Working with the Windows App Store

Windows 8 features the Windows App Store which is equivalent to the Apple Store and Google Play that we commonly access on our mobile devices to download apps and update them from time to time. The Store still lacks content as of this time but apps are sure to explode as the number of Windows 8 and Windows phone users grow.

The Store is just one of the exciting new features introduced on Windows 8 and since it is new, some users might have a hard time figuring out what to do with it. If it’s your first time to use Windows 8 then you can follow the guide below to make the most out of the Windows Store and the apps it offers.

Accessing the Windows App Store

There are many ways of getting to the Windows App Store on any Windows 8 machine but for the benefit of those who will be using it for the first time then here are some easy ways to follow in order to access it.

1. Using the “Start” Charm

Charms are new features introduced on Windows 8. To access the charms, all you need to do is point your mouse to the bottom or upper right corner of the screen and wait until a black pop-up strip appears containing some icons on it. Once it appears, click on the icon labeled “Start”. This is the “Start” charm. The other charms that are available are the “Search”, “Share”, “Devices” and “Settings” charm.

ScreenHunter_11 Aug. 12 15.06

After clicking on the “Start” charm, the Start Screen should then appear, from here, just look for the “Store” tile then click on it to open Windows Store.


2. Accessing Start Screen from the Start Tile

Another way of accessing the Start Screen is by clicking on the “Start Tile”. This shortcut can be accessed by simply pointing your mouse or tapping on the bottom-left edge of the screen. Once a tile that looks like the screenshot below appears, simply click on it. It’s the “Start Tile”. After clicking on it, the Start Screen will then appear and from here, you can click on the “Store” tile to open Windows Store.

ScreenHunter_12 Aug. 12 15.29

3. Press on the Windows Key to Open the Start Screen

Another way of accessing the “Store” tile is still through the Start Screen but this time, you’ll open the Start Screen in a different manner which is simply by pressing the Windows key found on your computer’s keyboard.

ScreenHunter_12 Aug. 12 15.38

4. Using the Switcher

Another way to access the Start Screen so you can click on the “Store Tile” is by using the switcher. To access the switcher, simply put your mouse on the upper or lower-left side of your computer screen and drag it downward (if you placed it on top) or upwards (if you chose to put the mouse at the bottom) and the switcher will appear. You can also do the same by using your finger. The switcher is a black pop-up strip that contains the recent apps and places you opened and at the bottom of it, you’ll see the “Start” tile, simply click on it to open the Start Screen and from the Start Screen click on the “Store Tile”.

ScreenHunter_12 Aug. 12 15.50

There’s a host of other ways in accessing the Start Screen on Windows 8 but we’ll settle on these four methods for now and leave the others on a future tutorial. Now, after you opened Windows Store, it’s about time to learn how to browse through the apps.

Browsing Through Windows Store Apps

All apps available in the Windows Store are arranged into categories so you need to identify to which category does the app that you’re looking for belongs and once you figure it out, simply click on the category name. For this tutorial, we will choose the “Social” apps category. Just scroll through the app categories from left to right using the scroll bar located at the bottom or by using the scroll wheel on a mouse if you are using a laptop or a desktop computer or swipe sideways if you’re using a touch enabled mobile device like a phone or a tablet.

ScreenHunter_12 Aug. 12 16.30

You’ll notice green tiles at the right of the app category which says “Top paid”, “Top free” and “New Releases”. You can also click on these tiles to filter the results further. Once the apps under the category you selected appears, simply look for the one that you’re searching for and once you find it, click or tap on it to reveal greater detail about the app. We’ll use the “Twitter” app here as an example.

ScreenHunter_12 Aug. 12 17.01

How to Search for an App

You can also search for an app from the main Window of the Windows Store. To do this, just click on the “Store Tile” to open Windows Store then open the charms and click on the “Search” charm.


The app that you’re looking for like “Twitter” for instance as shown on the screenshot above will appear at the bottom of the input box under the “Recommendations” section. Just click on it to open the app where you’ll find more details about it and as well as the “Install” button.


Installing an App

Installing apps on Windows 8 is pretty simple. Simply search for the app and once you find it, just click on it and you’ll arrive at the app’s detail section where you’ll see more information about it. From this section, you’ll also find the “Install” button which needs to be clicked to initiate the installation process.


After clicking on the “Install” button, you will be taken back to the page you were on before you clicked on the app tile. Check the upper right corner of the screen and you’ll see a message which tells you that the app is still installing. You can switch to the desktop while the app is installing or open another app. This will not affect the app installation.


Once the installation process is complete, the Store will display a message telling you that the app has been successfully installed.


Updating Apps on Windows 8

You’ll find out if some of your apps needs to be updated by simply going to the Start Screen. If the Store Tile has a bold number on it then it means that there are some apps that needs some updating. The bold number indicates the number of apps that needs to be updated. Just click or tap the Store Tile to open it and start the update process.


On the Store page, simply click on the “Updates” link which is located at the upper-right corner of the screen.


On the page that follows, simply select the apps that you want to update by clicking or tapping on them one by one. When you’re done selecting the apps, simply click the “Install” icon found at the bottom.


That’s it! You now learned everything that needs to be done for you to make the most out of the Windows App Store on your Windows 8 machine. Though this feature is not found on any previous versions of Windows, it still is easy to use and Microsoft has taken all the steps to make it user-friendly. Try using it now and you’ll see how great it works in providing apps that add fun, excitement and productivity to your Windows machine.