Backing up PWA-Installs

Hi everyone!

Just a quick one: since I’ve sprung for a Surface Go 2 (might write a quick review if anyone’s interested, will be a rave), I have thrown myself deeply into the Microsoft pond with Microsoft 365, OneDrive, even Edge.

There’s one interesting function of Edge to “install” websites as apps on the machine. So I have done with about two dozen. I even tried embracing the modern start menu and set up a logical pattern of tiles and groups and folders. Not entirely sure whether that was an excellent idea, but that’s what I did.

Now my problem: how do I back up that set-up of PWAs and their set-up and layout on my star menu? It seems that Windows does not synch this across my three machines and if something goes south, I’d be spending hours to recover this by building it back up. Is there a way to save and quickly recover and / or share these PWAs and the menu with other machines?

Thank you for your thoughts! :slight_smile:

Veeam for local backups or Carbonite or Backblaze for cloud backups?

…seem to be solid services, but my questions goes more into the direction of “does anyone know what needs backing up to easily restore PWAs?” Maybe, it is only possible to restore by manually reinstalling. But since the PWAs really only are links to websites, I suppose it could be easy.

I’m guessing they land in AppData\Local under the user folder, but I’ve yet to find a website that I’d install as a PWA, so I haven’t really investigated.

A quick look suggests that …\Packages might be a good place to look. A quick Google didn’t really bring up anything relevant about where they are stored, just where you can get them and how to install them.

@carbonga Are you wanting to backup the “installer” file for PWA’s or are you wanting to backup your PWA setup?

The PWA setup. I think of PWAs as somewhat akin to a more powerful bookmark for outside the browser and more integrated into the OS, from a UI standpoint. A technology to make web applications feel more like applications installed on the machine. At least, that’s how I use them.

Now, since I think of them as “more powerful bookmarks” and one of the key features of bookmarks (to me) is that they are synced across my machines, I am looking for a way to sync PWAs as well. I have three Win 10 machines and would like to have the same setup across all three. That also goes for the start menus.

Setting up PWAs and the start menu can easily take a couple of hours and I’d love using those features without having to manually click-and-drag my way for every change I make to one machine.

Do you know of a way to sync (probably not) or behave-akin-to-sync (maybe more likely)?

(This reads much like a begrudging rant - sorry about that, certainly not intended. I am simply liking PWAs and I am even getting to grips with the Windows 10 start menu, 5 years after its introduction, but I am having some problems getting those to fully work for me.)

I use two PWAs regularly on the workstation I’m using right now, Google Photos & Google Messages for the Web. Searching around my Users\username\AppData directory I don’t see any settings for those programs. I suspect all their settings are stored in Google’s cloud rather than locally. It may be that most PWAs use cloud storage for settings since that allows a consistent user experience on any device used. Another possibility is that they put all settings in the registry :scream:

When it comes to syncing across devices, I know of no setting, feature, or software that allows that. When it comes to backing up your PWA’s and settings on a single device, there is an option for saving an image of your PC. Other than that, I do not know of any other way.

I will say you have pointed out a great feature Microsoft could invest in a future version of Windows 10. I could use that myself as I use a half dozen PWA’s myself.

Go for it - it’s technically a great way to make advanced and functional websites feel more like traditional applications. E.g., I run the online accounting, timekeeping, and travel expenses services I use as PWAs. Just be aware that this particular feature of Windows does not appear fully implemented yet (sync, backup, etc.).

The deceiving bit is that it looks like just one little click to install - but before you know it, you invested time into setting this up for a number of web apps and then you find it’s an unfinished road you’re travelling on… :wink:

For anyone interested: Windows seems to sprinkle the needed information across the file system and registry - some links for the start menue; then, of course, the layout in an XML; then, an obscure cloudstore file; of course, don’t forget the hooks necessary for the PWAs themselves in the OS for removal.

In short: PWAs might still be somewhat of an abusive relationship on Windows. Seductive, but painful.