View or Close Your Open Apps in Windows 8 - dummies

View or Close Your Open Apps in Windows 8

By Andy Rathbone

Windows 8 Start screen apps, by nature, consume the entire screen, with no visible menus. That makes it difficult not only to control them but also to switch among them. The same holds true when you’re working in the separate world of the traditional Windows desktop.

How do you switch between recently used programs and apps? Windows 8 makes it fairly easy to switch between them by following these steps:

  1. Point the mouse pointer at the screen’s bottommost-left corner.

    A thumbnail of your last used app appears. You can click to bring that app to the screen. Or, if you want to revisit other apps running in the background, move to the next step.

  2. When the desktop icon appears, raise your mouse pointer along the screen’s left edge.

    As you move it up the screen, a bar appears alongside the screen’s left edge, showing thumbnails of your open apps.


  3. To return to an app, click its thumbnail.

  4. To close an app, right-click its thumbnail and choose Close.

These tips can help you keep track of your running apps, as well as close down the ones you no longer want open:

  • To cycle through your currently running apps, hold down the Windows key and press Tab: The same bar you see appears along the left edge. Each time you press Tab, you select another app. When you select the app you want, let go of the Windows key, and the app fills the screen.

  • You can view your most-recently-used apps whether you’re working on the Windows desktop or on the new Start screen. From the desktop, point your mouse at the screen’s bottom-left corner, slide the mouse up the screen’s left edge, and then click the app you want to revisit.

    On a touchscreen, slide your finger inward and then back from the screen’s left edge. When the list of apps cling to the screen’s left edge, touch the one you want to revisit.

  • After you close an app in Step 4, the bar listing your running apps stays onscreen. You can then close other apps by right-clicking them and choosing Close, as well.

  • To close an app you’re currently working on, point your mouse or finger at the screen’s top edge. When the mouse pointer turns into a hand (shown in the margin), hold down your mouse button (or slide your finger) and drag the app toward the screen’s bottom. When your mouse reaches the screen’s bottom edge, you’ve closed the app. (This trick works to close the Desktop app, as well.)

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

Did this glimpse into viewing or closing open apps 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.