Unexpected Office web apps in Windows 10's Start menu said to be a bug

Microsoft still wants to to show you shortcuts to its Office services that live within its Edge browser, however

Credit: Dreamstime

If you’re seeing Microsoft’s Office apps appear in your Start menu as web apps, you’re probably wondering why they’re there. The answer is, they’re not—and Microsoft is dealing with the problem.

Last week, Windows Insiders began reporting that versions of Microsoft’s Office apps began showing up in their Start menu as Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs. But other users began complaining over the weekend that the PWAs were landing in their Start menu, as well—and they weren’t part of the Insider beta program. So what happened?

As we understand it, the pinned Office PWAs were the result of a bug. The bottom line is that if you right-click any Office PWAs that ended up in your Start menu, you can safely unpin them.

What went wrong

A source close to the company describes the addition of the Office PWAs as part of the transition to the new Edge browser, originally released in January. Users had begun complaining over the weekend that the new Office PWAs were being installed as part of the Windows 10 October 2020 Update—which, given that the latest feature release adds the new Edge browser, seems to be true.

Credit: Mark Hachman / IDG

One of the features of both the legacy and the new Edge browser is that specific webpages can be pinned to the Start menu and Taskbar as shortcuts. The new Edge offers expanded support for marking those sites as Progressive Web Apps, if the site allows it.

Running Word in a browser and running it as a PWA is pretty much the same thing, with a few minor, yet key differences. For one, a PWA will strip out the address bar, tabs and other components that make the Web app look like a Web page. Second, and more importantly, a PWA can be saved as an “app” in the Start menu.

On a PC that didn’t have Office (or Microsoft 365, as it’s now called) installed, Microsoft would automatically insert shortcuts to the online versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The bug, however, translated the automatic installation of shortcuts to these Office Web apps as a request to install the Office PWAs, instead.

Microsoft still plans to tuck shortcuts to the Office Web apps in the Start menu as part of new PCs, we hear. But until Microsoft can ensure that they won’t end up as PWAs, Microsoft plans to pause the practice. 

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftappsOffice 365Windows 10

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?