If you are an avid Windows OS user, you are used to downloading the software installer from the web and run it to install the application on your system. From Windows 8.1, Microsoft introduced a new way to install applications on the system in the form of the Microsoft Store.
Like Android and iOS users, Windows users can also directly search for their required apps on the Microsoft App Store and install them on their system in a single click.
However, when Microsoft Store was introduced, many traditional apps were unavailable, so users rarely visit it to get their applications. After the introduction of Windows 10, Microsoft has heavily invested in making its app store valuable. Today you will find many traditional desktop applications on the app store as well.
The main question is which apps are better, the traditional Windows 10 desktop apps or the new-gen Microsoft UWP apps? We will try to find the answer in this post.
What are Desktop Applications?
Desktop Applications are the classic Windows OS apps that use native Win32 / COM API or Microsoft .NET Framework API for communicating with the operating system. To use desktop applications, Windows users first need to download the dedicated installer from the internet and then launch it to install the application on the system. The software developed for Windows XP, Vista, or 7 can be purely categorized into Desktop applications. An example of a desktop app is Microsoft Office 2010. Since Win32 / COM API and Microsoft .NET Framework API are both supported in Windows 8, 8.1, and Windows 10 as well, therefore these OS are also compatible with the apps build for Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7.
What are Microsoft Store Apps?
The Microsoft Store Apps, also known as the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, are the next-gen apps that run only on Windows 8 and 10 OS. They were first introduced in Windows 8 as Metro-style apps. These apps are created in such a way that they are compatible with every Microsoft platform like PCs, Laptops, Tablets, and Smartphones. This is the reason they are called Universal Windows Platform apps.
Why Microsoft needs to launch Microsoft App Store?
Since Windows 8 and 10 fully support the native desktop applications, the traditional Windows OS users might wonder why Microsoft requires introducing the App Store?
Before the launch of the Windows App Store in Windows 8 OS, all other major platforms already had a dedicated application store for their users. Android had Google Play Store, iOS and macOS has App Store, Samsung had Galaxy Store, Linux users have several dedicated repositories. Only Microsoft lacked behind in this. Being one of the top OS platforms, Microsoft was forced to follow the trend.
Another reason was to maintain uniformity across platforms. Now Microsoft need not create separate apps for its different platforms. This strategy was also cost-cutting in the longer term.
One more important purpose of introducing the Microsoft Store Apps was establishing a secure environment on the Windows OS. Since the UWP apps are verified by Microsoft, they don’t possess security threats.
Desktop Apps vs. Microsoft Apps
If you are a long-term Windows OS user who is using desktop applications for years without any problem, you might question why you need to switch to the UWP apps if everything is working fine with the desktop apps. Are UWP apps providing something extra?
Let us compare both types of apps on different criteria to know which one is better.
|Desktop Apps||UWP Apps|
|Apps Availability||More in numbers||Relatively new, so lesser in number|
|Security||Less secure as they can be downloaded from any unofficial sources||More secure because they are first checked and then listed on the Microsoft App Store|
|Interface||Traditional interface which is click-friendly||Modern interface with more emphasis on touch devices|
|Resource Consumptions||Consume more resources as they are developed on older technologies||Resource friendly as they are developed with modern technologies with proper optimization|
|Installation||Need an installer for installing the app||One-click/tap installation from the app store|
|Update||Need manual monitoring for updates||Get automatically updated|
After comparing both the apps, we cannot clearly decide the winner between Desktop Apps and UWP Apps. UWP Apps might get a little edge because of the security feature, modern design, and auto-updates. On the other hand, Desktop Apps will provide more customizations and usability for power users. If both versions are available for your favorite apps, you can use both simultaneously and choose the one that seems more comfortable.
As of now, there is no compulsion to use the UWP apps, so you can use the mix of both types of apps as per your preference. However, Microsoft is slowly pushing users towards the UWP apps. Some built-in Windows features such as Your Phone support, auto-launch feature, and others are only applicable for UWP apps. We have to wait to see what lies for the traditional Win32 apps in the future.
The UWP apps are more beneficial for the touch-screen users as their UI is touch-friendly. They also update automatically. However, they lack some advanced features compared to traditional desktop apps.
YES. Software developers use an API named Windows Touch API to make traditional desktop apps touch-friendly.
Peter is an Electrical Engineer whose primary interest is tinkering with his computer. He is passionate about Windows 10 Platform and enjoys writing tips and tutorials about it.