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Has the Windows Phone Marketplace returned to Zune Desktop?

WP Central

Back at the end of May, Microsoft surprisingly turned off the Windows Phone Marketplace from Zune Desktop. The “update” wasn’t software based but instead just altered a configuration file on the user’s computer, causing the Marketplace to be hidden.

We ended up using a simple hack (more of that below) to bring ours back but now a user in our forum (“rockstarzzz”) is claiming that they’ve received another feature-change notification…

 

WP Central

“[I] logged into my PC Zune and got "features have changed" pop up and now I can again see APPS section with my music and video. I've attached the screenshot. I have also downloaded OK!Magazine App off Zune and it worked fine! Anything I've missed? Since I'm using W8 preview, I have put the calendar open for date and time purpose.”

Have any of our other users noticed such a change? This won't be a software update but rather a simple registry change not requiring a new download. As we mentioned, we’re using a simple registry “hack” that brought ours back so it is a little hard for us to test. Our own George Ponder says he has not seen any pop-ups indicating a change and so far this seems contingent upon either running Windows 8 preview or some other anomaly.

Back in May, Microsoft detailed why they removed the Marketplace for the desktop noting simply that most people did not choose to use that as an option but instead used the Web Marketplace of just their phones. In order to prioritize their engineering teams, Microsoft nixed the desktop version and to be honest, there has been very little blowback.

Another interpretation though is that Microsoft temporarily suspended the desktop version during their “upgrade” process where apps were encrypted, the AppHub changed over to the Dev Center and other behind the scenes alterations were made. Now that those are complete, perhaps Microsoft is looking to bring back the function—at least for Windows 8 users whom will have some type of desktop option.

For those of you who want the desktop Marketplace back, you can re-enable with a registry editor and 30 seconds of your time. The method came from Russian Windows Phone users and was tipped in our comments:

  1. Open registry editor, go to HCU\Software\Microsoft\Zune
  2. Create a key with the name "FeaturesOverride"
  3. Inside this key create a DWORD value with the name "Apps"
  4. Set "1" to created value.
  5. Close registry editor, start Zune and if it works

Either way, we’ll keep an eye out for any further changes from Microsoft. Let us know in comments if you notice anything new too or head to our Forum for further discussion.

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Reader comments

Has the Windows Phone Marketplace returned to Zune Desktop?

23 Comments

Good! I missed the desktop experience and browsing my Apps there. I considered the deletion of them from Zune to be a big mistake.

They have probably disabled it because eavesdropping packets to Zune was the easiest way to intercept address of XAP packages from Marketplace. Now when packages are encrypted they don't need this disabling... but this is just wild guessing :)

Omfg thank god! I hope they added the ability to update our apps and see what's we paid for! They should also add a favorite. App section...

Can I ask guys  - is it just W8 people who are seeing it or is it even visible with Windows 7?
I have Windows 8 Release Preview. Can't get hands on the RTM! :(

I have Win7 Pro and logged on last night to see if I could force 7.8. No for 7.8 and no for "updated" Zune client.

I am well aware that 7.8 is an OS update, but without the marketplace, I have virtually no daily reason to use Zune.

Anyone know the future of the desktop app in the post-Zune world of Windows 8? It's the most beautiful of all library type media players, and I very much hope it will continue to exist as a rebranded desktop counterpart to Xbox Music in the Metro layer.

I have German ancestry and have spent time there, so I'll probably be able to spot the MetroAG thugs before they can sneak up on me...

For Windows 8 users it's regedit:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER
Software
Microsoft
Zune
 
And no there apears to be nothing different then before they disabled it!
 

Just re-installed Windows 7, installed Zune and got the same popup for feature changes. The app marketplace is back!

For non-US people, you can get a working Podcast marketplace by adding 'Podcasts' to FeaturesOverride like you did with 'Apps', as well. Actually, you can do this with a ton of stuff like Social, Music and etc. but most won't work properly if you don't have proper access to begin with. Podcasts work alright though, for PC at least.