Office PWAs installing without permission is a feature, not a bug ... kind of

Office 365 Home on Surface Go
Office 365 Home on Surface Go (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Office Progressive Web Apps were installed on some people's PCs without permission.
  • The automatic installation of Office PWAs results from a combination of a bug and a feature.
  • Microsoft is going to halt the rollout of the feature until it fixes the related bug.

Recently, several people spotted Microsoft Office Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) appearing on their Windows 10 PCs. These PWAs appeared without people granting permission or approval and required people to go through the Control Panel to remove them. Now, Mary Jo Foley reports for ZDNet on what's causing the automatic installations.

According to Foley, the PWAs automatically installing is the result of both a feature and a bug. Foley spoke with her contacts that are close to the situation, but Microsoft has not issued an official response.

On Windows 10, Microsoft has had pinned tiles for the Office web pages for some time if the Office desktop apps aren't installed on a PC. Since the latest version of Microsoft Edge supports installing websites as apps, the Office web apps should be managed by Microsoft Edge. The automatic installation issue is seemingly caused by Microsoft Edge linking the pinned sites to apps instead of just creating a pinned website.

According to Foley's sources, Microsoft will halt the rollout of the "feature" until the company sorts out the related issue.

It's important to note that while some people that saw the PWAs appear were Windows insiders, that the PWAs did not only appear on Insider PCs. The PWA versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook appeared on several Start Menus recently. In contrast to the shortcuts that appear when you install Windows 10, these PWAs were installed and required people to go to the Control Panel. While the PWAs need to be removed through the Control Panel, they don't take up any space on a PC since they're progressive web apps.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at