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It seems like most companies now a days, give you a crappy laptop with some version of Windows on it that allows you to access the internet (sometimes they block YouTube, Facebook, etc.), comes with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, and whatever internal software they use for their particular business. If you try to install some other kind of software, you will be told that you don't have administrative privileges and to contact your administrator.

This approach makes sense to me from an administrative perspective (easy to set up, maintain, costs, etc.). However, from a user's perspective it can feel a bit draconian and counter-productive (and not fun).

The Windows 8 App Store (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/apps), may be a step in the right direction for Windows in that it could allow IT Administrators the peace of mind to allow users to download the apps that they think are appropriate for their policies, while also allowing the users the opportunity to be more productive. Is there a case that can be made for this?

Is there a way for an IT department to customize the Windows 8 app store offerings it provides to its users based on its own internal policies? Is there something else comparable out there with similar "app-store" functionality and customization for Windows Vista/7?

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It is possible to turn off the Windows Store altogether via Group Policy. (Item 5 here)

This setting can be found in Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Store.

Once that is done, Windows 8 apps can be side-loaded. Details here.

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