a Store shortcut pointing to %windir%\WinStore\WinStore.htm
    2) Run the script, pointing to my shortcut and using the Pin to Taskbar verb
    3) Run the script, pointing to my shortcut and using the UnPin to Taskbar verb
    It may not be supported but it works for me :)

  • Regarding the above, Active Setup didn't work (I guess because the desktop isn't loaded at the time) but a Scheduled Task delivered by GPP to run the same actions as %LogonDomain%\%LogonUser% at log on does work.

  • Microsoft really need to learn the difference between corporate business users and home consumers.

    I wrestled for several hours with our new 2012 R2 RDS pre-populating the task bar for new users with server manager, powershell and windows store.

    I finally got around this by setting an "Apply once and do not reapply" GPO registry setting which deletes
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Taskband

    This will clear everything off the taskbar then allow people to populate it as they feel.

    You can pin what you want people to have and copy the value settings in the policy - I can see issues with future updates on that but it is a workaround until MS can hopefully one day start supporting their released OS's instead of somehow being caught completely unawares that people might want to continue managing their environments as they have done for years.

  • has this been properly addressed yet?
    not only is deployment of update 1 risky, but basic enterprise feature sets and controls are clearly missing (as laid out here) and as others have repeatedly mentioned to what appears to be deaf ears, microsoft are not listening to the corporate side. which is their strongest market...