Microsoft is working on a new Windows 10 security feature that will block installation of regular Win32 applications and only allow verified installs from the Windows Store. The feature is already present in the latest builds of the OS that serve as a preview for the Windows 10 Creators Update set to arrive this April.
Naturally, the option is disabled by default, but it presents an interesting scenario if you want to purposely prevent users from installing new programs in managed scenarios (schools and businesses), or for that grandpa in serious need of a software walled garden. As reported by MSpoweruser, the feature offers two options: to completely prevent installation of Win32 apps, or to allow them but with a warning whenever they try to install a Win32 app.
The feature also shows a possible path for Microsoft to pursue in the future. Similar to what you can do with Android devices today, have the official app store become the most convenient way to download and install applications. But first Microsoft would have to open up the Windows Store to more popular titles, including so-called legacy Win32 applications, and to offer some kind of security verification for all those third-party titles.
Apple has a hybrid strategy with Macs which proved somewhat successful at first, though most developers still prefer to ship their products as third party standalone versions. As far as we can tell, Microsoft has had little success getting people to rely on the Windows Store outside of a few tablet optimized applications and some notable game releases.
The Creators Update is the second big update Windows 10 receives (Anniversary Update was the first a year ago) and will deliver a wealth of new features and improvements to the operating system free of charge.