News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • Beware “Album by Google Photos” crapware IN THE MICROSOFT STORE

    Posted on October 13th, 2018 at 14:09 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve seen several warnings about the “Album by Google Photos” app, from “Google LLC,” so I decided to try it out. On a test machine, of course.

    Sure enough. I went to the Microsoft Store using the Store app, installed Album by Google Photos, clicked Launch, and I was presented with a Google logon screen. Except it wasn’t a Google logon screen. It was a very good fake of a Google logon screen.

    I tried entering several bogus Google IDs, and suddenly I heard a machine-generated voice, “Virus alert! Your machine is sending your data to … Call xxx – xxx – xxxx to fix your PC!” or words to that effect.

    Fortunately, it wasn’t doing anything of the sort, and a click on the X in the upper right corner stopped the stupid thing. But that’s a heckuva Saturday surprise, eh? Straight from the Microsoft Store.

    I first heard about the unlikely Store denizen from Martin Brinkmann on Then @GeekLatest tweeted to me and pointed to his (her?) web site. Developer tricks Microsoft, publishes app under Google LLC name in Windows Store

    Sure enough, following the lead of GeekLatest, I dug into the installed UWP app, and found under a folder that was blocked, this lovely set of programs:

    Block Craft 3D is a completely legitimate Minecraft open world game. But somehow the Block Craft 3D inside Album by Google Photos doesn’t strike me as a Minecraft extension.

    If you ever wondered why people avoid the Microsoft Store like the plague, permit me to introduce you to reason number 147,389.

  • Microsoft sends cease and desist warnings to Store software publishers with “Windows” in their names

    Posted on February 12th, 2018 at 10:00 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I saw this over the weekend from Günter Born. He lists two specific apps that received “infringing app” notices, and many others apparently have been hit.

    One in particular stands out: Martin Geuß, who has been selling his Dr. Windows app for as long as Windows has had a store, got a notice. In case you don’t know, Martin Geuß is a Microsoft MVP of long standing, and one of the most helpful people on the internet.

    Even more stupid (that’s one of BillG’s favorite terms): The notice was received on Saturday, with the recipients expected to comply by Sunday.

    There’s one piece of wiggle room. Apparently the notification came from AppDetex, which “is authorized by Microsoft Corporation to facilitate the submission of and correspondence regarding complaints.” The complaint says the Dr. Windows app:

    uses the trademarks of Microsoft Corporation without authorization. In this instance, the app uses “Windows” in the title.

    I’ve long wondered at the way Microsoft has been granted a trademark for a common industry term. but I’m aghast at how it’s strong-arming even its most ardent supporters.

    I got bit by this same bit of stupidity almost three decades ago, when a Microsoft developer warned me that the MS legal folks were casting a malicious eye at the name “Word POWER Pack.” But that’s another story, for a different time.

  • The Windows Store is about to become the Microsoft Store

    Posted on September 22nd, 2017 at 12:19 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Makes me wonder if the meatspace Microsoft Stores are going to become “Microsoft Store”s, too.

    Mehedi Hassan in MSPowerUser.

    The change is supposed to happen in Fall Creators Update, version 1709, but I have build 16294.1 and all I see is the old Windows Store icon, with Windows Store sporting a minor facelift.

  • Microsoft pushes new Photos app onto Windows 10 beta 9926 machines via Windows Store

    Posted on February 10th, 2015 at 07:38 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The Photos app is still a dud – barely warmed over in this case. But pushing updates through Windows Store, now that’s something interesting…

    InfoWorld Tech Watch