How to Navigate the Windows 8 Store

Although desktop programs and Start screen apps look and behave differently, Microsoft unfortunately refers to both as apps in Windows 8. You’ll run across this terminology quirk when dealing with older programs, as well as newer programs created by companies not hip to Microsoft’s new lingo.

Apps, which are miniprograms specialized for single tasks, come from the world of smartphones: computerized cellphones. Apps differ from traditional desktop programs in several ways:

  • Apps consume the entire screen; programs run within windows on the desktop.

  • App are tied to your Microsoft account. That means you need a Microsoft account to download a free or paid app from the Store app.

  • When you download an app from the Windows 8 Store app, you can run it on up to five PCs or devices — as long as you’re signed in to those PCs or devices with your Windows account.

  • When installed, programs tend to sprinkle several tiles onto your Start screen. Apps, by contrast, consume just one tile, reducing Start screen bloat.

Apps and programs can be created and sold by large companies, as well as by basement-dwelling hobbyists working in their spare time.

How to uninstall apps

Downloaded a dud app? To uninstall any app from the Start screen, right-click its tile. When the menu bar rises up from the screen’s bottom edge, click Uninstall (shown in the margin).

Uninstalling an app only removes that app from your account’s Start screen. Your action won’t affect other account holders who may have installed the app.

How to update your apps

Programmers constantly tweak their apps, smoothing over rough spots, adding new features, and plugging security holes. When the program releases an update for your app, the Store tells you about it by putting a number on the Store app’s tile.

To grab any waiting updates, visit the Start screen’s Store app. Then click the word Update(s) in the top-right corner. The Store lists all the apps requiring updates; click Update All to bring them all up-to-date.

Note: When you update an app, it’s not updated for every account holder on the computer. Each person will have to update it, as well. That holds true for apps that came preinstalled on your computer, as well as ones you’ve chosen to install afterward.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.

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