Office PWA Installs Caused by Microsoft Edge Bug

Posted on October 19, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Office 365, Microsoft 365, Office with 16 Comments

Microsoft says that a bug in its Edge web browser is causing Office web apps to be installed on users’ PCs and that a fix is on the way.

On Thursday, I wrote that Microsoft was testing automatically installing the Office web apps—which are now Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs—on PCs enrolled in the Windows Insider Program. But since then, reports have emerged that normal, non-Insider PCs were seeing these installs. And that, in many cases, this was happening on PCs that already had the more powerful native Office applications installed.

Well, it turns out this is all just a big mistake, and not an instance of Microsoft secretly trying to push its Office web apps on unsuspecting users. Instead, it’s caused by a bug in Microsoft Edge that will soon be fixed.

As you may know, Microsoft typically pins Office web app tiles to the Windows 10 Start menu, but only if the native apps aren’t installed. As part of the latest Microsoft Edge version upgrade, a bug migrated those shortcuts to PWAs that are managed by Edge. So Microsoft is pausing the upgrade release in order to fix the bug.

I first saw news of this mistake on Neowin and have since confirmed the news.

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Office PWA Installs Caused by Microsoft Edge Bug”

  1. winner

    The crack Microsoft software QC team at work.

  2. sherlockholmes

    Its not a bug. Its a feature.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to SherlockHolmes: Maybe the bug was thinking they could get away with it?

    • smartin

      In reply to SherlockHolmes:

      Yes, and another reason not to use the Bug called Edge, ever. Imagine a Bug that accidentally installs huge applications on your computer without your authorization. I think under any normal circumstances, we'd call that either a Trojan Horse or a full on Virus.

      Anti-Malware software really should report Edge and offer to either remove it or quarantine it.

  3. jumpingjackflash5

    It seems that Microsoft's software quality is going downhill very fast, and Windows is not longer in focus. Very sad for once great OS maker ......

  4. robinwilson16

    I tried to install the webapps using the most up to date released version of Edge and the Canary install and all I get is the Office app with each browser when I press install in the address bar.

    Would like to try Outlook as a PWA as Desktop Outlook as really been running slowly lately.

    Is there any technique to getting them to install?

    • anoldamigauser

      In reply to robinwilson16:

      You can install Outlook as a PWA by going to the Outlook site with Edge, and then clicking on the "+" in the address bar or from the ellipsis in the upper right, select "Apps/Install this site as an app". It is its own standalone web app.

      If you install the Office web app, launching any of the "O" apps (Outlook, OneDrive, OneNote) can be hit or miss as to whether they open in a browser or the web app. Oddly, I have found that opening To Do or Calendar is more likely to open the full Outlook interface in the Office web app.

      Apparently, this site can also be installed as a web app, or so Edge is telling me.

  5. martinusv2

    I saw the new icons on my start menu. was very confused why it loaded the web version of Excel instead of my local copy lol. Now I understand why :)

  6. Lordbaal

    It's not a bug, it's a future.

    How else would people know about it, if it doesn't install?

  7. bleeman

    Yeah, they showed up on my system the other day. I'm not running any insider windows or edge builds. I am running the Office 365 suite. I just uninstalled all the PWA versions and put the tiles back on my start page for my full products. It was easy to detect as all the PWA tiles had tiny logos as Paul mentioned in the original article.

  8. epguy40

    it's also happening on a clean Windows 10 20H2 installation on one of my PCs

    I ended up removing those Office PWA shortcut items from the C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder in File Explorer

    this is despicable what Microsoft is doing