How to Start a Program or App in Windows 8 - dummies

How to Start a Program or App in Windows 8

By Andy Rathbone

Windows 8 banished the Start button from its oft-clicked spot on the desktop’s bottom-left corner. Microsoft prefers to say, however, that it has expanded the Start button, turning it into a full-screen launching pad for your programs.


But even though the Start screen lives in a new place, it still lets you launch programs or apps by following these steps:

  1. Open the Start screen.

    Because there’s no longer a Start button, you can summon the Start screen any of these ways:

    • Mouse: Point your mouse in the screen’s bottom-left corner and then click when the Start icon appears.

    • Keyboard: Press the Windows key.

    • Touchscreen: Slide your finger inward from your screen’s right edge and then tap the Start button.

    The Start screen appears, bringing a screen full of tiles representing many of your apps and programs.

  2. If you spot the tile for your program or app, choose it with a mouse click or, on a touchscreen, a tap of a finger.

    Don’t see a tile for your sought-after program on the Start screen’s list? Move to the next step.

  3. Scroll to the screen’s right to see more tiles.

    The Start screen always opens to display the tiles on its farthest left edge. To see the apps and programs hiding from view, point at the screen’s right edge with your mouse cursor; the rest of the Start screen’s tiles begin scrolling into view.

    If you’re a touchscreen owner, you can view the tiles by sliding your finger across the screen to the left.

    Still don’t see your program or app listed? Head for Step 4.

  4. View all your apps.

    The Start screen shows apps first, followed by desktop programs. But to keep the list from stretching down the hallway, the Start screen doesn’t list everything.

    To reveal them all, right-click a blank part of the Start screen and then choose All Apps. All your apps appear listed by name and icon, followed by alphabetical lists of desktop programs, organized by categories. (Your most recently installed desktop programs always appear on the farthest right edge.)

    To see all your apps on a touchscreen, slide your finger upward from the screen’s bottom edge and click the All Apps icon.

If you still can’t find your program on the admittedly crowded Start screen, follow these tips for other ways to open an app or program:

  • While you view the Start screen, begin typing the missing program’s name. As you type the first letter, the Start screen clears, presenting a list names beginning with that letter. Type a second or third letter, and the list of matches shrinks accordingly. When you spot the app or program you want, open it with a double-click (or a touch on a touchscreen.)

  • Open File Explorer from the Start screen, choose Documents from the Navigation Pane along the window’s left edge, and double-click the file you want to open. The correct program automatically opens with that file in tow.

  • Double-click a shortcut to the program. Shortcuts, which often sit on your desktop, are handy, disposable buttons for launching files and folders.

  • While you’re on the desktop, you may spot the program’s icon on the taskbar — a handy strip of icons lazily lounging along your desktop’s bottom edge. If so, click the taskbar icon, and the program leaps into action.

  • Right-click on the Windows desktop, choose New, and select the type of document you want to create. Windows 8 loads the right program for the job.

Windows offers other ways to open a program, but the preceding methods usually get the job done.

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

Did this glimpse into how to start a program in Windows 8 leave you longing for more information and insight about Microsoft’s personal computing operating system? You’re free to test drive any of the For Dummies eLearning courses. Pick your course (you may be interested in more from Windows 8), fill out a quick registration, and then give eLearning a spin with the Try It! button. You’ll be right on course for more trusted know how: The full version’s also available at Windows 8.