Microsoft has made a new Xbox software for Windows available to testers, which dramatically streamlines the game installation procedure via the Windows Store. The upgraded program, as we reported earlier this month, allows PC gamers to install titles into any folder they choose with full access to game files.
It’s an option that should help alleviate many of the issues with installing Xbox Game Pass titles on PC, as well as allowing you to backup and restore game files if necessary. Previously, Microsoft required games to be installed into a WindowsApps folder at the root of a drive, which was password-protected and restricted, making it impossible to alter or move data.
You may now specify a location in the upgraded Xbox software, and you can move existing games to secondary disks if you have them loaded. I tested the app and was able to move Forza Horizon 5, Gears 5, and Microsoft Flight Simulator to secondary drives effectively. I now have full access to those files and directories as well.
Users of Windows 10 and Windows 11 can download the Xbox Insider Hub software from the store to try out the new Xbox app. To get the upgraded Xbox app, you’ll need to join the “Windows Gaming” preview through the Xbox Insider Hub app. However, Microsoft lists a number of known difficulties with this early edition, including problems starting some games from external devices and a number of games that aren’t yet supported.
There appears to be a permission issue preventing you from adding titles downloaded from the Windows Store to Steam. Because the Xbox app is currently in preview, it’s possible that this is an issue that will be fixed before it becomes generally available.
In any case, after years of difficulties and flaws, Windows Store game installs are finally becoming more Steam-like. If you’ve been putting off getting Xbox Game Pass for PC because of the Windows Store, this new Xbox app might alleviate some of your concerns.