Windows 11 and Windows 10 support the sideloading of apps. This feature allows users to download their favorite apps outside the Windows Store. There are a lot of apps that are not available in the Windows Store and using this method, users can now install and run those apps easily on Windows 11/10. The procedure to sideload non-store apps in Windows 8 was a little difficult, but in Windows 11/10, it is much easier.
What is SideLoading of applications?
Installing and running any non-certified software in the Windows device is known as the sideloading of apps. Sideloading of applications gives freedom to users to download any type of app from different stores. Earlier Microsoft did not allow Windows users to install any outside application and blocked such application installs if any user tried to install it.
SideLoad apps on Windows 10
Let us see how to SideLoad applications on a Windows 10 computer.
How to download apps outside the Windows Store
To download non-Store apps, first enable the ‘For Developer’ mode of Windows 10. The ‘For Developer’ mode will not only allow users to download uncertified apps but also allow them to test their own developed apps before launching them officially.
With this developer mode, a user can test or install apps without tweaking the Registry or the Group Policy Editor, as was required on Windows 8.1.
To enable this option to follow these steps:
- Launch the ‘Start’ menu.
- Open the ‘Settings’.
- Select ‘Updates and Security’
- Go to the ‘For Developer’ section and select the checkbox of ‘Sideload Apps’
- Windows 10 will send a warning message saying ‘Sideloading of apps is potentially dangerous’
- If the user is ready to take the risk, he/she can select ‘Yes’ and proceed.
After changing these settings, the user is free to download any application from different app stores.
Sideload apps in Windows 11
To sideload apps in Windows 11:
- Open Windows 11 Settings.
- Scroll down to Privacy & security.
- Switch to the Security Section.
- Expand For Developers menu.
- Locate Developer Mode heading.
- Toggle the switch to On position.
The Developer Mode in Windows 11 will let you install apps from any source, including loose files.
Related: How to sideload Android apps using WSA on Windows 11.
Risks of sideloading apps
Technically it is wrong to download any application outside from the authentic stores. It includes a lot of security risks and malware can infect your system. Hackers can send ransomware or users can be targeted by identity thieves, and so on. Therefore, before enabling the ‘sideload apps’ option, Microsoft sends out the warning message.
Windows 11/10 includes lots of built-in security features and tools that can easily detect any type of unwanted software. Moreover, a lot of controversial games and software, emulators, and BitTorrent clients are restricted by Microsoft. It is always better to download the application from trusted platforms. But if you do need to run or test outside apps, this is the way to go in Windows 11/10.
Whether this feature includes lots of risks, users like me are very excited about it. Now they are free to use and run different types of apps, themes, and games on their Windows 10 PCs, laptops and phones, like Android users do.
Read next: How to run Google Play Store Android apps on Windows 11.