Office PWA Installs Caused by Microsoft Edge Bug

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.

Windows Intelligence In Your Inbox

Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday — and get free copies of Paul Thurrott's Windows 11 and Windows 10 Field Guides (normally $9.99) as a special welcome gift!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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.

Tagged with

Share post

Please check our Community Guidelines before commenting

Conversation 16 comments

  • winner

    19 October, 2020 - 1:17 pm

    <p>The crack Microsoft software QC team at work.</p>

    • waethorn

      19 October, 2020 - 2:14 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#587204">In reply to Winner:</a></em></blockquote><p>What QC team?</p>

  • sherlockholmes

    Premium Member
    19 October, 2020 - 1:38 pm

    <p>Its not a bug. Its a feature. </p>

    • SvenJ

      19 October, 2020 - 4:52 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#587208"><em>In reply to SherlockHolmes:</em></a><em> </em>Maybe the bug was thinking they could get away with it?</blockquote><p><br></p>

    • smartin

      Premium Member
      19 October, 2020 - 5:34 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#587208">In reply to SherlockHolmes:</a></em></blockquote><p>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.</p><p><br></p><p>Anti-Malware software really should report Edge and offer to either remove it or quarantine it.</p>

      • jgraebner

        Premium Member
        19 October, 2020 - 6:13 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#587257">In reply to smartin:</a></em></blockquote><p>Those "huge applications" you are referring to are shortcuts to web applications. Nothing of any significant size was installed.</p><p><br></p>

  • jumpingjackflash5

    19 October, 2020 - 2:26 pm

    <p>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 ……</p><p><br></p>

  • robinwilson16

    19 October, 2020 - 2:29 pm

    <p>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.</p><p>Would like to try Outlook as a PWA as Desktop Outlook as really been running slowly lately.</p><p>Is there any technique to getting them to install?</p>

    • anoldamigauser

      Premium Member
      19 October, 2020 - 3:24 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#587216">In reply to robinwilson16:</a></em></blockquote><p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>Apparently, this site can also be installed as a web app, or so Edge is telling me.</p><p><br></p>

      • robinwilson16

        19 October, 2020 - 7:31 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#587232">In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:</a></em></blockquote><p>Thanks will try this.</p>

  • martinusv2

    Premium Member
    19 October, 2020 - 3:22 pm

    <p>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 :)</p>

  • Lordbaal

    19 October, 2020 - 5:12 pm

    <p>It's not a bug, it's a future.</p><p>How else would people know about it, if it doesn't install?</p>

    • waethorn

      19 October, 2020 - 11:07 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#587255">In reply to Lordbaal:</a></em></blockquote><p>More bugs are in your future.</p><p><br></p><p>(I think you meant "feature")</p>

      • Alastair Cooper

        31 October, 2020 - 10:31 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#587294">In reply to Waethorn:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I have discovered most of the software on my computer without it auto-installing itself . . .</p>

  • bleeman

    Premium Member
    19 October, 2020 - 5:14 pm

    <p>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.</p>

  • epguy40

    22 October, 2020 - 1:37 pm

    <p>it's also happening on a clean Windows 10 20H2 installation on one of my PCs</p><p>I ended up removing those Office PWA shortcut items from the C:\Users\<em>username</em>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder in File Explorer</p><p><br></p><p>this is despicable what Microsoft is doing</p>

Windows Intelligence In Your Inbox

Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Thurrott © 2023 Thurrott LLC