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How to Download New Surface Apps from the Windows Store

Your Surface comes with plenty of built-in apps, but sooner or later, those won’t be enough. When you need to beef up your Surface with more features, there’s an app for that: It’s called the Windows Store app.

Because Windows RT tablets can’t run desktop programs, they’re limited to apps downloaded from the Store app.

To add new apps to your Surface, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Store app.

    If you’re not already on the Start screen, head there with a press of the Windows key. Tap the Store app’s tile, and the Store app fills the screen.


    If any of your apps have available updates—newer versions that add features or fix problems—the store lists them in its upper-right corner.

  2. Browse for apps, tapping interesting apps to read their description, details, and reviews left by others.

    You can search for a specific app. But if you feel like browsing, the Store app offers several ways to window shop its app collection.

    As you browse, watch for the left-pointing arrow in the screen’s top-left corner. Tap that arrow to return to the Store page you just left.

    To explore the apps, drop by these places in the Store:

    • Top Free: Be sure to tap the Top Free tile to see the most popular free apps. The quality may surprise you. Each Store category offers its own Top Free tile, which lets you limit your search to a specific category.

    • New Releases: Although a tap of this tile fetches the latest stuff, it’s a mixed bag. There’s no filter, so expect to see apps written for other languages or countries.

    • Categories: As you scroll toward the Store app’s right side, the Store’s categories appear.

    Tap any category’s name to browse apps in that category. Some categories offer subcategories. Tap the Games category, for example, and you can sort the apps by their game type (adventure or playing card, for example), price, rating, and more.


    If you spot the app of your dreams, head to step 4 to install it onto your Surface. If you still can’t find the right app, move to the next step and search for it.

  3. Search for an app.

    When you can’t find what you want by browsing, try searching. Like every other search in Windows 8, searching for an app begins with a trip to the Charms bar:

    Slide your finger inward from the screen’s right edge, and tap the Search icon.

    When the Search pane appears, type a keyword or two that describes your app in the Search box; then press the keyboard’s Search key.

    Windows searches the store, listing all the matches.

  4. Tap an app’s name to read more about it.

    The app’s page in the Store appears, offering three ways to see more about the app.

    • Overview: The app shows this page by default. Here, you see a picture and description of the app, its features, and ways to see more information.

      Slide your finger across the app’s picture to see additional photos. Most apps offer two or more photos of how the app will look on your Surface.

    • Details: Although boring, this page may be the most important. It elaborates on the details shown in the app’s far-right pane, lists what bugs were fixed in the latest release, what processors the app supports, and the permissions it requires.

    • Reviews: The most enlightening part of choosing an app comes from reading the reviews. Here, owners leave comments based on their experience. Judge by the consensus rather than individual reviews: Different people have different expectations.

  5. Install or buy the app.

    When you find an app you want to place on your Surface, the app’s page displays any of three buttons:

    • Install: Found on free apps and purchased-but-uninstalled apps, tap this button to install the program onto your Surface. A minute or so after you tap the Install button, the app appears on the far-right end of your Start screen, ready to launch with a tap of its tile.

    • Try: Found on paid apps, tap this to try out the app for a week. After a week, the app expires unless you tap the Buy button, opening your wallet for the app’s full price.

    • Buy: Paid apps cost anywhere from $1.49 to $999.99, but most cost less than $5. Tapping the Buy button lets you purchase the app immediately if you’ve already linked a credit card with your Microsoft account. No credit card link? Then the Buy button takes you to a secure website to enter that information.

    If you don’t see a button, the words You Own This App appear, meaning you’ve already downloaded the app. If it’s missing from your Start screen, tap the All Apps button on the Start screen’s App bar. That presents an alphabetical list of all the apps installed on your Surface.

  6. Wait for the app to download.

    Most apps download in less than a minute or two. When the app finishes downloading, a notice pops up in the screen’s upper-right corner telling you the app was installed.

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