Enabling the Windows Store

If you are a user of the new “Windows to Go” feature of Windows 8 Enterprise edition, which enables you to boot and run the Windows 8 operating system off an external USB device, you may have noticed something odd when trying to use the Windows App Store:


In a nutshell: “Windows Store isn’t available on Windows To Go workspaces”.

How to fix?

This seemed odd to me, I can’t think of any technical reason why this might be the case, especially given Windows to Go still has the full formerly-known-as-Metro user interface.  Then I stumbled across this blog article on the MSDN blogs site which pondered the same question.

It appears that the Windows Store is locked down by Group Policy for unknown reasons, I suspect due to paranoia (key term here is ‘Enterprise’, after all).

I don’t want to steal the thunder of the original article, but for brevity – the steps to unlocking require a change to the system’s group policy.  Here’s a paraphrasing of the steps outlined in the original MSDN blog article:

  1. Open the Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) – for local policy
  2. Go to Computer Configuration/Administrative templates\Windows Components\Store. Go to the “Allow Store to install apps on Windows To Go workspaces” policy.
  3. Enable & Apply

Sometimes you might want to make this apply right away, to do so open a Command Prompt and gpupdate /force

This worked for me Smile

Note that this applies to the local Group Policy and may be superseded by a domain-level Group Policy.

Still no joy?

If you still have issues, perhaps you may need to make a registry change, first noted here.  This may have unintended consequences but I can’t think of any off the top of my head, so why not give it a try (worst case, you can restore the registry value to the default):

  1. Open the Registry Editor (regedit), you should be prompted for permission elevation (under UAC)
  2. Navigate/expand to the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
  3. Find the following DWORD value: PortableOperatingSystem
  4. Change the value from 1 to 0 and reboot the system


If you’ve made these changes, of course you will be able to download the Sanders Technology Digest application – here’s a handy link..  Or why not try the Windows Store directly?


About Rob Sanders

IT Professional and TOGAF 9 certified Enterprise Architect with nearly two decades of industry experience, 18 years in commercial software development and 11 years in IT consulting. Check out the "About Rob" page for more information.

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